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B12: What is it?

| Date Posted: 6/27/2013 | Author: Mandy McCue

An important part of post-surgery life is getting used to taking vitamins. Some surgeries, like gastric bypass, reroute the intestine causing malabsorption, which is when the intestines doesn’t soak up essential nutrients and causes certain vitamin deficiencies. B12_shot

B12 is a common vitamin supplement most bariatric patients are instructed to take after surgery. The supplements plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system and the functioning of blood. It is also involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body and helps with energy production. Nine to fourteen percent of people have a B12 deficiency before having bariatric surgery, and the condition is exacerbated by malabsorption after the surgery.

Vitamin B12 can be administered in a few different ways, orally or by an injection are the most common. Shounak Majumder, MD, of the University of Connecticut in Farmington, and colleagues reported online in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases that high-dose oral supplementation is fine for patients who are asymptomatic but a B12 injection is preferred for patients who have developed a deficiency following bariatric surgery.

The American Society of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery has guidelines for monitoring and treating micronutrient deficiencies, but data on proper dose and administration is limited. Hence why the researchers conducted a review of trials involving prevention and management of vitamin B12 deficiency in patients having bariatric surgery.  In their studies, they concluded that injections of vitamin B12 is the most efficient way to treat the deficiency.

“Given the long-term experience with the intramuscular formulation [injection] and its proven efficacy, we believe that it should remain the preferred route of administration for the immediate postoperative period after bariatric surgery, until stable serum levels are achieved, “the researchers wrote.

Vitamin deficiency after weight-loss surgery could become a serious problem. It is important for bariatric surgery patients to continuously educate themselves on proper nutrition and the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies. FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s Bariatric Center, located in Pinehurst, NC, hosts a bariatric support group on the first Thursday of every month. The support group offers an opportunity for patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Troy, and Rockingham regions of North Carolina to stay up-to-date on weight-loss information and address any personal issue associated with bariatric surgery. To learn more about the FirstHealth Bariatric Support Group, call (910) 715-6283.

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