Posted - November 13, 2009

Iron Deficiency After Gastric Bypass

Because a portion of the digestive tract that helps with iron absorption is bypassed during weight loss surgery, gastric bypass patients can be susceptible to iron deficiency. Special steps should be taken after surgery to ensure your body is getting adequate iron.

The simplest way to avoid iron deficiency after gastric bypass surgery is to eat plenty of iron rich foods.

Iron Rich Foods:

  • Organ meats (such as liver)
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Shellfish, especially oysters
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Whole-grain products (such as breads and cereals)
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach and broccoli)
  • Dried fruits such as figs, raisins, apricots, and dates

In addition to eating foods that contain iron, all gastric bypass patients should take a daily multivitamin that contains iron and Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Choose a multivitamin with at least 60mg of Vitamin C. If iron levels are abnormally low, increase your daily Vitamin C intake to 500mg to help restore iron levels.

Women are at higher risk for iron deficiency following gastric bypass surgery because of blood loss during menstruation. In addition to a multivitamin containing Vitamin C, menstruating women should also take an iron supplement such as ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate.

All gastric bypass patients should have their hemoglobin and iron levels checked once or twice a year as part of their post surgery follow up, which can be done via a simple bloodtest, so you have no reason to put it off.