Vitamins – why and what?

“Which supplement is best?”

“Do I really need to keep taking these?”

“Are the supermarket ones REALLY that different?”

“Can’t I just buy something cheaper?”

These are just a few of the question we get asked regularly about vitamin and mineral supplements.

There are a few key facts about vitamin and mineral supplements that you need to know:

The WHY

  • After weight loss surgery, you are highly unlikely to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat. This is due to both a reduced capacity for food, as well as altered absorption after a sleeve or bypass.
  • There will always be someone who will say you don’t need supplements. This contradicts a large body of scientific research, meaning they are poorly informed about the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies following surgery.
  • Without appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation, you are at high risk of developing vitamin deficiencies, and once a deficiency develops it can take several months to correct.
  • Long term nutrient deficiencies can lead to poor health and cause symptoms such as fatigue, brittle bones, poor oral health, night blindness, hair loss and brittle nails.

 

The WHAT

  • Over the counter or supermarket multivitamins are not a good option following surgery. They may have a broad range of nutrients, however they are not high in the specific nutrients that are at greatest risk of deficiency post surgery. There is research to show that 75% of patients with a sleeve and 83% of those with a bypass will develop one or more deficiencies if taking an over the counter supplement. 
  • A weight loss surgery specific multivitamin is the best option. They meet the greatest number of Recommended Dietary Intakes and are higher in the nutrients that we know are at-risk following surgery. They also ensure you are not getting too much of any specific nutrients, such as vitamin B6, as alarmingly high levels of this have been seen in some people following surgery.
  • Even with the weight loss surgery specific multivitamin and mineral supplements, you may still need additional calcium, iron and B12 supplements, depending on your blood results.
  • To ensure your vitamin regime is suited to you, you should be having regular blood tests. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies develop over time so a good blood test result at six months post surgery does not mean you will be fine six years post surgery.
  • All of the weight loss surgery specific vitamins are great options. They are far better than other vitamin and mineral supplements commonly available. We regularly review the contents of a range of commercially available supplements and stay on top of the evidence that tells us they are best suited to your needs.

To help you choose the best option for you, we have put together a list of some of the pros and cons of each variety.

 

BN Multi Chewable
Pros

  • Contains a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Chewable, hence a great option in the early post surgery when large tablets should be avoided.
  • There is an iron free option for those who do not require iron supplementation (on the advice of your team)
  • They contain calcium, unlike the BN Capsules (details below), so fewer calcium supplements may be needed.

Cons

  • Need to take two per day.
  • Not everyone enjoys the taste.

Click here to purchase BN Multi Chewable.

 

BN Multi Capsule
Pros

  • Contains a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Great option for those who don’t like the taste of chewable.

Cons

  • Need to take two per day.
  • Does not contain any calcium, hence additional calcium supplementation is required for many people.

Click here to purchase BN Multi Capsules.

 

FitForMe Chewable and Capsule 
Pros

  • Contain a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Only need to take one per day.
  • Both chewable and capsule options are available, making them suitable for both short and long term use.
  • Available in two varieties, Opti and Forte:
    • Opti Multivitamins are specially developed for people who have a sleeve or gastric band
    • Forte Multivitamins are specially developed for people who have a gastric bypass.

Cons

  • The chewable form does not contain iron. This is provided as a separate tablet. However for most people, additional iron may be required, so taking iron separately is not a huge issue.
  • They do not contain any calcium, hence additional calcium supplementation is required for many people.

 

Barilife Powder
Pros

  • Contain a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Soluble, hence a great option in the early post surgery when large tablets should be avoided.
  • Vitamins, minerals and fluid all in one.
  • One need one dose per day.
  • High in calcium when compared with other weight loss surgery specific options in Australia. It contains 750mg of the 1200-1500mg you need to aim for each day which means you may need less additional calcium supplements.

 

Barilife Complete

Pros

  • Contain a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Great option for those who don’t like the taste of chewable tablets or powders longer term.
  • Highest in calcium when compared with other weight loss surgery specific tablet/capsule options. One dose contains the 1500mg of calcium you need to aim for each day.
  • Higher in iron when compared with other weight loss surgery specific capsule options. One capsule contains 45mg of the 45-60mg you need to aim for each day. This means you may need less additional iron supplements depending on your blood results and how your body is absorbing the iron in this form.

Cons

  • Need to take six tablets per day.

 

Barilife Just One Chewable and Capsule

Pros

  • Contain a broad range of nutrients tailored to your post surgery needs.
  • Only need to take one tablet per day.
  • Chewable and capsule forms available.
  • Higher in iron when compared with other weight loss surgery specific capsule options. One capsule contains 45mg of the 45-60mg you need to aim for each day. This means you may need less additional iron supplements depending on your blood results and how your body is absorbing the iron in this form.

Cons

  • Do not contain any calcium so an additional calcium supplement is needed.

 

If you need specific help matching your supplements to your diet and blood test results, check out our support options.

 

 

WLS Vitamin Supplements

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