Gastric Bypass causes Malabsorption and Nutrient deficiencies

Gastric Bypass Surgery:
Post-Operative Care with IV Nutrient Therapy and Injection Nutrient Therapy
By Dr. Susan Williamson NMD

With the rise of obesity in the U.S., more patients are turning to gastric bypass surgery to produce fast and dramatic weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, gastric bypass surgery is the most popular weight loss surgery in the United States. With gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is made smaller by reducing it to a thumb-sized pouch (15-30 mL or 1-2 tablespoons in volume), which considerably restricts the amount of food that can be eaten, as well as provide less surface area for the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food. In addition to this, the amount of hydrochloric acid (needed to absorb calcium and iron) and intrinsic factor (needed to absorb vitamin B12) produced by the stomach is greatly reduced due to its size, which also contributes to nutrient deficiencies. In addition to this, the duodenum, a major area of nutrient absorption within the intestinal tract may be bypassed depending on the type of procedure performed, further contributing to nutrient deficiencies.

Common symptoms of nutritional deficiencies are:
o fatigue and weakness
o hair loss and/or dry brittle hair
o thin and brittle fingernails
o difficulty thinking/concentrating
o thinning of the skin/dry skin
o softening/weakening of the bones (osteopenia/osteoporosis)
o bone pain and bone deformities
o muscle spasms
o tooth discoloration and increased susceptibility to tooth decay
o bleeding gums
o increased tendency to bruise and bleed
o anemia
o sleep disturbances
o neurological problems
o pins and needles sensations in the body
o permanent nerve damage
o diarrhea
o skin disorders
o sore or swollen tongue
o cracks at the edges of the mouth
o swelling, usually in the legs
o dehydration
o decreased immune system strength, making an individual more prone to infections

Some nutrient deficiencies, if allowed to progress, can result in serious life threatening complications, so it is very important for gastric bypass patients to continue supplementing with nutrients and the best way to do this is via intravenous administration where the digestive tract is not a factor in the absorption of nutrients. With IV nutrient therapy, high doses of vitamins and minerals (much higher than what can be taken orally) can be delivered straight to the bloodstream where they are readily available to the cells for absorption and use by the body. People who have had gastric bypass surgery may also benefit from having specialty testing done at W clinic of Integrative Medicine to detect their specific nutrient deficiencies so that their particular nutrient deficiencies can be detected and therefore appropriately treated.

Common deficiencies of the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) are common and these can be supplemented via intramuscular injection. Patients are at risk for developing anemia secondary to deficiencies of iron, Vitamin B12, and folate, all of which can be replenished easily via injection or IV. Calcium is a common nutrient deficiency as well due to the decreased stomach acid production in the reduced sized stomach. It is unknown whether gastric bypass patients can absorb the micronutrients selenium, zinc, and chromium, however these are included in the nutritional IVs as well as vitamin C, B12, B complex, B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, and electrolytes. Another benefit of the nutrient IVs is treatment of dehydration, which is another common symptom many suffer after gastric bypass surgery.

Patients who have nutrient deficiencies usually notice an immediate effect of feeling better immediately after receiving a nutrient IV. If you or someone you know has had gastric bypass surgery then please contact W clinic today so that we may assist you in replenishing your body’s nutrients and help prevent serious complications from developing and progressing. Taking oral vitamins and minerals will help some with nutrient deficiencies, however the severe deficiency that normally results after gastric bypass surgery is best treated with intravenous nutrients where gut absorption is not a factor and 100% of the nutrients is absorbed and available to the body.


  1. Janice Mason says:

    I am searching for answers to questions regarding my sister. My sister underwent bypass surgery several years ago and over the past year and a half has developed bipolar symptoms. She is 67 years old and she never had any mental issues in the past. Her endcronologist believes it’s from malabsorption. She has gone through all the tests and is being treated for the malabsorption with vitamin and diet therapy, she continues to lose more weight and has had at least 5 hospitalizations for psychotic episodes. She is being treated for the bipolar illness at the same time. The doctors are now going to reverse her bypass to correct the physical issues, I am concerned her mental state will not improve and she may remain in her current state. Has anyone in your organization ever seen this happen to any other patients? Any suggestions or comments? Thank you in advance for any information you may have.

    • Dr.Williamson says:


      Sorry it took so long for a response. I just noticed this message. Patients who have undergone gastric bypass most often have malabsorption issues. Nutrient IV therapy can help with the symptoms as a nutritional IV does not go through the stomach but directly into the veins. Vitamins and amino acids can be infused intravenously. It is possible to develop psychiatric conditions from malabsorption as your brain chemicals/neurotransmitters are built from amino acids and require vitamin cofactors to produce and activate them. She should consider starting nutritional IVs to help her get well again. Hope this information helps. Kind Regards, Susan Weirick NMD P.S. I have treated many gastric bypass patients with nutritional IV therapy.

  2. vittoria guerrera says:

    I had gastric bypass 10 years ago and since then I have suffered severe anemia, requiring me to get ferritin infusion every 3-4 months because of the severity of my condition. Recently it was discovered that my bone marrow is releasing tear drop red cells, met with hematologist and he informs me that this is all due to my sever anemia from gastric bypass. I want to correct this absorption problem……not just treat the symptoms. Any suggestions?

    • Dr.Williamson says:

      We legally cannot make treatment recommendations without first seeing a patient in office and establishing doctor- patient relationship (as well as obtaining your consent to treat and a full health history and physical exam/labs).

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