Prevent Vitamin Deficiencies Even When Money is Tight
The success of bariatric surgery depends on several factors, from changing eating behaviors and physical activity to attending support groups and follow-up appointments. Nutrient deficiencies are also more common than you’d think, especially among bariatric patients.
Supplements are a necessary purchase in keeping your body healthy, even when money is tight. Follow this expert guide to learn about why each vitamin is important to ensuring a healthy and successful weight loss!
The Importance of Taking Supplements Regularly
Katie Chapmon has appeared as a guest speaker for several ProCare Health support groups. She is an award-winning Registered Dietitian that specializes in bariatric nutrition, digestive issues, and hormone health. She shared that it’s easier to keep micronutrient levels in range rather than getting them back up when they are low.
“One example that I’ll use is getting an oil change for your car. You do this regularly to prevent breakdowns and keep the car going. Our bodies are these amazing things that need maintenance too,” said Katie.
Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies
Weight loss surgery patients should begin taking supplements right after surgery. This is because the size of the stomach is decreased, allowing the body to feel full with small portions of food. With these changes to your digestive tract, the food you eat may bypass areas that normally absorb nutrients. Prevent deficiencies by taking the following vitamins!
It should be noted that vitamin B12, copper, iron, and folate deficiencies can lead to anemia, a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to body tissues. Symptoms of anemia may include chest pain, cold hands and feet, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches, irregular heartbeats, pale skin, shortness of breath, and weakness.
Vitamin A (retinol) helps with reproduction, keeps eyes and skin healthy, and is an antioxidant. A deficiency can lead to xerophthalmia, a disease that causes dry eyes. If left untreated, this can progress into:
- night blindness, the inability to see well at night or in dim light.
- bitot’s spots, a buildup of keratin in the eyes that causes hazy vision; these lesions on the eye appear triangular, dry, white, and foamy.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) turns carbohydrates into energy and plays a vital role in cell growth, development, and function. It also regulates hunger and fullness cues in the brain. If a thiamin deficiency is not treated, it can cause:
- a loss of appetite.
- wet beriberi, affecting the heart and circulatory system.
- dry beriberi, damaging the central nervous system and causing decreased muscle strength and eventually muscle paralysis.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for brain function, red blood cell production, and keeping nerve tissues healthy. A mild deficiency may not cause symptoms, but if left untreated, it can develop into:
- nerve problems, like numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, and difficulty maintaining balance.
- mental problems like depression, memory loss, or mood changes.
Vitamin D, nicknamed the sunshine vitamin, creates strong bones and teeth and helps the body maintain normal calcium levels and bone density. People can get this vitamin through sun exposure or their diet. Without enough vitamin D, people can experience:
- muscle weakness.
- osteoporosis, in which bones become thin and weak.
Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting. If this vitamin is missing, the liver cannot make prothrombin, a protein and necessary clotting factor. A deficiency in Vitamin K contributes to:
- excessive bleeding.
- becoming easily bruised.
- getting small blood clots underneath nails.
While it’s well known that calcium builds and maintains strong bones, it’s also necessary for muscle movement and cardiovascular function. Muscle contraction is regulated by calcium, and calcium particles bind to cells to help them squeeze together, making the heart pump blood. Hypocalcemia, calcium deficiency disease, can progress into:
- muscle aches, cramps, and spasms.
- extreme fatigue.
- dry, broken, or brittle nails.
- osteopenia, when bones are weaker than normal; if untreated, this could turn into osteoporosis, in which bones are thin and vulnerable to fractures.
Two vitamins, iron and copper, work together to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Copper also helps the body form collagen, which gives strength and elasticity to the skin. Additionally, this vitamin aids in maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function. Without enough copper, people can experience:
- bone fractures.
- thyroid problems.
Your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin and thereby carry oxygen through blood vessels. If tissues and muscles don’t have enough hemoglobin, they don’t have enough oxygen to work effectively. An iron deficiency means:
- hair loss.
- more frequent infections due to a weakened immune system.
Supplementing with folate, a form of vitamin B9, is common. Those who don’t take enough folate are at increased risk for cancer and birth abnormalities. That is because folate serves important functions in cell growth and DNA formation. Its list of deficiencies includes:
- gray hair.
- mouth sores.
- tongue swelling.
- growth problems.
- peripheral neuropathy, damage to the peripheral nervous system.
The human body uses zinc to produce cells and fight off infections. In other words, zinc is essential for creating DNA and healing injuries. Zinc is also needed to sense taste and smell. A deficiency contributes to:
- decreased sense of taste and smell.
- loss of appetite.
- wounds that won’t heal.
The Best Supplements to Take After Bariatric Surgery
Luckily, there’s no need to take each vitamin separately! ProCare Health’s bariatric multivitamins are formulated with the specific needs of weight loss patients in mind. Whether you’ve undergone an adjustable band, duodenal switch, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or mini bypass weight loss surgery, ProCare Health has you covered!
Our Once Daily Bariatric Multivitamin Capsule is unlike other bariatric multivitamins on the market. Instead of taking two, three, or four servings a day, you only need one of our capsules to receive 22 nutrients!
Go to ProCare Health for an Affordable Solution
At ProCare Health, we offer an affordable solution for all weight loss patients. For less than $2 a day, you can keep the doctor away with ProCare Health Supplements and Vitamins!
Of course, taking supplements is not the only factor to consider for life after bariatric surgery. For more tips on everything from the foods you should eat to the exercises you should do, read our blog or attend our virtual support groups. We create these products and resources to help you along your journey.