Zinc Deficiency Symptoms After Weight Loss Surgery
Zinc is an essential mineral in the human body. It is also at frequent risk of deficiency. Over 2 billion people in the world are deficient in Zinc, and even in the United States, as many as 12% of people are at risk for being far too low in this important nutrient.
This problem is exacerbated in those that have undergone bariatric surgery. But zinc deficiency is also easily avoided simply by taking supplements and multivitamins that include zinc in your daily diet.
What Causes Zinc Deficiency?There are many different issues that can lead to Zinc Deficiency in those that have undergone bariatric surgery. These issues include:
- Less Protein – Studies have shown that consumption of protein is directly linked to zinc absorption. Since consumption of protein decreases after bariatric surgery, zinc absorption may decrease as a result.
- Less Zinc – Although there are many healthy foods rich in Zinc, not everyone gets enough Zinc in their diet. Some examples of Zinc rich foods include spinach, beans, beef, and seafood. Often there is a tradeoff as well between protein and Zinc, in that people that eat spinach are less likely to eat enough protein, and vice/versa.
- Less Body Absorption – Weight loss surgery reduces digestion time and digestive fluids. With several types of bariatric surgery, such as duodenal switch and Roux-En- Y Gastric Bypass, a largeportion of the intestines are bypassed, which means less time to absorb these nutrients.
There are other issues that cause low zinc levels as well. For example, gastric sleeve patients are also known to be low in zinc after surgery if they do not take any supplements, even though no portion of the intestines is bypassed. Researchers have theorized that the body is simply unable to compensate for the difference in food intake and weight.
Signs of Zinc DeficiencyThose that take bariatric surgery zinc supplements regularly are unlikely to experience any form of deficiency, as supplementation is often enough to create healthy plasma zinc levels. But those that skip supplements or do not take any form of bariatric surgery multivitamin or supplementation can be at a high risk for zinc deficiency.
There are several very common zinc deficiency signs, and several other symptoms that may affect those that are low in zinc. The most common signs include:
- Gastrointestinal Issues – Diarrhea, stomach discomfort and loss of appetite are all issues that may be related to low zinc levels. These can sometimes be confused with dietary changes in post-bariatric patients.
- Hair Loss – Hair loss is another frequently cited issue with low zinc intake, and usually the first sign that prompts doctors to look at zinc levels in the body. Low zinc levels decrease the strength of hair cells dramatically.
- Cognitive Impairment – Zinc is critical for brain function. Zinc deficiency may cause you to struggle with “mental slowness,” as well as delayed reaction times.
In addition, zinc deficiency has been linked to skin conditions, susceptibility to disease and illness, changes in taste and smell, development of ulcers, and more.
Preventing and Treating Zinc Deficiency with Zinc Supplements in Post Bariatric PatientsZinc is strongly recommended to post-bariatric patients, as the risk of zinc deficiency is very high for patients that are unwilling or unable to take supplementation. But only a small amount of zinc is required to prevent deficiency.
That is why zinc supplements are strongly recommended in post-bariatric patients, and why those that take these supplements regularly are able to continue to live happily and healthily in their post-bariatric body.