Tracking Nutrition Before Weight Loss Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn J. Mock, US-Registered Dietician (R.D.)

Bariatric surgery can lead to a 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 Tests for Bariatric Patients
Lab-Drawn for Weight Loss Surgery

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 tolerates 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 (vitamins taken during pregnancy) by our bariatric nutritionists.  
  • They, however, suspend the intake when the clear liquid diet commences two days before gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery.
  • Costco multivitamins, biotin, and calcium gummies were suggested by one client who planned their intake throughout the day to get used to taking supplements before the surgery itself.
Calcium and Vitamin-B12 Before-Bariatric-Surgery
Calcium and Vitamin-B12 Before-Bariatric-Surgery

Calcium and Vitamin B12 Before Bariatric Surgery

Question: Should I also take Calcium and Vitamin B12 supplements before the surgery?

Answer:  by a US-registered Bariatric 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 of 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 therefore is a product you will use after surgery as well (stomach acid production decreases after a Roux-en-Y or sleeve gastrectomy).

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
Calcium Sources
Sources of Calcium

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 vitamin B12 is low.

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.

This Page Addresses

  • What qualifies you for weight loss surgery?
  • How overweight do you have to be to get the sleeve?
  • Who is eligible for the gastric sleeve?
  • How much do you have to weigh to get a gastric sleeve?
  • What disqualifies you from bariatric surgery?
  • How overweight do you have to be to get a gastric bypass?

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