Should You Take Vitamin B12 After Weight Loss Surgery?

After weight loss surgery, many patients experience a decrease in the amount of vitamin B12 that their bodies can absorb. Vitamin B12 is essential for a number of different bodily functions and is needed to help you adapt to the changes in diet, exercise, and activity you’ll have to make following your surgery. In this post, we’ll take a look at vitamin B12’s role in the body and how you can benefit from it following weight loss surgery.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for maintaining a healthy nervous system, brain, and heart. It also regulates your body’s red blood cell formation & DNA synthesis, and helps prevent anemia.

What are the benefits of vitamin B12?

Because vitamin B12 plays such an integral role in your overall health, getting enough of it after your weight loss surgery can help you maintain a stable weight, prevent cardiovascular disease, and promote a healthy nervous system. 

Vitamin B12 can help you maintain a stable weight

Getting enough vitamin B12 after your weight loss surgery can help you maintain a stable body weight by regulating your hunger and digestion. Patients with low vitamin B12 levels often suffer from lethargy and slow metabolism. Consider the following studies:

  • One study found that a B12 deficiency could be associated with increased fat accumulation and obesity in children, adolescents, and pregnant women. Similarly, the study cited an increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes for patients lacking B12. 
  • Another study found a correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and high BMI (greater than 25) in adult men and women.

People taking metformin for type 2 diabetes or proton-pump inhibitors for stomach acid issues may also have a harder time absorbing vitamin B12, which may apply to weight loss patients. 

The takeaway: A deficiency in vitamin B12 may decrease your energy levels and contribute to fatigue, making it harder to stay active and manage your weight. Metformin and proton-pump inhibitors, medicines often used by overweight individuals, can make it harder to absorb B12. 

Vitamin B12 may prevent cardiovascular disease

Vitamin B12 is 1 of 3 micronutrients that work together to help reduce homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, researchers have proposed that B12 may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

The takeaway: While some studies have shown that adequate vitamin B12 may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, others have not shown a correlation. The verdict is ultimately still out on this one.

Vitamin B12 supports a healthy nervous system

Vitamin B12 supports a healthy nervous system by producing myelin, a fatty sheath that surrounds and protects your nerves. People who don’t get enough vitamin B12 may suffer from nerve pain, numbness, impaired cognition, and other negative symptoms. Following your weight loss surgery, it’s important to watch out for these symptoms and report them to your doctor immediately.

The takeaway: Vitamin B12 supports a healthy nervous system. If you’re experiencing any numbness, tingling, or pain in your extremities, you may have a B12 deficiency and should consult your doctor.

What foods are high in vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. For vegans and vegetarians, many fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts also contain B12, as do beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and plant-based milks. After weight loss surgery, your doctor will work with you to develop a healthy eating plan for maintaining your new physique, which will include foods rich in B12.

Should I take vitamin B12 supplements?

Most people already get plenty of vitamin B12 from their diet and/or from taking daily multivitamins; however, if you’ve recently undergone weight loss surgery, your body may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12, in which case your doctor may recommend a supplement.

Can I take too much vitamin B12?

Though the FDA hasn’t indicated any risks of overconsuming vitamin B12, if you’re already meeting your recommended dietary amount, increasing your B12 intake may not provide added health benefits. It’s important to note that vitamin B12 can interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications, so be sure to consult with your doctor before starting B12 supplements.

The takeaway: If you’ve recently undergone weight loss surgery or lost a significant amount of weight (50+ pounds), you may benefit from a vitamin B12 supplement. But, be sure to check with your doctor to see if a B12 supplement is right for your health needs.

Shed pounds and live better with Inland Weight Loss

At Inland Weight Loss Surgery in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, we believe that losing weight is often the first step towards a complete personal transformation. Our patients often remark how their confidence and wellbeing have improved after finally shedding unwanted pounds. To learn more about how weight loss surgery can improve your quality of life, contact us online or call (909) 579-3111 today.

Leave a Comment: