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Posted on March 23, 2017 by Deb Hart

Check those Symptoms – Do You Have a Vitamin Deficiency?

Prevent nutrient deficiencies after surgery by meeting protein goals, eating a variety of healthy foods, taking vitamin and mineral supplements and having labs monitored every 3 months for the first year after surgery and then annually. Contact your nutritionist or surgeon with questions.

NutrientFunction in AdultsDeficiencySource
Vitamin ANecessary for normal vision, reproduction, is an antioxidantNight blindness, dry eyes, dry skin, dry hair, itching (pruritus), sterility, increased infections, gastroenteritisLiver, fatty fish, carrots, alfalfa, tomatoes, apricots, multi vitamin
Thiamine (Vitamin B-1)Needed to convert blood sugar into glucose and to breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and fatsHeadache, nausea, fatigue, irritability, depression, abdominal discomfort, mental confusion, anorexia, muscle weakness, swelling, rapid heart rate, Beriberi: swelling, tingling, or burning sensation in the hands and feet, confusion, trouble breathing, uncontrolled eye movements


Whole grains, organ meat, yeast, multi vitamin (missing from gummy vitamins)
Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)Needed for the production of energyDry or inflamed throat, dermatitis, anemia, fatigue, digestive problems, cracks and sores around the corners of the mouth, swollen magenta-colored tongue, eye fatigue, sensitivity to lightMeats, eggs, dairy, vegetables, multi vitamin (missing from gummy vitamins)
Niacin (Vitamin B-3)Needed for metabolismDermatitis, diarrhea, dementia (pellagra)Meat, liver, yeast, multi vitamin
Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid)Functions in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteinsDeficiency is not common: fatigue,




stomach pains,


burning feet,

upper respiratory infections


Found in a wide variety of foods, multi vitamin
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)Needed for metabolismChanges in mood, such as irritability, anxiety and depression; confusion; muscle pains; low energy; worsening symptoms of anemiaSeeds, grains, milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, liver, multi vitamin
Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9)Necessary for normal cell divisionAnemia (megaloblastic) Poor growth, tongue inflammation, gingivitis, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhea, irritability,forgetfulness.


Meat, liver, eggs, leafy vegetables, multi vitamin
BiotinNeeded in the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydratesHair loss (alopecia), a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area, cracking in the corners of the mouth (cheilitis), swollen and painful magenta colored tongue (glossitis), dry eyes, fatigue, insomnia, depressionBacteria in the intestines produce biotin, eggs, meat, nuts, milk, grains, multi vitamin
Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin)Needed for DNA synthesis, protein metabolism, proper nerve functionAnemia (pernicious): weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, pale skin; a smooth tongue, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nerve problems: numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking;

vision loss, mental problems: depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes


Animal sources like meat, milk, eggs After weight loss surgery vitamin B-12 isn’t absorbed well in the digestive system and sublingual (under the tongue) supplements or injections may be needed
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)Needed for wound healing, improves immune functionTiredness, weakness, muscle and joint pains, easy bruising, spots that look like tiny, red-blue bruises on your skin, dry skin, splitting hair, swelling and discoloration of your gums, sudden and unexpected bleeding from your gums, nosebleeds, poor healing of wounds, problems fighting infections, joint pains, changes in your bones, tooth loss


Found in citrus fruits, berries, melon, tomatoes, green peppers and cabbage
Vitamin DMaintains healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body.Rickets (a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities), osteoporosis,  increased risk of death: from heart disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, and cancer


Fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin EImportant antioxidant, essential for fat metabolism, reproductionLipid metabolism disorders, anemia (hemolytic), infertility, increased risk of heart disease or cancer, muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, abnormal eye movements, vision problems, unsteady walking, long-term deficiency may also cause liver and kidney problems


Vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables
Vitamin KKey role in blood clotting and bone healthDeficiencies are rare but could result in excessive bleeding or osteoporosisProduced by bacteria in the gut, beef liver, green tea, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, and dark green lettuce

Download Healthful Tips: Check those Symptoms–Do you have a Vitamin Deficiency? 



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Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.

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