Vitamin D Deficiency After Weight Loss Surgery

Vitamin D Deficiency After Weight Loss Surgery - Bariatric Fusion

Embarking on a bariatric journey? Be aware of potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies post-surgery due to restriction and malabsorption. 

Obesity is considered a form of malnutrition. Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies are seen before bariatric surgery and may persist or worsen after surgery. Follow your healthcare teams advice and maintain a daily bariatric supplement routine to prevent and address deficiencies.*

In this blog, explore valuable insights on vitamin D, deficiency, and supplementation after bariatric surgery. Prioritize your health on this transformative path.

What Does Vitamin D do?

Vitamin D plays a role in supporting the health of your bones, teeth and muscles.*

The muscles use vitamin D to move and nerves utilize it to carry messages from your brain to the rest of the body.*

Vitamin D also supports the proper function of your immune system. It can even have an affect on the regulation of other minerals, like calcium and phosphate.*

Calcium and Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps absorb calcium into the small intestine, which further assists in supporting bone health.*

When you are lacking vitamin D, the body cannot form enough active vitamin D, or calcitriol. This will lead to decreased absorption of calcium from dietary sources. When this occurs, the body will take calcium from the bones to compensate. In turn, this can weaken your bones and diminish the formation of new bone.1

How do you get Enough Vitamin D?

You can get vitamin D from various sources. While dietary options are limited, considered fortified foods, fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), and egg yolks.

Exposure to direct UV light is another natural source, excluding light through windows.

Dietary supplements are another option. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s best absorbed when taken with food containing healthy fats.

Why are Bariatric Patients at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Before undergoing bariatric procedures, many individuals with obesity already exhibit vitamin D deficiency. Nearly 60% of obese individuals lack vitamin D, attributed to insufficient sun exposure, reduced storage in excessive fat tissue, and inadequate food intake.2 

It's crucial to address any deficiencies or low levels before surgery, as neglecting them can lead to exacerbated issues post-surgery.

Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is common after surgery due to malabsorption caused by intestinal alterations, decreased bile salts and pancreatic enzymes, and noncompliance with supplements. Prioritize addressing vitamin D needs for optimal health outcomes.*

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Common deficiency symptoms may include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis
  • Burning sensations in the mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Low phosphorus levels, secondary to vitamin D deficiency

    How Much Vitamin D is Recommended for Bariatric?

    The recommendation for all bariatric procedures is 3000IU (75mcg) daily of vitamin D3.3

    Typically, vitamin D3 is the form recommended for bariatric patients. It may also be seen under the name cholecalciferol.

    Vitamin D3 is recommended because it is considered more efficiently absorbed by the body.

    Can you Have too Much Vitamin D?

    Yes, too much vitamin D can harm your body.

    Tolerable upper limits, like the 4000IU (100mcg) for vitamin D, are set to prevent adverse effects. Some bariatric patients may need higher doses, but exceeding limits can lead to issues such as vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, pain, and kidney stones. Severe cases may result in kidney failure and irregular heartbeat.

    Follow healthcare provider guidance, as high doses can interact with weight loss medications, cholesterol meds, steroids, and diuretics. Always adhere to recommended supplement dosages.

    Consider Reading the Following Articles:


      1. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 2023.

      2. Musella M et al. Nutrients. 2022;14(16):3319.

      3. Parrott J et al. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2017;13(5):727-741.

        *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

        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 bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regard 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.

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