Dietary and weight-loss supplementsYou might have seen a recent article, featuring the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), about putting more eyes on supplements and the supplement industry to ensure the safety of consumers.

The OAC is part of a group called the Dietary Supplement Quality Collaborative (DSQC), which pushes for quality and transparency in the dietary supplement industry. Another members of DSQC include pharmaceutical and medical groups, like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and The Obesity Society (TOS).

In response to the article, we think it’s important to emphasize why such a group needs to exist. For the OAC, being a part of this effort is critical because many of our members, and the people we represent, require supplements. This is especially true for those who have had bariatric surgery.

Navigating the Supplement World

by Sarah Muntel, RD

The supplement world can be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to bariatric surgery and weight-loss supplements. Every magazine, internet ad and social media post has a new product, vitamin option or “miracle” weight-loss pill.

That’s why it’s important for you to know this:

  • Which supplements can potentially work for you
  • What is safe
  • What to avoid

Supplements and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric vitamin supplements are crucial for someone who has had bariatric surgery. Supplements help them stay nutritionally sound and are needed for overall wellness. Surgery changes the amount of food you will eat and the way food is absorbed. Because of these changes, additional vitamin supplements are needed.

A bariatric patient’s needs increase greatly after surgery, and a regular multivitamin won’t meet those needs. Some of the nutrients that are needed in higher amounts include iron, vitamin, calcium and vitamin D.

These are some of the minimum requirements a bariatric patient must meet:

  • A multiple vitamin with double the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
  • 1500 mg of calcium
  • 350 mcg of B12
  • 3000 IU of vitamin D
  • 45-60 mg of Iron

Meeting these recommendations is nearly impossible without a bariatric vitamin. Take a look at or for some great options. Meet with a bariatric professional to address your specific needs. There are many nutritional deficiencies that can be prevented by supplementing your diet with the appropriate vitamins.

In addition to vitamins, many look for over-the-counter (OTC) options to assist with weight-loss. Some can be effective, but you have to be careful with what you choose. The FDA has identified a number of OTC options which could contain some harmful, hidden and active ingredients. People can unknowingly take these products without knowing what they are taking.

Ensuring Your Health and Safety

What is the answer? Connect with a physician who can provide you with a comprehensive approach to weight-loss. This may include a prescription, but it will certainly be a product you can trust that is also regulated. Working with a physician will also ensure that you have a sound team behind you in your success. Nutrition, fitness and behavior change are all tools that work alongside any treatment.

With the variety of supplement and medication options used to treat obesity, it’s important to get the support you need. Connect with a healthcare professional to guide you. Seek the support of others along the way. A network of people to support you in your journey is invaluable.

Sarah Muntel, RDAbout the Author:
Sarah Muntel, RD, is a Registered Dietitian from Indianapolis, IN. She has worked in the field of bariatrics for the past 18 years, working with both bariatric and metabolic surgery patients as well as medical weight loss patients. Throughout her career, she has worked in several bariatric centers in Indianapolis and is currently the Bariatric Coordinator with Community Health Network. Sarah is an active member of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), and frequently contributes to OAC’s Weight Matters Magazine and Your Weight Matters Blog. She also plays an active role in the Indiana State Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).