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How Long Do I Need to Take Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery?

By Dana Babeu, R.D. | August 25, 2021

After bariatric surgery, vitamins fill in any nutritional gaps that might arise from the change in eating habits or from the procedure itself. As a bariatric dietitian, two of the most common questions I get asked from pre-operative patients is how long they will have to take vitamins and which ones they should take.

How Long to Take Vitamins

What I tell patients is that having weight loss surgery, whether it’s gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, means there will always be a need for some type of nutrient supplementation. This is because a portion of your stomach, where vitamins and minerals are absorbed, is removed during the surgery causing your body’s needs to be greater. Taking a high quality multivitamin/mineral supplement and calcium will be important following surgery

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, we have postoperative patients do blood work at their 3 month visit after surgery. This is to check for healthy vitamin and mineral levels. In some cases, results may indicate that the blood levels of a supplemented nutrient are within the normal range and the supplement can be discontinued. 

After the first year, annual blood work and a yearly visit with your surgeon is the best way to assess long-term nutritional status. Meeting regularly with your bariatric dietitian is another way to ensure all your nutrient needs are being met. 

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Type of Vitamins

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, vitamin and mineral recommendations are based on the most recent data from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). The type of vitamin and mineral supplements can vary depending on the type of weight loss procedure as well as any nutrient gaps you may already have. 

After weight loss surgery, when you’re able to follow a regular post-op diet, you might feel that  taking vitamins is unnecessary, however since symptoms of low vitamin and mineral levels can be hard to identify in the early stages, it is best to maintain adequate levels with a nutritious diet and the right supplements. 

The types of supplements can include calcium, iron, thiamin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and zinc. Depending on the results of your bloodwork  you’ll know exactly which supplements you need after meeting with your registered dietitian. 

If you have questions or concerns about vitamins after bariatric surgery, give us a call at 908-481-1270. 

Dana Babeu, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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