If you’re contemplating gastric-bypass surgery – or you’ve already had it – you’d be wise to bone up on your nutritional supplements.

A recent review of the literature on bariatric surgery found that of all the surgical procedures used to reduce weight, gastric bypass resulted in the most serious post-surgical nutritional deficiencies. The micronutrients most commonly found to be deficient were: vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, thiamine (vitamin B1), folic acid, iron, zinc, and magnesium. The authors of the review concluded that nutritional supplementation is absolutely necessary for every gastric-bypass patient.

Gastric bypass is the most popular weight-loss surgery in America. But it is a double-edged sword. While it can reduce some of the risks associated with obesity, it also presents a whole new set of health challenges. And it is hardly without side effects or complications, including blood clots, leaking, hernia, and a fairly high rate of death (1 per 200-300 surgeries). It’s not a decision that should be made lightly.

Since you’d have to eat very differently after the surgery, why not try eating that way before you make the commitment to go under the knife? Reduce calories, trim your nutritional budget of all “non-essentials” (like processed carbs, sugar, soda, and junk foods), and fill your plate with protein and vegetables. You might be surprised at the results!

And if you do have the surgery – or you’ve already had it – make sure you’re supplementing with vitamins and omega-3 fats… and that every calorie you consume gives you the most nutritional bang for the buck.

[Ed. Note: Natural methods – including eating more fruits and veggies and supplementing with vitamins – can have a powerful effect on your health… and your weight. For more natural ways to feel better and live longer, check out nutrition expert Jonny Bowden’s book The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth.]

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