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Calcium and Vitamin B12 Before Bariatric Surgery


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Question: Should I take a multivitamin before bariatric surgery? What about Calcium and B12?

Answered by a US-registered Bariatric Diet Dietitian

  • A multivitamin before weight loss surgery is generally not needed but is not going to hurt either (however, it will be important to take nutritional supplements / multivitamins after bariatric surgery).
  • If you are not getting 1,500 mg calcium daily, it is a good idea to start taking a calcium supplement.
  • Pick up a Calcium Citrate vitamin.
  • It is a higher quality product and doesn’t need stomach acid to be absorbed and therefor is a product you will use after surgery as well (stomach acid production is decreased after a Roux-en-Y or sleeve gastrectomy).
  • Citracal contains calcium citrate and there are many other generic brands as well.
  • Below is a list of the calcium content of some foods (source: University of California San Francisco Medical Center):
    • 1 cup Milk: 300 mg
    • 1 oz Cheese: 200 mg
    • 1 cup Yogurt: 450 mg
    • 1 cup Broccoli (cooked): 180 mg

Sources of Calcium Before Bariatric Surgery

Vitamin B12 before bariatric surgery is only needed if you are a strict vegan, meaning you do not eat meat, fish, eggs, cheese, or other dairy products, including milk, yogurt, etc. or lab results show that your B12 is low. This is very uncommon.

Other supplements that can be added to stay healthy before weight loss surgery:

  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Fish oil vitamins

Note that these are not going to have any impact on hair loss after bariatric surgery, which is usually independent of malnutrition.

Tracking Nutrition Before Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery can lead to deficiency of nutrients which is why every individual is encouraged to stay as healthy as possible pre-op by taking the appropriate dose of multivitamins along with the proposed pre-op bariatric diet.

Labs-Drawn Before WLS

It is advised to get your labs drawn to check if you are already experiencing any insufficiency. Your dietitian will then recommend a dosage accordingly. The following tests can be considered:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Complete chemistry panel
  • Liver function tests
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Lipid profile
  • Coagulation tests
  • Serum iron and total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
  • Folic acid
  • 25 (OH) Vitamin D

Know that every person is unique and can tolerate supplements differently. Choose among capsules, gummies and tablets according to what your nutritionist suggests and also what you can take without hesitation.

Our Suggestions for Multivitamins Before Bariatric Surgery

  • Most of the clients are advised prenatal vitamins by our bariatric nutritionists for meeting the nutritional requirements before bariatric surgery.
  • They, however, suspend the intake when the clear liquid diet commences two days before gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery.
  • Costco multivitamin, biotin and calcium gummies are suggested by one client who planned their intake throughout the day in order to get used to taking supplements before surgery itself.


  • Supplements before weight loss surgery
  • Multivitamins prior to gastric sleeve
  • Pre-op vitamin regimen
  • Nutrition recommendations before bariatric surgery
  • What vitamins are good for bariatric surgery?
  • What type of calcium is best for bariatric patients?
Updated on December 3, 2018

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