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Will I need supplements after bariatric surgery?

March 18, 2021

There are a few questions you must ask yourself before you pursue bariatric surgery, such as, How will my life change? Am I ready to make a lifetime commitment to a healthier lifestyle? Which bariatric procedure is the right choice for me? Along with those questions will come more specific sets of questions, especially related to food. Many people wonder if they’ll still be able to consume the foods they love and if they’ll still be able to meet their nutrition requirements when consuming less food. Read on to learn whether or not you’ll need to take supplements after bariatric surgery to meet your nutrition requirements.

Limited food capacity

It is difficult to obtain the amount of nutrients we need each day, and that’s without having a restrictive or malabsorptive bariatric procedure completed. This is why many individuals (who haven’t had bariatric surgery) opt to take a basic multivitamin. However, after bariatric surgeries that restrict the amount of food consumed, it is incredibly difficult to consume enough nutrients in the day because patients simply do not have the capacity for the nutrient-dense food they need. 


While it is true that each bariatric surgery option you pursue results in the inability to eat as much food as you once could, not all procedures are linked to malabsorption. Malabsorption is when your digestive tract is unable to properly absorb nutrients from food. This typically happens because the digestive tract is cut and rerouted, bypassing some of the small intestine. When the small intestine is bypassed, food touches less of the absorptive surface and the nutrients cannot be extracted and absorbed by the body. Additionally, the food does not mix with bile and enzymes as much, which is a necessary part of nutrient absorption. As a result, individuals may find themselves low in B vitamins, iron, calcium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Some procedures, like biliopancreatic diversions and the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch are categorized as malabsorptive procedures because that is primarily how patients lose weight: through malabsorption.

Why is Lap-Band different?

The answer to the question of whether or not you’ll require daily supplements is dependent upon the bariatric procedure you proceed with. The Lap-Band® Program is different than other bariatric procedures because there is no cutting or partial “amputation” of the stomach or intestines. This means that patients are not at risk of malabsorption. Lap-Band is categorized as a limited-capacity procedure because it limits the amount of food patients can consume, so nutrient deficiencies may result. However, they can be resolved by taking a daily multivitamin. Other expensive supplements, such as the ones recommended after gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy, are typically not needed after the Lap-Band Procedure.

To see a comparison of the Lap-Band Procedure and other bariatric procedures, visit

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.