What role do vitamins play in bariatric surgery?

General immune health and support are top of mind for many of us.  As you know, following bariatric surgery there are several recommendations for micro-nutrient supplementation in order to help prevent nutrient deficiencies.  Here is a quick review of various nutrients and their impact on our immune health.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, an antioxidant, has long been studied for its impact on our health and well-being and is vital to help white blood cells fight off invaders and regular intake has been shown to promote health.

  • There are no current established post-bariatric surgery guidelines for the amount of vitamin C you should take. Be sure that your multivitamin provides you with at least 100% of the daily value.

Vitamin D

While traditionally thought of for its role in bone health, vitamin D is a powerful nutrient that serves many functions within the body—including support of the immune system.  Having a deficiency of vitamin D can negatively impact immune function.

Many bariatric surgery patients are deficient in vitamin D both before and after surgery.  Be sure you are getting your labs checked at least one time a year after surgery so that your doctor can guide you on the proper dose.

  • After bariatric surgery, it is recommended that you take at least 75 mcg (3,000 IU) per day of vitamin D until your blood levels of vitamin D reach >30ng/mL. Some patients need even more than this amount each day in order to reach a normal vitamin D level in their blood.

Vitamin A

Studies continue to show that many patients are deficient in vitamin A after bariatric surgery, and this fat-soluble vitamin is necessary to support the body’s ability to have a strong immune response.

  • The range of vitamin A that is recommended after surgery is between 5,000-10,000 IU each day depending on which procedure you had.


This mineral plays a key role in boosting our immune systems.  Widely available as a supplement, it can be an important player in supporting immune health.

After bariatric surgery it is recommended that you consume between 8-22 mg of zinc each day depending on your gender and surgical procedure.


This trace mineral is also a key nutrient for immune function, and it acts as an antioxidant, which helps the body defend against challenges.

There are no established guidelines for the post-bariatric patient for selenium intake, just that your multivitamin “contains” selenium.


Probiotics not only support gut health, but studies have shown that depending on the probiotic strain they can influence the immune system.  Certain strains have been found to increase immune response, especially in children.

  • There are no established guidelines for the post-bariatric patient for supplemental probiotic intake; speak with your health care provider for guidance on selecting a probiotic that best supports your needs.

Keeping the immune system strong and responsive is important to maintain health.  Bariatric surgery patients have additional challenges in maintaining an adequate intake of these nutrients and often require larger amounts due to reduced absorption.  Taking your supplements can help you stay on a healthy path.


Article provided by https://www.bariatricadvantage.com/