We often get asked why multivitamins are important after bariatric surgery, are they long term, are they necessary, and the big questions which ones! In this post we are going to answer all of these questions.
Why Do We Have To?
There are multiple reasons why multivitamins are crucial after surgery.
Below are the top 5 reasons:
- An obvious one, restricted intake. Post surgery, portion sizes are significantly reduced. The availability to meet someone’s daily intake of vitamins and minerals from food is small.
- Bariatric surgery is a malabsorptive procedure. This means that post surgery, people’s absorption rate of multivitamins is a lot lower than if they didn’t have the surgery. This is mainly due to a large portion of the stomach being removed or creation of a new pouch through a bypass procedure. The reduction in stomach tissue, or surface area, creates less of a chance for vitamins and minerals to be absorbed.
- Changes in the amount of digestive enzymes and secretions during digestion. Post surgery the new stomach has to work out how to function again, especially with lower intakes of food. A reduction in enzymes to break food down, reduces the rate at which we absorb nutrients initially.
- To prevent pre existing vitamin and mineral deficiencies!! Before surgery a lot of work goes into making sure your vitamin and mineral levels are normal. As a preventive, and to maintain normal levels, multivitamins, and individual “top ups”, are important to stay adequate.
- To support our bodies! Taking a multivitamin post surgery helps to provide our bodies with the right amount of nutrients it needs to function! Vitamin and minerals are important for cell function, healing, tissue growth, vision, bones, energy, brain health, immunity, hormones and digestion!
Are They Long Term?
Short answer: yes. A maintenance dose of a multivitamin is needed life long after bariatric surgery. Calcium supplements and top up vitamins and minerals may not be needed post 12 months of surgery. Your health professional will determine this.
Which Ones Should I Take?
We recommend bariatric specific only multivitamins. The reason being is because these multi’s have a higher concentration of each vitamin and mineral. You can’t buy these over the counter at a supermarket or pharmacy because of this reason. If someone without bariatric surgery brought them and took them regularly – they would be at risk of toxicity (too much for what they need!). There is one exception to this rule which we will discuss soon.
There are two main brands we recommend when choosing a multivitamin:
BN and Fit for Me
These brands are great, are available online and offer 3 monthly subscriptions. They both have a chewable option and capsule option.
Note: each brand has different dosages for how much to take. (Links for the two brands are down below).
The over the counter exception is the Centrum for Women/Men multivitamin. This can be purchased from your local pharmacy. We usually recommend this only if you have tried and tested the two brands above.
To find out more about multivitamins, how much to take, which brand is better for you, capsule vs chewable, get in touch with our Dietitian team!
Fit for Me: https://fitforme.com/au/