Vitamin D and Bariatric Surgery

Increasingly, bariatric surgery is used for those with morbid obesity as a pivotal approach to achieve weight loss. Various types of weight loss surgeries have become popular as a way to help people who are severely obese to permanently reduce their weight and improve their health and quality of life.

A gastric bypass solves the problem of absorbing too many calories, but you also experience decreased absorption of nutrients. Vitamin D deficiency is common in obese individuals, and vitamin D malabsorption is common following some weight-loss surgeries. Because of this, your health care provider will check your vitamin D levels beforevitamin_d (2) your surgery and may advise you to supplement before and afterward.

Authors of a 2006 study in the “Annals of Surgery” said that vitamin D deficiency is common following gastric bypass and it progresses over time. Gastric bypass quite literally bypasses the primary site in your digestive tract where most of the absorption of some important nutrients takes place.

Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and transportation of calcium from the gut to the bloodstream. You have a backup system of sorts that can help load calcium without vitamin D, but it’s much less efficient, absorbing only about 20 percent of what you consume. The “Annals of Surgery” authors said that vitamin D deficiency over time leads to a bone-mineral density problem, known as osteopenia, but can also progress to osteoporosis, or brittle and fragile bones — and ultimately to osteomalacia, or bone softening.

Guidelines issued by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery state that “supplementation with calcium and vitamin D during all weight loss modalities is critical to preventing bone resorption.” Therefore, lifelong screening and aggressive treatment is in order to tend to bone health needs following gastric bypass.

Bariatric surgery can be effectively used to achieve sustainable weight-loss in morbidly obese patients, but it can simultaneously bring forth important functional consequences of nutrient deficiencies and drug absorption that clinician’s must be aware of.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She and her expert team know how to make sure all of your nutritional needs are met while still helping you lose the weight you need to lose in order to be healthy.

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