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VITAL NUTRITION – Vitamin D supplementation before and after bariatric surgery has many health benefits. It has been found to increase immunity, healing and decrease depression. Plus, research has shown it plays a part in preventing heart disease, cancer, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. One of the major roles Vitamin D has is in absorption of calcium to maintain bone health and strength. This is particularly crucial for bariatric patients as deficiencies will occur without extra supplementation.

How deficiencies occur:

  • Covid19 and the cold weather keep us indoors and less active so the vitamin can become trapped with inactivity.
  • In all bariatric patients, the amount of vitamin D rich foods is “restricted” and bile salts that help with absorption and digestion are not as abundant.
  • Gastric bypass surgery patients can have malabsorption due to the rapid transport through the shortened GI tract.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can be consumed in foods, taken as a supplement, and exposure to sunshine for 15minutes daily.  It is stored in our adipose(fat) tissue which must be mobilized in the body to access and utilize it.

Bariatric vitamin recommendations for patients before and after surgery include 5000 international units (IU) of Vitamin D3 every day.  In this dosage, deficiency is less likely to occur and health benefits may be obtained.

Labs used to evaluate Vitamin D status: Serum Vitamin D 25-OH —  >30 ng/mL is within normal limits.

Vitamin D in Foods

Food itemserving sizeInternational units (IU)
Trout (rainbow)3 ounces648 IU
Fish oil (cod liver)1 teaspoon452 IU
Salmon (sockeye)3 ounces444 IU
Sardines (canned in oil)3 ounces165 IU
Tuna (canned)3 ounces154 IU
Flatfish (flounder and sole)3 ounces120 IU
Mushrooms (exposed to ultraviolet light, as noted on the product label)½ cup316 IU
Milk (*fortified: 1%, or fat-free)1 cup116 IU
Soymilk (*fortified)1 cup116 IU
Non-dairy milk (*fortified: almond or rice)1 cup96 IU
Yogurt (*fortified)6 ounces80 IU

*Fortified means certain nutrients, such as vitamin D, have been added to the food item.

NOTE: If you are taking medications, make sure vitamin D does not interact with any of them. ALWAYS let your primary care provider know if you are taking any dietary supplements.  Check with your dietitian if you have any questions! We are here to support and educate you regarding your health!

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