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Multivitamin Comparison

If you are confused about what type of multivitamin to get started on after bariatric surgery, you are not alone! There are many types to chose from: regular pill form, chewables, gummies, drinkables, and the patch.

How do you decide what is the best? It can be tempting to chose the easiest one to swallow or least expensive option, but the question to ask yourself is are you getting the same quality as some of the more expensive labeled “bariatric” vitamins? At Mexico Bariatric Center, we absolutely stress the importance of taking chewable or drinkable bariatric multivitamins.  Lets use this graph to help explain why:


Emerge Bariatric Chewable Vitamins

Emerge Drinkable Multi-vitamin

Centrum Adult Multivitamin

Centrum Adult Multi-Gummies

Serving Size

2 tablets

1 scoop

1 tablet (pill)

2 gummies

Serving per container

30 servings

60 servings

200 servings

35 servings

Price per container

$27

$34.95

$14

$10

Equivalent Price

?*

?

?*

?*

Sugar

-----

-----

-----

2 g

Vitamin A

10,000 IU

5,000 IU

3,500 IU

2,000 IU

Vitamin C

180 mg

90 mg

60 mg

30 mg

Vitamin D3

3,000 IU

2,000 IU

400 IU

1,000 IU

Vitamin E

60 IU

30 IU

30 IU

40 IU

Vitamin B6

12 mg

6 mg

2 mg

1.6 mg

Folic Acid

800 mcg

400 mg

400 mcg

160 mcg

Vitamin B12

500 mcg

250 mcg

6 mcg

10 mcg

Biotin

600 mcg

300 mcg

30 mcg

75 mcg

Pantothenic Acid

20 mg

10 mg

10 mg

6 mg

Iodine

150 mcg

75 mcg

150 mcg

80 mcg

Zinc

30 mg

15 mg

11 mg

5 mg

Calcium Citrate

     -----

500 mg

-----

-----

* Price calculate assuming that Calcium Citrate is added

Emerge Bariatric Chewables (column 1): As you can see these have the highest level of vitamins compared to the others.  Two tablets a day will provide everything you need except calcium citrate.  The cost is $27 for a one month supply.  These will be easy for your body to absorb after surgery.   

Emerge Bariatric Drinkable Multi-vitamins (column 2): A serving size listed is for one scoop, but you will need to take two scoops to get the same amount of vitamins as the chewables. This is a one month supply having two scoops a day, at $34.95.  This will provide the same level as vitamins as the chewables, with the added calcium citrate which is needed after bariatric surgery.  So even though this is the most expensive listed price, you are saving yourself the cost of purchasing calcium citrate separately.  Drinkable vitamins are also very easy for your body to absorb and are less likely to cause nausea.

Centrum Adult Multivitamin Pill (column 3): Pills are not recommended to take for a minimum of 3 months after bariatric surgery as they may not be absorbed as well depending on the type of procedure.  This is especially true of gastric bypass and duodenal switch, as these surgeries tend to cause absorptive issues with many medications. As you can see in the chart, the listed serving is one pill but you would need to take 3 pills (or 3 servings)  to get the needed amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc.  You would have to take 7.5 pills to get the required amount of vitamin D, and it doesn’t even come close to the same amount of Biotin or Vitamin B12.  You would have to take this multivitamin plus several other individual vitamins to get everything you need.  At $14 bottle this may seem like the most cost-efficient choice, but you would need to take a minimum of 3 of these to fill SOME of the vitamin requirements, then purchase other vitamins separately.  In the end you are not saving any money unless you are depriving your body of what it needs after this procedure.


Centrum Adult Multivitamin Gummies (column 4): These may seem enticing because they appear to be inexpensive and usually gummies taste good, but these are the worst option of all!  You would need to take a minimum of 5 SERVINGS of gummies a day, which is 10 gummies total,  to get the required amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic Acid,and zinc.  You would have to take additional B12, Biotin, and Calcium Citrate.  If you take 5 servings of these, one bottle will last you a week and that $10/month vitamin just turned into a $40/month vitamin, plus the cost of additional vitamins.  IN ADDITION, 5 servings of these gummies will add 10 grams of sugar to your daily diet.  It is recommended to keep sugar grams under 25g a day, so these vitamins will take almost half of your daily allowance of sugar.  

Multivitamin Patch: I did not add the patch to the chart for one reason: there is not sufficient research to know for sure if these are really being absorbed by your body or not.  The patch claims to have high levels of vitamins and averages around $20 for a one month supply. It may sound appealing  to avoid having to swallow anything after surgery, especially at a time when you may be experiencing nausea or indigestion.  However, at this critical time for getting sufficient vitamins and minerals to prevent  hair loss and major health issues caused by deficiencies, it is not worth taking a chance on a product  without sufficient research to back up its effectiveness.  There is too much at risk to take such a gamble on your health.  

CONCLUSION:  Bariatric specific vitamins are formulated and made with all the required ingredients necessary for patients after the procedure. Even though it is possible to acquire the needed components from regular vitamins or even gummies, it is very likely that you will have to take more in quantity and it will end up costing more money overall. You will also end up with extra elements like sugar that your body does not need, and may even derail your weight loss efforts.

The importance of choosing good quality vitamins is often overlooked, but this is one of the top decisions you will make to set the stage long-term for a healthy weight loss and recovery after surgery. Deficiencies may take months to develop and a deficiency may not be caught until it’s been without the nutrient for a long period of time. Over time you may experience symptoms such as depression, fatigue, constipation, and unusual food cravings that most people adapt to and cause the condition to go undiagnosed. This is just an example of some of the symptoms of deficiency that can prevent you from being successful after your procedure.

All in all, we at Mexico Bariatric Center want to remind you that vitamins are not a decision to be taken lightly and we encourage you to make an informed decision because you will need to take vitamins for the rest of your life, and although it costs money it is a very important investment in your long term health.