My friend Kaitlin (not my daughter, it should be noted.. we call this Kaitlin my Other Kaitlin..) over at The Bypassed Life wrote a great post about Flintstones vitamins in a way that makes it very easy to see why they are not a good choice for .. well?  Anyone.

She’s got some great content on her blog, including a post about a study on antidepressant absorption (or lack thereof) in our guts.  She’s worth a read if you are need of another good quality blog.

So without further ado:

What’s the Fuss about Flintstones?

Many years ago, the gold standard for post-operative supplementation was Flintstones children’s chewable vitamins, as well as Tums for calcium. Unfortunately, this regimen was woefully incomplete. Without the proper supplements, people developed deficiencies. Not always immediately—the body has stores of many vitamins—but they did eventually appear. In some people, circumstances helped to accelerate nutrient depletion. My friend Andrea had babies. Greedy little (adorable) things that they were, those babies stole from her vitamin stores. Her Flintstones and Tums simply couldn’t keep up. Andrea got rickets.

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Adult Gummy Vitamins

On January 10, 2011, in Fat Solubles, Minerals, Reviews, Vitamins, Water Solubles, by Andrea

For all the vitamins that are out on the market, the newest “craze” are the gummy “vitamins.”

First came the gummies for kids to help get kids to take them.  I get the reasoning.

But then they made adult vitamins using a gummy formulation.

And post-ops who thought Flintstones were good enough?  Now thought gummies were a great option.

And just like Flintstones.. they aren’t.

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I have a hatred of few things in life.  Flintstones, Tums, and Optisource are among them.

When I first had surgery, we were started on Optisource vitamins.  4x a day, that’s it.  Sounds fine, right?  It’s great — until you realize they have the wrong type of calcium in them.  They use calcium carbonate and not citrate — which is what someone who has a limited acid quotient has needs.

So then we switched.  I’m not really sure why, but we did.

To Flintstones and Tums.  Which is still the wrong type of calcium.

And then.  Then I had kids.  And it all goes downhill from there.  (doesn’t it always?)

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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.