Because gastric bypass not only modifies the stomach pouch, but also the small intestine, patients who undergo the procedure may need to supplement their diet. Supplements may include some or all of the following vitamins & minerals: iron, vitamin B12, calcium, protein and others (please speak to your nutritionist for guidelines). The gastric bypass procedure alters the digestive tract in such a way that no matter how nutrition-dense your meal, it will likely not be enough to get your full complement of vitamins and minerals. That’s why patients will take vitamins daily, drink protein shakes regularly and be checked for nutritional deficiencies at annual checkups. Of course, a balanced nutritional intake from meals is still very important to general health and weight loss after surgery, so be sure to continue following your aftercare diet and exercise program.
It is important that, before you commit to gastric bypass surgery, you understand that supplementation will be a necessary part of the rest of your life. The gastric band and gastric sleeve are two other bariatric operations that do not alter the small intestine and allow more vitamins and minerals to be absorbed without supplementation. It is worth noting however that both the gastric band and the gastric sleeve will also require the patient to take some sort of vitamin or protein supplement in perpetuity.
Remember, although it may seem to be a pain to have to take vitamin or mineral supplements, the effects of a deficiency can be devastating. You will be checked routinely for any nutritional deficiencies and if there is something of concern, it will be corrected either through additional supplementation or diet modification.
You can learn more about this and other topics of interest after a gastric bypass by attending one of our weight loss surgery seminars. These seminars are a great way to get the knowledge and understanding you need to make the best bariatric surgery decision for your particular circumstance.