Vitamins for Long Term Bariatric Health

UPDATED AGAIN April 2018 to give accurate list of my vitamins, below.

I am big believer in vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. I’ve used them since my 20s and I believe that they are the reason for my overall good health. I study vitamins and supplements, so I tend to get very technical when I am putting together my personal vitamin and supplement regimen.

I’ve posted about the various supplements I take, but I wanted to update that to what I am taking right now, plus some interesting information I’ve found about Vitamin K. First, the Vit K info!

Vitamin K, which is promoted as a helper for calcium absorption and often found in calcium supplements, has several forms. Turns out, the form most often found in calcium supplements, K1, is not the one that helps with calcium. Who knew? I came across this article about Vitamin K that I found very enlightening. What I learned is that K2 (menaquinone) is the vitamin supplement you need to help calcium, NOT K1 (phylloquinone). Here are the K vitamins and what they are for:

•Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is found naturally in plants, especially green vegetables; K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain healthy blood clotting

•Vitamin K2, also called menaquinone, is made by the bacteria that line your gastrointestinal tract; K2 goes straight to your blood vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver

•Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form I do not recommend; it’s important to note that toxicity has occurred in infants injected with this synthetic vitamin K3
(Excerpt from “What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium” by Dr Mercola, from previous cited article.)

There is more technical info in that article, but suffice it to say that you need K2 to assist calcium absorption when taking calcium supplements. ALL BARIATRIC PATIENTS should take calcium supplements, especially if you are on omeprazole (or any -zole drug), since these drugs block calcium absorption. You also need Vitamin D3 to assist with calcium absorption, but that is in pretty much every supplement out there. I will add that you should also balance the calcium with magnesium citrate (2:1 ratio). You should also be on high doses of Vit B12 since your stomach was the source of the absorption and is now a fraction of its normal size.

What all this boils down to is you need to be aware of this balancing act when you start taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Lucky for YOU, I’ve done the math and found the right blend of products to achieve this balance of Calcium, Mangnesium, Vit D3 and Vit K2 for longterm bariatric use.

I’d also like to remind you that reducing the size of your stomach will SEVERELY affect your vitamin B12 absorption. If you take nothing else, TAKE VITAMIN B SUPPLEMENTS. I read a paper that links Vitamin B deficiency to Dementia. My father seems to bear that out. He had “ulcer” surgery in the 70s (before they figured out that it was a bacterial infection). They removed 80% of his stomach. Sound familiar? Yep, he had VSG before they even knew what VSG was. He was never told to change his eating habits and he never took a vitamin. This explains why he’d always go lay down in pain after every meal. We were in the steakhouse business and he’d eat an 8oz steak… Can you imagine the pain? I can. But, anyway, he did not take any vitamin supplements at all and his brain has been swiss cheese since he was around 70. He is now 80 or so and is completely incoherent. I feel that this is because he did not take B vitamins. //my theory//

My current supplement regimen (My vendor is Vitacost. Use THIS LINK for a $10 coupon!):

1 200mcg Selenium (hot flashes)
1 Kyolic Kyo-Dophilus (reflux and gut health) Not currently taking this one.
1 Vitacost Synergy Once Daily Multivitamin
1 CoQ10
2 Vitacost Calcium/magnesium (dose is 3, so 2/3 regular dose)
1 QuickDots Vit B12 chewable (also has some other Bs in there)
1 Quickdots D3 and K2 chewable (to get the K2) DID YOU KNOW that most people are Vit D deficient these days? They are, due to the use of sunscreen. It is probably a good idea for most people to take a D and K supplement.

This has been my regimen for almost a year now. I still get a little reflux when I take them all at once, but not too bad. It rarely happens if I take the vitamins with food.

One 20mg Kroger brand Nexium (esomeprazole) capsule in the morning and half a 20mg Nexium pill at night. They stopped making the pills, so when my stash runs out, I’ll go to two caps per day. I still cannot get off esomeprazole. I guess I’m on it for life. Sigh. Hopefully my kidneys won’t get damaged and/or my bones won’t dissolve. Sigh.

Side note:
Since surgery, my inflammation issues are GONE. (Still true, 2 years out!!) I no longer take naproxen. I’m very happy that the inflammation has disappeared – it is a nice bonus from the VSG.

As I’ve mentioned, I had to go back on omeprazole (Prilosec 20mg) esomeprazole (Nexium 20mg 2x/day) to keep the reflux in check – more on this HERE. This is why I am trying to find the absolute BEST calcium plan I can, because any -zole drug (PPI) blocks calcium absorption and has lots of BAD long term effects. I’d rather not have my bones dissolve, so I’m trying to work out the best strategy.

Protip: you can’t really check your calcium or other vitamin levels with blood tests. All these tests show is your SERUM levels, which are the levels in your blood, which is not the same as the absorption levels. So just take the dang vitamins and hope for the best.

As always, I hope this information is helpful to other bariatric patients out there who are trying to navigate the maze of supplements like I am.