Bariatric Pillar #5: Vitamins for LIFE??

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

November 20, 2023

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Bariatric Pillars for a strong post-op foundation, Pillar #5: Vitamins

Click here for the first video in this series: the 5 pillars of Bariatric Health! 

Do I have to take vitamins FOREVER??

Short answer? Yes. You do need to take vitamins forever. (Eeek.)

But, like most things it’s all about mindset. You don’t have to think in terms of “oh my goodness this is going to be forever!”

Instead, you can think “what vitamins are going to work for me now? I will reevaluate whenever I might need to change.” No long-term commitments to the same vitamin chewable necessary.

We also need to eat good food forever but we don’t talk about it in that same way! 

Think I’m taking your vitamins each day as an active self love. It’s a small thing (that certainly requires consistency to remember) but prevents your foundation from falling apart because of a deficiency.



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Do they HAVE to be bariatric vitamins? 

Another short answer for you: no, they don’t have to be bariatric vitamins.

Although, nowadays, its actually easier and more cost effective to purchase vitamins formulated for bariatric surgery.

Back in the day, my patients had to take six to seven vitamins a day to meet the recommendations. SHEESH. Much of the time in my appointments were spent figured out a vitamins schedule that would work in their lives!

Now, you can get a formulated vitamin with the recommended iron, B12 and vitamin D. Sometimes you may need something additional, but often times you can have a bariatric vitamin and add in calcium and call it good!

This blog and video deep dives on what vitamins most patients need to take and some popular companies…with coupons!



Do they have to be chewable??

Every program differs a bit on their recommendations for how long you need to do a chewable.

Some programs will all you to start a capsule just a couple weeks post-op and others will be more conservative.

If you are not tolerating the vitamins your clinic has recommended, let them know. Ask them what other options you have and if you can try capsules sooner.

If you get nauseated with vitamins, try to have some food on your stomach or right before bed if you can sleep through that moment instead!


Ways to remember to take your vitamins

There is certainly trial and error related to remembering vitamins!

For some, the vitamin reminders in the Baritastic App are really helpful. You can find out how to set that up on their website linked here. 

For other patients, finding a pill case that makes sense for them can make a difference.

A very helpful tactic is to use habit stacking. This is when you connect it to a daily habit you already have in place. An example is putting vitamins by your toothbrush to remember taking one in the morning and one at night.


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Annual labs and what to watch for

If it’s been more than a year since you’ve had lab work with your surgery center, make that appointment.

If you aren’t in contact with your surgery center, visit with your primary physician about adding bariatric specific labs to your annual lab work. This printout can be used as a helpful guide or your PCP can visit the ASMBS website for more help.

My recommendation?

Keep a copy of your annual labs and compare them year over year. Look for anything that is trending down. It’s easier to catch a vitamin on its way down, but still in normal limits, than to wait until it’s low to intervene.

Your bariatric dietitian can help you with all of this!


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Comment below with what works best for YOU to remember daily bariatric vitamins!



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