Gastric Bypass Patients Must Take Their Vitamins

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Although it rarely occurs, those who undergo gastric bypass surgery could develop a brain condition called Wernicke encephalopathy, due to a B vitamin deficiency.

“Absorption of vitamins is decreased after most gastric bypass surgeries, so supplements are prescribed to make sure they get enough,” researcher Dr. Sonal Singh, internal medicine instructor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, told the press. However, some patients do not take the supplements as prescribed, and their risk for Wernicke encephalopathy increases.

This syndrome can include vomiting, coordination problems, confusion and eye problems. The condition is permanent, but it is uncommon, and more importantly, preventable. The 170,000 Americans who undergo gastric bypass surgery must be diligent about taking vitamin B1 and thiamine as it is prescribed to them.

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