Vitamin Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery can lead to positive weight loss outcomes, but can also put you at high risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. As you know, bariatric surgeries are restrictive and/or malabsorptive. It is important to adhere to a daily vitamin and mineral regimen or follow the recommendations made by your doctor. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can occur based on the type of bariatric surgery performed and can easily be prevented. Listed below are some of the common vitamin and mineral deficiencies after bariatric surgery:

            Vitamin/Mineral                                              Symptoms of Deficiency

Thiamin (thiamine or vitamin B1)

confusion, digestive problems, loss of appetite, memory loss, weakness, nervousness

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

blurred vision, depression, hair loss, dermatitis, loss of sensation, sleepiness, mouth lesions

Niacin (vitamin B3)

canker sores, confusion, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, inflammation

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

abdominal pains, depression, eczema, hair loss, immune impairment, nausea, insomnia

Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)

acne, anemia, arthritis, dizziness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, hair loss

Folic acid (folate)

anemia, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, paranoia

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

anemia, constipation, fatigue, headaches, mouth lesions, irritability

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

bleeding gums, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, tiredness

Biotin (vitamin B7)

hair loss, insomnia, inflammation of the eye, dermatitis

Vitamin A

dry hair, growth impairment, night blindness, acne, immune impairment, insomnia, thickening and roughness of skin

Vitamin D

diarrhea, insomnia, rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, burning sensation in the mouth, nervousness

Vitamin E

poor reflexes, loss of position sense, loss of vibration sense, shortened red blood cell life, gait disturbances 

Vitamin K

bleeding disorders


brittle nails, cramps, delusions, palpitations, tooth decay, rickets, insomnia, osteoporosis


anemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue, mouth lesions


acne, amnesia, brittle nails, diarrhea, depression, eczema, growth impairment, hair loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, memory impairment, night blindness, white spots on nails, impairment of wound healing


anemia, arterial damage, diarrhea, depression, hair loss, weakness, hyperthyroidism, fatigue, fragile bones


growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, pancreatic insufficiency, immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility 

Why Micronutrient Deficiencies Occur After Weight Loss Surgery

Adjustable gastric band and sleeve gastrectomy are described as restrictive surgeries and can cause deficiencies because of the decrease in the amount of food that can be consumed. Since smaller portions are being eaten and calories are restricted, you are limiting your body of the micronutrients and macronutrients that it needs from food. After these procedures, deficiencies are common and require a daily bariatric vitamin/mineral supplement for the rest of your life. 

Gastric bypass is considered a malabsorptive and restrictive surgery, resulting in a higher risk of deficiency due to the decreased size of the stomach and the re-routing of the intestinal tract. Many nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. After surgery, a large section of the small intestine is bypassed resulting in malabsorption. For example, the absorption of vitamin B12 begins in the stomach where it is broken down and bound to something called intrinsic factor that helps with the absorption of this micronutrient. When the stomach is decreased in size and a portion of the small intestine is bypassed, the cells of the stomach are no longer able to produce adequate amounts of intrinsic factor to assist in absorption. This process results in the deficiency of vitamin B12. Without a daily bariatric vitamin/mineral regimen, deficiencies are left untreated resulting in substantial health issues that could have been avoided. 

Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch is described as primarily malabsorptive with some restrictive properties. The reduced size of the stomach decreases the amount of food consumed and allows fewer calories to be absorbed by the body. The reconstruction of the small intestine results in a larger portion of the intestine being bypassed compared to gastric bypass surgery. This procedure also reduces the amount of fat that your body can absorb. Due to the malabsorption of fats, there are common deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K). It is important to look into a bariatric multivitamin supplement that will provide a high dose formula and most bioavailable forms necessary for absorption after weight loss surgery. 

Where To Find The Appropriate Bariatric Supplements 

It is extremely important to find a bariatric specific multivitamin supplement. Compared to over-the-counter multivitamin supplements that you can buy at the store, bariatric specific multivitamins usually follow the ASMBS guidelines. These guidelines were produced by experienced healthcare professionals to ensure that bariatric patients receive all of the vitamins and minerals they need at much higher doses than the average multivitamin supplement to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Bariatric Fusion provides multiple options for a daily vitamin/mineral regimen necessary for patients after surgery. Our multivitamins can be found as a complete chewable supplement (those looking for an easy regimen), a 1 per day multivitamin capsule with iron, a multivitamin capsule without iron, a complete chewable multi-ADEK and a multi-ADEK capsule (suitable for duodenal switch patients), multivitamin soft chews, and multivitamin stick packs that mix in water. Bariatric Fusion also offers a line of corrective supplements for specific deficiencies that need to be addressed including sublingual B12, B-50 complex, vitamin D3 5000 IU and vitamin D3 1000 IU, biotin 1000 mcg and biotin 5000 mcg, thiamin (B1), iron soft chews, and calcium soft chews. We have also introduced a hair, skin, and nails supplement to battle dull and brittle nails, dry skin, and hair loss. With a wide variety of supplemental options that adhere to the ASMBS guidelines, you should feel confident knowing that you will obtain everything you need from our products.