Weight-loss surgery can be a conduit to remarkable changes in life. For me, my gastric bypass surgery led to the happiness in life that I had imagined and hoped for, the confidence that I pined for, and the physical appearance that I desired. And my relationships both personal and professional improved and flourished, which was an unexpected and happy outcome of my massive 100-lb weight-loss from obesity surgery. In fact, virtually everything in life became new and exciting once I lost that weight.
But there must be work to maintain the new status quo. I did not get a free pass to remain fit and trim for the rest of my life. The labor of not being obese lasts for a lifetime; my lifestyle has been permanently altered. Among many lifestyle changes following my gastric bypass surgery, I adhere to a regiment of vitamin supplements. This is true of any bariatric surgery, however the specific supplements may vary depending on the type of weight-loss surgery had.
Thiamin Deficiency is Common
Thiamin deficiency following gastric bypass surgery is quite common and has been reported in as much as forty-nine percent of the patient population. This is owing to thiamin being best absorbed in the duodenum, a section that is bypassed in bariatric surgery. Therefore, absorption is decreased and thiamin levels become deficient.
What is Thiamin?
Thiamin, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many foods including whole-grain foods, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes, and orange and tomato juices. Thiamine is not present in fats or certain sugars.
The body is incapable of producing thiamin and can store only 30mg in tissues. It is mostly in skeletal muscles but also can be found in the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. Its storage in the body is limited, and it can be exhausted quickly.
Thiamin is needed for carbohydrate metabolism, nerve conduction, and the actions of the heart and muscles.
Thiamin Deficiency Symptoms
Thiamin deficiency symptoms can include vomiting, double-vision, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, troubles with walking, extreme weakness of the legs, and troubles with balance. Those with diabetes -- a common comorbidity of obesity -- or chronic vomiting have the greatest risk for thiamin deficiency.
Thiamin Deficiency Complications
The greatest cause of thiamin deficiency worldwide is poor diet, although in Western countries the primary causes are alcoholism, chronic illness, and cancer. Thiamin deficiencies are best known for causing beriberi. Although beriberi has been almost eradicated worldwide, it is an illness that remains a dangerous possibility for those who
have had weight-loss surgery.
The diet for a bariactric patient is restricted. Because of this, a deficiency of thiamin is more likely. The body does not store great amounts of thiamin to begin with and, given