Bariatric Surgery Patients Deficient in Vitamin D

Medically Reviewed

Obese individuals who are to undergo bariatric surgery often have nutritional deficiencies, according to a study in patients scheduled to have Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

On the day of their planned surgery, the 58 patients, who ranged in age from 18 to 65, provided blood specimens from which researchers determined levels of vitamins A, B12, and D; three types of vitamin E; thiamin; folate; and iron.

The primary nutritional deficiencies in the group as a whole were in vitamin D and iron, with about 71 percent of patients having a significant deficiency of vitamin D and 36 percent a significant deficiency in iron.

But these proportions varied considerably by race; 100 percent of Hispanics were deficient in vitamin D compared with 81 percent of blacks and 65 percent of whites.

Overall, blacks and Hispanics had poorer nutritional status than whites, with lower levels of vitamins A and D, one type of vitamin E, and thiamin. As for deficiencies of multiple micronutrients, 50 percent of blacks fell into this category compared with 40 percent of participants overall.

Bottom line

Malnutrition is easier to deal with before, rather than after, surgery. So if bariatric surgery is in your future, you may want to talk to your doctor about assessing your nutritional status, keeping in mind that malnutrition also is correlated with adverse surgical outcomes.

Source: Obesity Surgery, April 2016

Read more about how to get more vitamin D in your diet and the importance of vitamins and minerals.