Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nutrition Concerns with Gastric Bypass

Today I ran into a lady who had gastric bypass 6 years ago (that part I didn’t know). She’s 50 years old, has osteoporosis in one hip, osteopenia in her back and other hip, she’s anemic and deficient in vitamin D. So I asked her if, after her gastric bypass, her physicians told her about the potential for nutrient deficiencies and emphasized the importance of frequent follow-ups to examine her iron, B12 and vitamin D status as well as her bone density. While I’m used to other people letting me know their doctors don’t give them very in depth follow-up instructions, I figured surgery patients would be more closely monitored. But, I was wrong.

If you have had a gastric bypass, be certain to take your health into your own hands and schedule check-ups. Your body will have a tougher time absorbing iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Nutrient deficiencies are common in gastric bypass because the “bypass” part creates a bypass of part of the small intestine so you don’t absorb as many calories (nor will you absorb certain nutrients from food). Because a lack of B-12 and iron can both cause anemia, leaving you feeling fatigued and crummy and deficiencies in D and calcium can lead to brittle bones, it’s vital to monitor your status frequently, even if you are taking supplements per your physician’s orders.

The more extensive your surgery, the more likely you are to have nutrient deficiencies. Though the weight may come off immediately, you’ll need to resume the eating plan and supplements your physician gave you, for a lifetime. For some, gastric bypass is an absolute lifesaver but, you still need to pay close attention to your overall health even after the weight comes off.

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