When considering bariatric surgery, you should also be thinking about how the changes are going to affect you post-op. \nBariatric procedures have high success rates. However, with any type of surgery there are always risks and complications that can be associated. Malabsorption is a potential gastric bypass surgery complication. \nMalabsorption may seem intimidating and challenging. However, new scientific research is surfacing every day in order to properly manage any malabsorption after bariatric surgery. \nThis article will assist you in understanding what malabsorption is and how to manage it. \nWhat This Article Covers:\n\nWhat is Malabsorption?\nMalabsorption and Gastric Bypass Surgery\nBariatric Surgeries that Cause Malabsorption\nCorrecting Malabsorption After Gastric Bypass\nDietary Changes That Help with Malabsorption\nGastric Bypass Malabsorption FAQs\n\nWhat is Malabsorption?\n\nMalabsorption is a complication that can occur in individuals who have had bariatric surgery. Depending on the bariatric procedure performed, malabsorption can be more or less likely. This complication occurs due to anatomical changes made to the gastrointestinal tract where many nutrients are absorbed, in turn, severely effecting absorption.\nSymptoms of malabsorption include chronic diarrhea, bloating, gas, consistent weight loss, and steatorrhea. Long-term symptoms include excessive weight loss, muscle wasting, and in severe cases, nervous system damage. \nMalabsorption can lead to malnutrition that can occur when the body is unable to obtain enough vitamins and minerals in order to function properly, resulting in further complications and conditions. For example, malabsorption can impact gastric bypass and anemia.\nMalabsorption and Gastric Bypass Surgery\nGastric bypass surgery involves anatomical changes to the gastrointestinal\n\ntract. This process increases the risk of malabsorption following surgery. \nAfter a gastric bypass procedure, food bypasses most of the stomach and small intestine. These sections of the gastrointestinal tract are responsible for digestion and absorption of specific vitamins and minerals causing malabsorption.\nAs a result, this process aids in initial weight loss after the bariatric procedure by restricting the body from digesting and naturally absorbing food. \nBariatric Surgeries that Cause Malabsorption\nRestrictive Bariatric Surgery\nRestrictive surgeries initiate weight loss by limiting the amount of food that is entering the stomach.\nRestrictive bariatric surgeries include: \n\nAdjustable Gastric Band Surgeries\nSleeve Gastrectomy\n\nMalabsorptive Bariatric Surgery\nMalabsorptive surgeries aim to reduce the number of nutrients being absorbed by the body to facilitate weight loss. \nThis happens when certain digestive enzymes are inhibited or when sections of the digestive tract are bypassed or shortened. \nAn example would be how bariatric surgery works to treat diabetes. Alterations to the gastrointestinal tract that can cause malabsorption will also have an effect on the secretion of certain hormones and gut microbiota which play a role in the regulation of glucose-control systems. \nMalabsorptive bariatric surgeries include: \n\nGastric Bypass Surgeries \nDuodenal Switch Surgeries\n\nThese two procedures combine restriction and malabsorption to have a greater effect on weight loss and obesity-related health conditions.\nCombination surgeries can be more expensive, whereas purely restrictive surgeries are typically more affordable bariatric surgery options. \nBefore deciding which option is the best for you, it is recommended to check which insurance companies cover bariatric surgery. \nCorrecting Malabsorption After Gastric Bypass\nMalabsorption is one of the potential complications of a gastric bypass years later. After a gastric bypass is performed, you will have issues with micronutrient absorption. \nThis can lead to complications with vitamin and mineral deficiencies if preventative measures are not sustained. Nutrient intake needs to be carefully considered and monitored following the surgery. \nGuidelines are provided for bariatric patients in order to prevent any vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The importance of a bariatric specific multivitamin for life should be discussed with your healthcare provider, as supplementation is going to be required for life after any bariatric procedure.\nDietary Changes That Help with Malabsorption\nPrioritize Protein\nTo assist in proper healing after bariatric surgery, high protein is important. Weight loss after bariatric surgery includes more than just losing fat. Malabsorption is going to cause rapid weight loss that diminishes fat, water, and muscle. \n\nIn order to build and maintain muscle, higher protein intake is recommended. This can also help support your metabolism considering protein preserves muscle tissue, which is more metabolically active than fat tissue.\nIf you are not consuming enough protein through dietary food sources, supplementing your diet with bariatric protein shakes and bariatric meal replacements will help you to achieve your daily nutrient requirements.\nDigestive Support\nMalabsorptive duodenal switch procedures can cause fat malabsorption. Many complications can be seen as a side effect of this including steatorrhea, malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins (ADEK), and pancreatic insufficiency. \nHigher levels of fat-soluble vitamins will have to be supplemented in order to account for the malabsorption rate. Bariatric high ADEK multivitamins are formulated with higher levels of these vitamins specifically for duodenal switch patients. \nDigestive enzymes may be recommended by your healthcare provider if you are experiencing steatorrhea, pancreatic insufficiency, intermittent nutrient deficiencies, and gastrointestinal side effects due to malabsorption after bariatric surgery.\nProbiotics are another way to help combat side effects of malabsorption by reducing gastrointestinal issues. There are many benefits of probiotics after weight loss surgery, such as increasing the absorption of vitamin B12, increasing metabolic balance to promote weight loss, and enhancing your immune response.\nVitamin Supplements\nChewable vitamins for bariatric patients will be recommended initially after weight loss surgery and can even be recommended before surgery.\nAfter duodenal switch surgery, you will likely be recommended a high bariatric ADEK multivitamin, calcium, and possible a B-complex if deemed necessary. \nAdding bariatric supplements to your diet will not slow down weight loss or prevent you from reaching your target weight. Consistency is key with supplementation after bariatric surgery. This will ensure that you are receiving enough essential vitamins and minerals in order to prevent common deficiencies. \nNutrient-Dense Foods\nEating a diet that is rich in nutrients will increase vitamin and mineral intake, overall health and wellbeing.\n\nFollowing a bariatric portion plate will ensure you are consuming a balanced diet with nutrient-dense food options. \nRemember, you are still getting vitamins and minerals through your dietary food intake. Supplements are required to further assist your dietary intake where you may be lacking and in order to compensate for any malabsorption. \nGastric Bypass Malabsorption FAQs\nWhen do I Start Taking Vitamins and Supplements After a Gastric Bypass?\nMost surgeons will provide you with guidelines for diet and supplements according to the type of bariatric surgery you have had. \nIt is generally advised to start with post-op vitamins and supplements as soon as possible. Some healthcare providers will even recommend supplements before surgery in order to correct any low levels or deficiency. This will optimize your recovery and support a healthy post-op bariatric journey. \nAny other medications should be discussed with your healthcare provider. You will require guidance on when to take any additional medications for gastric bypass and diabetes, acid reflux or GERD after bariatric surgery.\nWhat are the Symptoms of Micronutrient Deficiencies After Bariatric Surgery?\nSigns and symptoms may vary according to which micronutrient you are deficient in. It is best to have regular checkups and screenings with your healthcare provider to ensure you are not deficient in anything. Regular blood work is necessary.\nHere are some generalized symptoms that may indicate deficiencies: \n\nDizziness \nShortness of breath \nMuscle weakness \nBlurred vision \nHeadaches \n\nAll of these signs and symptoms can be prevented with micronutrient supplementation after bariatric surgery, regular blood work, and discussions with your healthcare provider. \n\nDid you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:\n\nRecovery After Gastric Bypass Surgery\nGallbladder Problems After Gastric Bypass\nGastric Bypass Long Term Results\nGastric Bypass Facts\nHow To Tighten Loose Skin After Gastric Bypass Without Surgery\nGastric Bypass And Kidney Stones\nGallbladder And Gastric Bypass\nTummy Tucks After Gastric Bypass\nHow Much Weight Loss Gastric Bypass\nHow Long Is Gastric Bypass Surgery Procedure\n\n**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.