Screen for Vitamin A and Vitamin K Deficiency after Gastric Bypass Surgery - My Bariatric Life

Patient Expert

With the  gastric bypass surgical procedure, it is the section of the small bowel where most vitamins are absorbed and digested that is bypassed. In addition, stapling the stomach to reduce its size or removing part of the stomach will also effect the digestion of vitamins.

In prior posts, I have addressed vitamin deficiencies that can follow gastric bypass surgery: vitamin B12 deficieny, vitamin D deficiency, trace minerals deficieny, thiamine deficieny, protein deficiency, and iron deficiency. The focus of this post will be on Vitamin A and Vitamin K deficiencies after gastric bypass surgery.

The Importance of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a group of compounds that are important for bone growth, reproduction, and cell division.  Vitamin A also is  a critical component in the  process where cells become part of the brain, muscles and lungs.

Vitamin A is most recognized for the role it plays in the maintenance of vision. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, thus promoting the contention that eating carrots will enhance eyesight.

Vitamin A is important to the immune system. It makes the white blood cells which fight bacteria and viruses.

Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A comes from both animals and plants. It is called preformed Vitamin A when the source is animals and provitamin A carotenoid when the source is vegetables or fruits.

Animal resources include whole eggs, milk, and liver. The fat free milk that is popular in the United States is fortified with Vitamin A to replace the Vitamin A that is lost after the fat is removed.

Vegetable and fruit resources of provitamin A carotenoid are carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States. An early sign of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. Night blindness can become permanent   blindness if it is not addressed.

Insufficient amounts of Vitamin A diminishes a persons' ability to fight infections. Controlled infectious diseases in the United States such as measles can be fatal if a person is deficient in Vitamin A. In third world countries, millions of children die annually from complications of infectious diseases.

The Importance of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is stored in fat tissues and the liver and is important for blood clotting and bone health. It is standard procedure for newborns in the United States to get Vitamin K injections to prevent possible bleeding.

Humans make Vitamin K from the bacteria in their intestines. Babies do not have bacteria in their intestines at birth and therefore require an injection of Vitamin K.

Vitamin K helps to build bone. Those with high levels of vitamin K have greater bone density while those with deficient levels of Vitamin K often get osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mass that causes they bones to become fragile.

Sources of Vitamin K

The food sources of Vitamin K are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage also are good sources. Additional food sources include fish, liver, meat, and eggs.

As mentioned before, Vitamin K is also made from the bacteria that line the intestinal tract.

Vitamin K Deficiency

Vitamin K deficiency is rare. Symptoms include bruising easily, gastrointestinal bleeding, and excessive menstrual bleeding.

Those most at risk for Vitamin K deficiency are people with chronic malnutrition and alcoholics.

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