I’ve been feeling a tired and slow lately. Just don’t have my usual get-up and go. Naturally, I blame the gastric bypass – it gets the blame whenever I don’t feel well. After careful assessment I realized I have forgotten to take my vitamin for almost three weeks now. I am probably iron deficient – a risk all gastric bypass patients face.
We’ve all heard of anemia – a dangerous iron deficiency disease. In fact, iron-deficiency anemia is second only to obesity as a nation-wide health problem in the United States. Nine out of ten women in this country do not get their RDI of 18 milligrams of iron a day. That means their heart, brain and all other tissues are not receiving enough oxygen – iron is the chemical element in the red blood cell hemoglobin that delivers oxygen throughout the body.
If a person is short on iron they suffer a loss of energy, low-level fatigue – the blahs!
Brain activity, breathing, cellular respiration and every activity of the body depend on iron in the blood. Rosy cheeks and a glowing complexion indicate iron needs are met. Energy levels are up and an overall sense of wellness pervades.
Gastric bypass patients are at risk of iron deficiency because iron found in meat, poultry and fish is normally absorbed by the duodenum and small intestines. The nature of the bypassed system prevents adequate iron from foods from being absorbed. In addition, patients cannot physically eat enough food to meet the Daily Reference Intake (DRI).
To avoid iron deficiency and the resulting loss of energy patients must take an iron supplement daily.
Iron supplements: ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate or ferrous sulfate are recommended for all weight loss surgery patients. The body more readily absorbs iron when it is taken with vitamin C or a glass of orange juice. Your bariatric center may recommend a specific iron supplement for you. I take Puritan’s Pride® Easy Iron; a capsule that contains 28 milligrams of iron glycinate, a gentle form of iron that is highly absorbable and well tolerated. It also contains Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12 to further aid iron absorption by the body. I take it by itself between meals with water. Iron can interfere with zinc and calcium so I do not take my other supplements at the same time.
Iron is a key element in the body’s energy-producing system. As you lose weight and become more active you will thrive with bounding energy. Be sure to maintain it by supplying your body with the iron it needs. In your annual blood test your serum ferritin level will measure your iron level and the nutritionist at your bariatric center will make the appropriate recommendations for supplementation.
It should be noted that iron RDI’s are different for men and pre-menopausal women. Men over 19 years old should intake 8 milligrams of iron a day, preferably from food sources; women aged 19 to 51 should intake 18 milligrams, supplementation is suggested. After menopause women need intake only 8 milligrams to meet iron needs.
Always assess your nutritional intake if you lack energy. There’s probably something you are missing, that once you get it back in your system you’ll be feeling prime and proper in no time! If you don’t know what vitamins & minerals you should be taking see your bariatric center.