The importance of specialized multivitamins for bariatric patients, tailored to their operation

Bariatric or metabolic surgery has gained in popularity due to its positive long-term results on both weight and comorbidities. However, after bariatric or metabolic surgery, several disadvantages are reported as well, such as a high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies. Specialized multivitamins are needed to prevent patients from developing deficiencies, possible affecting their health.

Preoperatively, nutrient deficiencies are already found in over half of all patients, due to a unilateral diet and impaired metabolism. In the first year after surgery, the deficiency rate increases to up to 80%.

Unique nutritional needs per operation type

The unique changes of the gastro-intestinal tract after bariatric/metabolic surgery have a specific impact on the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The changes in nutritional needs, and therefore the risks of nutritional deficiencies or hypervitaminosis, differ per type of surgery. Usage of specialized multivitamins is crucial, since standard food supplements have proven to be inadequate for many patients after bariatric surgery.

Finding the right multivitamin balance

Standard, over-the-counter multivitamins already affect the risk of developing some deficiencies, compared to patients who do not use any supplements. However, it is difficult to find exactly the right balance. For example, because only 1-3% of vitamin B12 is passively absorbed, the very high dosages in specialized multivitamins are needed to reach the daily needed 2,5 μg vitamin B12. It is no option to take multiple standard multivitamins, since this will cause too high levels of other nutrients, which can be harmful. For instance, high levels of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.

Click on the operation type to read more about deficiency prevalence and supplementation needs:

Gastric Bypass

Multivitamin supplements scattered

Gastric Sleeve

key visual comparison deficiencies