As I prepare for my bariatric surgery, one of the things I’ve had to get my head around are vitamins and minerals.
I’ve learnt that in both the pre-surgery and post-surgery diets it’s important to have vitamins and minerals supplements, because I’m not going to get enough of them from food in the restricted diets.
Getting the right supplements
So here’s the basics of what I’ll need to start taking every day:
- 1 or 2 Multivitamins (with a minimum of 14g of Iron)
- 3 doses of Calcium Citrate, combined with Vitamin D
Some dietitians recommend special bariatric multivitamins, as they contain a balance of vitamins specially formulated for bariatric patients. However it also seems you can get away with standard multivitamins, if you can also add in an additional dose of vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
I bought a whole load of standard multivitamins before I even realised there are special bariatric ones available. I also bought calcium carbonate supplements instead of calcium citrate.
Apparently the calcium citrate is better absorbed by bariatric patients, as it doesn’t need stomach acid to breakdown, and it also helps avoid getting gallstones. So I might need to get new calcium tablets.
Pre-surgery diets seem to vary, but all of them seem to recommend starting on the multivitamin and calcium citrate supplements when the diet starts.
For two weeks before surgery I’m going to be limiting myself to just 800 calories a day. This restrictive diet helps shrink the liver and make the surgery easier and safer. But the diet also means that I’ll not be getting all the vitamins I need from food, so I need help from the supplements.
For the post-surgery diet, I learned that it’s important to have chewable or liquid supplements. For the first few weeks after surgery I’m going to be on a liquid-only, and then a pureed-food diet. And during that time I’m not going to be able to swallow any pills or capsules.
I’ll need all my medication and supplements to either be crushed into powder. And some medications that are not intended to be chewed can taste really bad, so I might need to mix them with something else to disguise the taste. Or, just get them in a chewable form.
Some multivitamins are available as gummies, but I’ve heard they can cause problems unless they are chewed really well before swallowing.
For the first 2 months I’ll need to take three calcium supplements and two multivitamins – all spaced out by at least two hours.
|Time / Meal||Supplement|
|8.00am Breakfast||Calcium Citrate (500-600 mg)|
|11.00am Snack||Multivitamin with Iron|
|1.00pm Lunch||Calcium Citrate (500-600 mg)|
|4.00pm Snack||Calcium Citrate (500-600 mg)|
|7.00pm Dinner||Multivitamin with Iron|
After 2 months
When I’m back on real food, a couple of months after surgery, I believe I’ll be able to tolerate tablets again, so I won’t need chewable supplements. But I will need to continue taking the calcium citrate and multivitamin supplements for the rest of my life.
I’ll also need to get regular blood tests to make sure I have enough vitamins and minerals in my blood, as a gastric bypass permanently limits the absorption of iron, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D.