Background

Post-operative bariatric surgery micronutrient supplementation regimens can be cumbersome, inconvenient, and unpalatable, which presents potential barriers to adherence. While there are many studies evaluating the effects of micronutrient deficiencies there are very few studies evaluating post-operative supplement usage patterns. The purpose of this investigation is to describe micronutrient supplementation use amongst bariatric surgical patients.

Methods

Post-operative bariatric surgery patients living in the USA were invited to participate in an anonymous survey describing vitamin use patterns. The survey was posted in online social media bariatric support groups

Results

Amongst the 480 respondents included in this study 452 (94.2%) were female and the median (interquartile range) age was 49 (41-56). Four hundred thirty four (90.4%) patients said that they take their multivitamin and/or calcium/vitamin D supplements. Of these, 429 (98.8%) take multivitamins; 313 (73.0%) reported taking them daily and 73 (17.0%) reported taking them 4-6 days a week. However, adherence with calcium/vitamin D supplementation was lower with 356 (82.0%) respondents taking them. Of these, 242 (68.0%) reported daily use and 65 (18.3%) reported use 4-6 days per week. Most patients describe taking more than two supplements each day (figure 1). Each month, 135 patients spend less than $20, 283 (59.0%) spend between $20-50 and 62 (12.9%) spend more than $50 to buy their vitamin supplements.

Conclusions

Micronutrient supplementation is important for post-operative bariatric surgical care. It is important to understand the current usage patterns to identify barriers to adherence and improve patient care.