It’s very important to get in all your supplements after a weight loss surgery. Why? It’s easier to prevent a deficiency than it is to treat one! The information below is from the Bariatric Advantage website and illustrates more about  the importance of iron in the body. It’s always a good reminder to know why taking these supplements are so important. If you have any questions on your supplements, call today to make an appointment with your dietitian!

About Iron and Iron Deficiency

What does iron do?

Iron is a mineral in your body that is very important for building blood cells, carrying oxygen, enzyme function, detoxification, growth and development.

What happens if my iron is low/if I don’t get enough Iron?

When you do not have enough iron you may notice that you are tired and weak. People may tell you that you look pale or grayish, and the whites of your eyes can become blue-tinted. You may have shortness of breath, feel dizzy or lightheaded (especially when you stand up), have coldness, headache, brittle nails and hair loss. When iron becomes too low your doctor may tell you that you have iron deficiency anemia – this happens because there is not enough iron to make blood cells normally and they become very small and pale.

If iron deficiency continues for a long time you can develop problems with infections, serious heart problems, or problems with pregnancy if you are a woman. If you have a serious injury or require surgery, it is also more dangers if you have iron deficiency.

What are other symptoms?

Some other symptoms may include:

  • Swollen tongue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Difficulty thinking/slow thinking
  • Leg cramps/Restless leg syndrome
  • Ice eating and/or Pica (cravings for non-food items like dirt, starch, paper, etc)

Where can I get iron from?

Iron can come in both foods and dietary supplements. Your dietitian will instruct you on when/what to take for an iron supplement. FYI: Bariatric Advantage has a new Iron chewy bite, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle…very tasty. Get them here). Because your food amount is limited after a surgery, it is important to supplement your intake.

Other important things

If you have iron deficiency, it is important that you follow up with your doctor for lab tests and other recommended care. If you are taking iron, it is also generally recommended that you do not take it at the same time as calcium or multivitamin. It is beneficial to take the iron supplement on an empty stomach and avoid drinking tea or coffee for 2 hours after.