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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 ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.