Skip to main content
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

What vitamins, supplements should I take after weight-loss surgery?

Asked by Paulina Thomas, Jacksonville

Open quote
Close quote

What vitamins and supplements are recommended for people who have had weight loss surgery? And how much?

Expert Bio Picture

Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Paulina. This is a very good question, but I can't give you any specific recommendations without knowing what type of surgery you had and without knowing more about you specifically.

According to my colleague, weight-loss surgeon Dr. John Rabkin, any type of weight-loss surgery will initially require some supplementation due to the restricted amount of food you can eat post-operatively. When you eat less food, you also take in less vitamins, minerals, and protein, leading to the need for short- and/or long-term supplementation. This is particularly important for optimal healing post-operatively and for long-term health. In addition, he notes that, many (if not most) patients have vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies at baseline (before surgery) as these deficiencies are quite common in the general population.

Rabkin goes on to explain that many procedures including gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and biliopancreatic diversion require supplementation of the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D, E, & K) and minerals (calcium, iron, zinc, occ. copper, trace minerals). These operations remove portions of the gut where these nutrients are absorbed, so you may need to take higher amounts to ensure that you get an adequate dose. In addition, you may need to take the fat-soluble vitamins in a "dry" form to improve absorption, which means that they dissolve in water instead of fat, since the procedures decrease fat absorption. Gastric banding and sleeve procedures do not remove areas in the gut where nutrient absorption takes place, so they often require less supplementation long term and have less risk of deficiencies.

The doses of vitamins, minerals and protein vary considerably between individuals, so it is important that you work closely with your weight-loss surgeon and primary care physician after the surgery to determine the right amount for you. These surgeries are not a quick fix and do have side effects, so it is critical to find a weight-loss surgeon who provides long-term care. A good place to start would be in choosing a center certified as a Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In addition, Rabkin notes that patients who join patient support groups do better long term, so if your surgeon does not offer a support group, seek one out in your community.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
Will jogging hurt an obese person's joints?asked by: Asked by John Simmet; St. Paul, Minnesota
Is creatine a safe supplement?asked by: Asked by Ralph; New York
What foods cause flatulence?asked by: Asked by Peter; United States
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.