Immune Risk Factors in the Bariatric Surgery Population

I wanted to reach out with some thoughts during this unprecedented circumstance. I know that you are just getting to know me as a Bariatric Eating team member, but I need to reach out to you today with an urgent message to help you protect yourself during this pandemic.

There is no magic bullet with respect to immune health and the most important personal measures to reduce our risk factors have been outlined for us over and over– social distancing, hand washing, don’t touch your face, etc. Following these recommendations is critical.

We are also learning that several of the risk factors which increase your immune susceptibility include obesity, blood sugar abnormalities and deficiencies of vitamins including Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2.

Now more than ever, it is incredibly important to emphasize supplemental nutrition in order to strengthen your immune defenses.

It is well-known that bariatric surgery can impact nutritional intake and many patients experience severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In light of recent research, patients who are deficient in Vitamin D3 and K2 show an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and a much worse prognosis than patients who have healthy levels.

From a supplement perspective, there are a range of products that I recommend and am currently taking. With regards to immune support, here are my suggestions:
  • Daily Multivitamin
  • Vitamin C 2,000 mg per day
  • Vitamin D3 5,000 IU per day
  • Vitamin K2 30 mcg per day minimum
My recommendations assume that you are also taking a high potency Omega-3 fish oil supplement. With regards to daily immune support my suggestions are as follows:
  • Limit your intake of all kinds of sugar (foods, candy, beverages) as it depresses your immune response.
  • Stay hydrated – limit intake of alcohol and focus on water and decaffeinated herbal teas.
  • Maintain your exercise and activity levels. I realize that our gyms are closed, however, exercise plays an important role in immune activity.
  • Practice a daily form of stress management – exercise, meditation – I recommended simply practicing deep breathing for 5 to 10 minutes a day. Deep breathing exercises our lungs and helps to reduce stress and nervous tension through a number of physiological mechanisms.

If you have any questions, please let us know. I wish only the best of health for everyone during this extraordinary time.

Dr. Andrew Myers

May 27, 2020
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