Important Facts About Bariatric Surgery and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most vital nutrients someone needs in their body, but unfortunately, bariatric surgery patients are discovering how difficult this is. After having bariatric surgery like gastric bypass, the type of foods and how much are eaten, along with how nutrients have absorbed all change. Nutrients are not going to the entire stomach anymore, but instead to a very small pouch of the stomach. This decreases how much vitamin D is properly absorbed into the body, creating an imbalance. Doctors are now seeing how often bariatric surgery patients are dealing with the negative side effects of a vitamin D deficiency, from physical issues to emotional turmoil like anxiety and depression. Getting vitamin D supplements helps prevent deficiency and treat it if it occurs.
Why Vitamin D is Important
There are many things that vitamin D in the body is responsible for, including helping other vitamins and minerals be properly absorbed, like calcium. It also is responsible for its own processes, like promoting weight loss, helping with normal cell growth, and preventing certain types of cancers. There are not a lot of foods that contain vitamin D, so bariatric patients have an even higher risk of a deficiency since everything is so limited. Most people get their natural source of vitamin D through regular sunlight, but since vitamins aren’t absorbed in the same way, even this isn’t always enough. Bariatric patients experiencing a vitamin D deficiency likely have depression, insomnia, low immunity, bone fractures, fatigue or muscle pain.
Vitamin D Deficiency with Bariatric Surgery
A lot of people lack proper amounts of vitamin D, but the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has reported that their bariatric patients are at a greater risk with their small intestine being bypassed completely. Not only should these patients start taking a vitamin D supplement to add to their other vitamins and minerals, but they should get blood tests regularly to test how much of the vitamin is found in their system.
How Much Vitamin D to Take Each Day
There is not a specific set number that everybody must have of vitamin D each day because it varies so much based on physical conditions and health, age, and other factors. The general requirement is between 800 and 1,000 international units (UI) of vitamin D a day through different sources. When taken as a supplement, doctors recommend dividing doses into no more than 500 IUs at a time throughout the day, and taking it together with a calcium supplement. There are also some supplements that include calcium and vitamin D together in order to simplify the process and reduce how many pills need to be taken each day. Individuals that get very minimal sun exposure because of conditions or fair skin that is prone to burning, the amount might be higher.
Forms of Vitamin D Supplements
Multiple forms of vitamin D supplements are available to bariatric patients. The first way is to take 500 mg pills along with calcium supplements in the same pill 2-3 times a day. If you are taking both vitamin D and calcium, this might be the easiest way. There are also liquid supplements of vitamin D if you do not enjoy swallowing pills. Additionally, you can find quick-melt varieties of vitamin D supplements. If you can swallow pills, but find traditional tablets difficult and too dry after surgery, try a tender vitamin D supplement. The outer part of the pill is soft and liquid filled, as opposed to being a hard tablet. Just be sure no matter what form of supplement you take, your doctor has approved it and you are still getting the right dose.