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When choosing a vitamin and mineral supplement after bariatric surgery, you’ll want to consider the following:
Does this vitamin meet my needs?
There are a lot of different formulations and options when it comes to choosing a vitamin and mineral supplement. Understanding how to read the nutrition label is important along with knowing which minerals and vitamins and what quantities are needed.
How many do I need to take?
Taking 2-3 multivitamins spaced throughout the day and then taking 2-3 more calcium chews (or chewables or tablets) is a lot. Remembering to take these consistently can be difficult. Fortunately, there are several options to fit your personality. If you are consistent and detail oriented, you will probably do well with a multivitamin that requires 2 or more pills throughout the day.
If remembering to take pills is difficult, you may want to choose a one-pill-per day option. One pill per day options are typically bigger in size and they may cause nausea since they pack so many nutrients into one pill or tablet. If you have a sensitive stomach, you will likely do better with a multivitamin that you take 2 or 3 times daily.
Can I swallow pills or do I need a chewable?
Swallowing pills shortly after surgery can be difficult. Many bariatric programs recommend starting with a chewable vitamin and mineral and then switching to a capsule or pill. For patients that prefer to never swallow pills, a quality chewable multivitamin is fine to take daily lifelong.
Is this a brand that I trust?
Unlike medicines and food, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not have to approve vitamins and minerals before they are sold in the United States. Look for brands that follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and regularly test their products to ensure that what’s on the label is actually inside of the bottle. Some of the more reputable bariatric specific brands include Bariatric Advantage, Barimelts, and others.
Can I afford to take these for the rest of my life?
A typical multivitamin and calcium monthly regimen will usually cost up to $70 per month. It’s not cheap but money well spent to ensure you stay healthy, happy, and active. Research has shown that the cost of treating a micronutrient deficiency is far greater than the cost of your monthly vitamin and mineral supplements. Reducing the risk of deficiencies is key to maintaining health after surgery!
Thankfully, people who have had bariatric surgery, have an entire range of products and solutions to choose from. You’ve undergone a major procedure to get healthy, it’s important to invest in yourself to stay healthy.
We recommend choosing a bariatric specific vitamin that follows the American Society For Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) guidelines to ensure your micronutrient needs are met. Figuring out your schedule, sticking to it, and finding a vitamin that works for you is key to success. Post-op, micronutrients must be part of your daily routine for the rest of your life. Work closely with your surgeon and your dietitian to figure out exactly what you need and how to get it.
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