Most of the complications after bariatric surgery are nutritional in nature. There are many reasons why this is the case including the fact that a small pouch is created limiting how much you can eat. Also, some of the weight loss procedures like the gastric bypass and the duodenal switch includes bypassing the upper part of the small intestines where certain vitamins and nutrients are absorbed. This is why weight loss surgery patients regardless of the procedure they had should be taking a daily multivitamin.
Vitamin’s deficiency is sometimes difficult to recognize because low blood levels of some multivitamins do not cause symptoms. Also, sometimes symptoms do not develop until years later and vitamin deficiencies do not correlate with amount of weight loss. Some of the most common vitamin deficiencies include iron, B12, Folate and calcium. In addition, bypass of the small intestines can sometimes cause deficiencies in the fat-soluble multivitamins A, D, E, and K. Most deficiencies however, can be prevented by taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
In addition to taking a daily multivitamins, vitamins and micronutrients levels should be checked on a regular basis. Assuming there is no symptoms of deficiency, weight loss surgery patients should have their vitamins level checked every six months the first year. If there is no deficiency and you are taking your daily vitamins, then levels should be checked once a year after the first year. Of course, if your doctor finds that you are deficient in a vitamin, he or she may choose to check your vitamin levels more often. There are primary care doctors that like to check vitamin levels in bariatric patients three to four times a year. The current recommendation is that in a stable bariatric patient vitamin level can be checked once a year.