Is Your Gastric Bypass Making You Malnourished?

The basic aim of a gastric bypass is to help you lose weight in order to avoid the co-morbidities of obesity, and therefore, your diet following surgery is also specially designed to achieve this objective, and also to maintain the weight loss.

Postoperative dietary patterns require drastic modifications to suit the new metabolic and physiological milieu. The total caloric intake, as well as the intake of macro- and micronutrients, is much reduced due to the anatomical changes brought about by the surgical procedure. Your dietary intake is reduced, as is the absorption of food, consequently the risk of nutritional deficiencies increases manifold.

So, is your gastric bypass making you malnourished?

If your diet is being supervised by a dietician and you are following up regularly with your bypass surgeon, chances that you are suffering from any major deficiencies are minimal. Especially if you have been prescribed special nutritional supplements following monitoring of the blood levels of micronutrients.

If not, you must realize that since you have already been suffering from morbid obesity, you are at a greater risk of nutritional deficiencies, particularly of fat-soluble vitamins, zinc, and folic acid.

You are a risk for anemia, secondary to iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency, as also neurological disorders such as encephalopathy and peripheral neuropathies due to thiamine deficiency. Other deficiency syndromes to watch out for include vitamin D deficiency leading to osteoporosis, and ocular symptoms from vitamin A deficiency.

It is imperative that you have frequent, small meals which have a low glycemic index, with a high protein content, to combat problems like postoperative nausea, dehydration, dumping syndrome, stomach pain, ulcers, and gastritis.

Nutritional supplementation under supervision is the obvious solution for all these problems. It makes sense to choose a a gender and age specific formula, especially designed for those having undergone a gastric bypass, that contains most of the essential vitamins and minerals, and does not exceed the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance by more than 150 percent, so as to avoid problems of toxicity.

Essential elements in this regard include iron (recommended daily dose for men is 100 to 200 milligrams, and 300 to 350 milligrams per day for menstruating women), vitamin C (60 milligrams of vitamin C per day), vitamin B complex (1000 micrograms of vitamin B12, 300 milligrams of vitamin B6, and 5 milligrams of folic acid), and calcium (600 milligrams per day).

The warning signs to watch out for include lethargy, fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, tingling of extremities, brittle nails, hair fall, bleeding gums, dark under eye circles, dry scaly skin, painful oral ulcers or fissures, poor wound healing, easy bruising and frequent infections.

If you suspect that your gastric bypass is making you malnourished, do discuss it with your nutritionist in consultation with your surgeon. They will evaluate you thoroughly and monitor the blood levels of essential nutrients and alter your diet accordingly in order to avoid complications. Very rarely, a revision of the surgical procedure to a more metabolically active procedure may be warranted.

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