If you recently had weight loss surgery, you’re probably asking yourself that very question. Even if your surgery was some time ago, you might still be asking that question. The vitamins you need depend on what type of surgery you had and other individual factors, but chances are your surgeon or dietician has recommended a whole handful (or more) for you to take every day. If you’re having trouble with the sheer volume of supplements you’ve been told to take, but if you hate the taste, or if they’re making you nauseous, I have some solutions for you.
If I take all these vitamins, I am so stuffed I can’t eat anything!
It can seem that way in the beginning, when your tummy can only hold a tiny amount. See if these ideas help.
- Try liquid vitamins. If you have a lap band or had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, liquids pass through your pouch really fast, so they shouldn’t make you feel full for long.
- Try powdered vitamins that you can mix in a drink, like Upcal D calcium citrate powder (available from Colonial Medical), Bariatric Advantage multivitamin with calcium crystals, or Celebrate Vitamins Essential Nutrient Systems multivitamin with calcium (with or without protein).
- Don’t try to take all your vitamins at one time (we can’t absorb everything all at once, anyway). Instead, take something every hour or two until you get it all in.
- Some vitamins don’t have to be taken every day. Instead, you can take a bigger dose once or twice a week. For instance, instead of taking 5,000 IU vitamin D3 every day, you could take a 50,000 IU capsule of vitamin D3 once a week instead. Talk to your doctor or dietician about which vitamins you can take weekly instead of daily.
Ick! These chewable vitamins taste terrible!
Some people enjoy their chewable vitamins and even think of them as a little treat. If you don’t feel that way, try these solutions.
- Try different flavors and different brands. They don’t all taste the same.
- Consider switching to vitamins you swallow instead of chewables. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery says it’s OK to swallow vitamins as soon as you can tolerate swallowing pills. If your surgeon has recommended chewable vitamins for you, though, talk to him or her before switching.
- Try powdered calcium citrate, like Upcal D or Bariatric Advantage calcium crystals. You can put them in any drink and they have little or no taste.
- If you don’t like the taste of sublingual B12 supplements, talk to your doctor about switching to the prescription nasal spray or injections.
I can get them down… but I can scarcely keep them down!
If your vitamins make you nauseous, you’re not alone. Try these tips to help settle your stomach when taking vitamins.
- Try different brands. If you’ve been taking chewables, think about trying vitamins that you swallow, instead.
- Switch to carbonyl iron, if you’re currently taking ferrous sulfate or one of the other ferrous-types of iron. Carbonyl is less likely to cause an upset stomach or constipation, because it’s all elemental iron.
- If it’s one particular vitamin that makes you nauseous, like your iron, try taking it at bedtime.
- Try taking your vitamins with a little food or milk (but no milk or other dairy products with iron, because calcium interferes with the absorption of iron).
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. http://nutrition.otago.ac.nz/__data/assets/file/0005/4784/BariatricNutritionReading.pdf. Nutritional Guidelines.
Iron Disorders Institute. http://www.irondisorders.org/diet. Achieving Iron Balance with Diet.
University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/iron. Iron.