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Posts Tagged ‘Roux-en-Y gastric bypass’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013



According to health reports, vitamin B12 deficiency in bariatric surgery patients is on the rise. But before you commit to bariatric surgery, you need to know how it will affect your body’s absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12 (cobalamin). In some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can be just as debilitating as morbid obesity.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Vitamin B12 deficiency after Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight for most of your life, then you may be considering a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. Before you go under the knife, you should know the health risks involved with bariatric surgery; vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies observed after weight loss surgery. Bariatric patients are at an increased risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because their digestive tracts have been altered in such a way as to interfere with the natural absorption of this crucial vitamin.

Signs of severe vitamin B12 deficiency include depression, memory loss, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders. (Read this: Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List)

Vitamin B12 is needed for healthy red blood cells and cognitive excellence, plus it protects the nerve cells from harm. So when vitamin B12 levels plummet, as they often do a few years post-bariatric surgery, patients begin to suffer symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that affect memory, mental health, and nervous system integrity.

Bariatric Surgery Causes Malabsorption

In healthy adults, vitamin B12 is broken down in the acidic environment of the stomach.  Intrinsic factor, which is released by the parietal cells in the stomach, then binds with vitamin B12 in the duodenum. The bound vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the ileum.

During gastric bypass surgery, however, the portions of the gastrointestinal tract responsible for making intrinsic factor, most of the stomach and duodenum, are bypassed, limiting the breakdown of vitamin B12 and its subsequent binding with intrinsic factor, causing vitamin B12 malabsorption, or the inability to digest vitamin B12 naturally from foods or even pill form.

You cannot absorb enough vitamin B12 to prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Without the right type of  supplementation, your vitamin B12 levels will slowly decline, along with your health.

Gastric Bypass Side Effects your Surgeon Forgot to Mention

Which kind of B12 is best?

For patients of bariatric surgery, only very miniscule amounts of vitamin B12 are absorbed through the digestive tract; this true for vitamin B12 food sources and vitamin B12 in a pill form. It doesn’t matter if you swallow a vitamin B12 pill whole or get your vitamin B12 in chewable or liquid form; once you’ve had bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 if ingested via the digestive tract will not be absorbed into the body.

To prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency in patients of gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 supplements that deposit B12 molecules directly into the bloodstream are the only real option. There are several non-oral methods of supplying vitamin B12 that are available by prescription or over the counter.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

Most vitamin B12 supplements are 1,000mcg. Your doctor may recommend weekly, biweekly, or monthly doses of vitamin B12.

For optimum results in preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, bariatric surgery patients may take as much vitamin B12 as they need to prevent debilitating symptoms, as there is no upper limit for vitamin B12 under FDA guidelines, so no risk of overdosing or experiencing any negative side effects.

Plus, the extra vitamin B12 may help with weight loss, as B12 boosts energy, promotes good metabolism, and sustains healthy mental balance.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Getting your Vitamin B12, Post-Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery: What 50 Post-Op Patients have to Say

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Image courtesy of Ambro/freedigitalphotos

Gastric Bypass Surgery Better than Banding…or it it?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012



Gastric bypass surgery offers the morbidly obese a new lease on life, according to research. Recent studies confirm that people who undergo Roux-en-Y weight loss surgery lose the most weight and keep it off, more so than with gastric banding.  But while gastric surgery promises a high success rate, the risk for serious complications is significantly higher than with other kinds of bariatric surgery.


What is gastric bypass surgery?

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass changes the size of your stomach and reroutes food past certain parts of the digestive system.  People who undergo gastric bypass surgery achieve a feeling of fullness much quicker than before the surgery, and are thus able to eat less and lose a considerable amount of weight. However, because gastric bypass is a complicated procedure, many problems may arise during or after the surgery.

  • With the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a small egg-sized stomach sack is created and attached to the middle part of the small intestine.
  • The rest of the stomach, as well as the upper section of the small intestine, are completely avoided, or “bypassed.”
  • A common side effect of gastric bypass is gastric bypass dumping in which food travels through the stomach and empties into the small intestine too quickly, causing symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.
  • Another common side effect is nutritional deficiency, including vitamin B12 deficiency and many other vitamin, calcium, iron, and magnesium deficiencies.
  • Patients of gastric bypass surgery must supplement with extra vitamins and minerals, with a special emphasis on vitamin B12 supplements, in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms like nerve cell damage and memory problems.

Vitamin B12 deficiency after Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss

What is gastric banding?

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery is the second-most popular form of bariatric surgery after the gastric bypass procedure.  Banding is a good alternative for gastric bypass surgery because it is less invasive.

  • In gastric banding, the surgeon places an adjustable silicon band around the upper part of your stomach, effectively cinching it to a smaller size.
  • After banding, your stomach can hold only about 1 ounce of food at one time.
  • The gastric band is adjusted through a saline solution that may be injected through a small device under the skin.
  • Most people who undergo gastric banding lose approximately 40% of their body weight.
  • Gastric banding surgery is completely reversible.
  • The mortality rate due to gastric banding surgery is 1/2000.
  • Since the small intestine remains intact, gastric banding surgery does not disrupt your digestive system, and there is no risk of vitamin deficiency, such as vitamin B12 deficiency.


Gastric Bypass Stomach Surgery in Mexico- Would you?

Is gastric banding surgery safer than gastric bypass?

In a recent study comparing success rates between gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding, scientists had this to say:

  • About 17% of gastric bypass patients had complications like infections following surgery, compared to only 5% of gastric banding patients.
  • Six years post-surgery, 12% of gastric bypass patients were back to being morbidly obese, with a BMI over 35, while about a third of gastric banding patients were once again overweight.
  • Thirteen percent of bypass patients required a follow-up operation, while approximately 27% of gastric banding patients needed to return for more surgeries.
  • Complications involved with gastric banding include band erosion, stretched esophagus, or food-related issues.
  • Complications involved with gastric bypass can be much more severe; possibly fatal complications include bowel blockage and leakage of waste material into the body.


Anorexic British Teen Regrets Gastric Bypass Surgery

Which should I choose- banding or bypass?

With gastric bypass surgery, food rushes through the digestive system, and essential minerals and vitamins pass through without ever being absorbed into the bloodstream.  So while you feed your stomach, you are not feeding the rest of the body the nutrients that it needs to survive.  Life-long supplementation of vitamins- vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and B vitamins-, and minerals is a commitment that gastric bypass patients much make.

Your chances of losing weight following gastric banding are 50/50, and there is a fair chance that you will have complications that require a return trip to the operating room.  However, banding-related complications are less severe than bypass-related complications, which can be fatal.  Then again, if obesity poses a serious life risk, then you might be better off with the most successful weight loss surgery- gastric bypass.

Was this article helpful?  If so, please share with your friends…and leave us your comments.  We’d love to hear from you!

Read more about bariatric surgery here:

10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Weight Loss Surgery: What 50 Post-Op Patients have to Say


Long term, gastric bypass beats out banding: study- Reuters

Gastric Banding Surgery for Weight Loss

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass vs Gastric Banding for Morbid Obesity

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