Flintstones and Tums aren’t enough postop.

Some of us know this already — but heya! there’s a study that gives some credence to what some of us have been saying.  There was an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Official Journal of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc.

Nutritional deficiencies after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for morbid obesity often cannot be prevented by standard multivitamin supplementation, by Christoph Gasteyger, Michel Suter, Rolf C Gaillard, and Vittorio Giusti.  (Article can be read here.)

Before you ask, the numbers are based off of an unknown, regular multivitamin.  The studies are not based off of a bariatric multivitamin, or using ASMBS recommendations.  However, this just proves why we should heed those recommendations.  Lots of numbers ahead – scary numbers, actually.


The study, in the end, included 137 morbidly obese patients (110 women and 27 men) — these were the ones who maintained the lab requirements, the supplementation requirements, the doctor visits, etc.  Initially, there were 348 patients in the study, but only about 33% complied with the postoperative care requirements, which, in of itself, is a sobering statistic.

Lab testing was done at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postoperatively.

This, folks, is where it gets really scary.

  • 3 months postop, 34% required at least one additional supplement to the multivite
  • 6 months postop, 59% required at least one additional supplement
  • 12 months postop, 86% required at least one additional supplement
  • 18 months postop, 93% required at least one additional supplement
  • 24 months postop, 98% required at least one additional supplement to the multivite
  • After 2 years, 2.2% took 0 additional supplements
  • 18.3% took 1 additional supplement
  • 19.7% took 2 additional supplements
  • 22.6% took 3 additional supplements
  • 27.7% took 4 additional supplements to the multivite
  • 6.6% took 5 additional supplements
  • 2.9% took 6 additional supplements
  • B12 was the most often supplemented — 10% were taking it at 3 months and 80% were taking it at 2 years
  • Iron was next — 15% at 3 months, and 60% at 2 years
  • Calcium +D — 17% at 3 months, 60% at 2 years
  • Folic Acid — 7% at 3 months, 45% at 2 years
  • B1 — 1% at 3 months, 4% at 2 years
  • B6 — 1% at 3 months, 13% at 2 years
  • Magnesium — 1% at 3 months, 13% at 2 years
  • Zinc — 1% at 3 months, 12% at 2 years

So what does all of this tell us?  Quite a bit.  First off..  33% of the people included in this study were able to pop a single pill, keep up with doctor appointments, get blood draws, add supplements as needed?  Only 33% could comply for a measly two years?  They got their insides sliced and diced, knowing this was going to be for life, knowing they would need vitamins for life, and they couldn’t maintain a simple protocol for a measly two years?  This frightens the heck out of me more than the numbers above do.  I mean.. what happens at year three?  Or, if they are still kicking, year ten?

But while we’re looking at the numbers, and let’s keep in mind that these are only for two years — and let’s not think about those of us kicking around the five year mark — that 98% of those in the study were at least on one additional supplement to a multivite.  That tells us that we need much, much more than the average bear.  So maybe, perhaps, the ASMBS has it right with their recommendations for doubling the multivite, adding some calcium, some iron, some b12, etc.?  That Flintstones and Tums aren’t going to cut it for long.

Yes, sobering statistics to be certain.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

5 Responses to “Standard multivitamin supplementation isn’t enough after RNY”

  1. beka says:

    Andrea, most people can’t comply with their antibiotic regimen. The key is education. It needs to start early. Imagine if you had a serious chronic illness, with a complicated medicine regime. Few manage that too.

  2. Debra Kay says:

    The site looks great. I’ll come back often as a reminder to take the vitamins-I’m woefully inadequate at that.

  3. [...] out that measured the efficacy of a multivitamin alone after RNY and in the process we learned that only 33% were actually compliant. You’d think we [...]

  4. MacMadame says:

    Is 33% 1/3 of the people of the 137 subjects included in the study or the original 348?

  5. Andrea says:

    The original 348.

Leave a Reply