My surgery was over 8 years ago, I have lost and maintained 130 pound weight loss, I eat healthy food, do I really need vitamins?

This question is asked numerous times each day in our Bariatric Eating Support Group.

SHORT ANSWER: YES, OF COURSE YOU NEED TO TAKE VITAMINS!

When we met our surgeon he told us that taking vitamins was mandatory not for a year or three or five, but FOREVER. With 85% of our stomach having been removed from our body in a Sleeve procedure or stomach bisected with intestines bypassed in Gastric Bypass, or stomach choked off by a silicon Lapband, we will never be able to digest food into its tiniest elements that are small enough to slip into intestinal openings.

We will never be able to fully absorb our food. We will always be high risk for deficiencies – 98% of all bariatric post ops have more than 2 deficiencies at the 24 month mark. 

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We also receive email like this one that came from a BE customer:

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I am post op 8 to 9 years now. I took all vitamins for first 4 years and quit. I just broke my femur bone in 6 places. I have soft bones. I need to know what I should be taking to get back on target. I would love to talk to someone with the knowledge of the products I need. I used to be a customer. Something happened and I just stopped. I now have 9 more weeks of non weight bearing on my right leg. Please call me ASAP so I can start to get healthy again. Devastated. I’m only in my 40’s.

 

We have our surgery, buy protein and vitamins like good little soldiers, lose the weight, then THINK we don’t need it and STOP drinking the protein and even STOP taking the vitamins. Yet, under the surface the pot boils and problems progress UNDETECTED. Over time, these situations become little time bombs that can go off at any minute given the opportunity.

On the outside, sure we may be a little tired, but who isn’t?

We may think for a moment while blow drying that our hair is a little thinner, but say ‘Naaaaa’.

We join a WLS Old Timers group and are both shocked and saddened by the pain and advanced disease states.

We notice the white marks or ridges on our nails but after a coat of polish we don’t see them.

We hear of post ops falling and breaking a wrist. Then another. BUT it doesn’t register with us.

Of the twenty five or so moderators we have been blessed to have helping our members over the years, nearly half have broken a bone in a fall.

Let me intentionally scare the crap out of you. MORE OF US BREAK WRISTS AND ANKLES THAN YOU WOULD EVER IMAGINE. It’s not a coincidence, it’s not bad balance, it’s not age, it’s not clumsiness, it is because our bones are soft and weak.

IT IS BECAUSE we don’t take vitamins the way we are supposed to. We don’t take multivitamins. We don’t take calcium. We don’t take D3 and we all know this is true.

We tell other post ops on Facebook and the nurses at our surgeons office that we do because it makes us feel better and we almost convince ourselves. We blatantly ignore what we have been told to do. Even when someone dies with a B1 deficiency, we tell ourselves ‘That’s not me.’

It is our reality. Take Vitamins! Take Vitamins! Take Vitamins!

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