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Everything you need to know about B-vitamins

B-Vitamins after weight loss surgery

B vitamins are important to get energy from your body cells and from your food. That is a very basic bodily function, because all processes in our body require energy.
That is why there are high levels of B vitamins in for example the WLS Original vitamins.
Vitamin B12 for the nerve system, immune system, against heart disease and more
Vitamin B12 is essential for all kinds of systems in the body, for example to have a healthy nerve system, immune system, heart- & vessel system end for a healthy digestive system.
When vitamin B12 is not absorbed well in the body, or if you don’t get enough B12 through nutrition, these systems will work less efficiently. This can lead to all kinds of ailments and complaints.

Special B12

Vitamin B12 is a special B vitamin.
All the other B vitamins are not stored in your body, you just have to get them in with nutrition every day. Vitamin B12 however does have a storage in our bodies.

Storage of vitamin B12

This storage can be sufficient for 3 to sometimes even up to 10 years. When this storage is depleted, the levels of B12 in your blood will decrease and you will become deficient.
A vitamin B12 deficiency does not develop in a few weeks or months, and it also takes a long time to be resolved. That is why it is important to keep your B12 levels up and to not let them tank too much.

Vitamin B12 for vegans

We are depending on food to get in our vitamin B12. You can only get it from meat, fish, eggs and diary. People who do no teat any animal products, therefor run a higher risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Especially vegan and vegetarian people run into this problem frequently. It is possible to get extra B12 in with a food supplement.

Vitamin B12 after bariatric surgery

There are different forms of vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin, Methyl cobalamin and Adenosyl cobalamin. For optimal absorption the last two forms are often used in food supplements.

After weight loss surgery, a deficiency mostly develops after quite some time, because you have a small storage of this vitamin, or because it is hard to measure your real values if you take a daily supplement. To determine your real values, you should stop taking your supplements two weeks prior to your blood labs test, but we do not recommend that. Because of the missing intrinsic factor, there is hardly any absorption through the stomach, but there is through the mouth.

Symptoms and ailments with B12 deficiency

Because a deficiency builds up over a longer time period, the symptoms are not always noticed right away. When clear symptoms arise, the B12 level is usually already pretty low. Most common symptoms of B12 deficiency are fatigue, neurological complaints, memory issues and mental health issues.

B12 deficiency after gastric bypass or sleeve surgery

After weight loss surgery, there is a protein missing in the stomach that is needed to absorb B12, it is called intrinsic factor. This means that Vitamin B12 will be poorly absorbed when taken through the stomach (pills or food). This is why a B12 deficiency is very common after surgery, often after a few years.
The most effective ways to get extra B12 after your surgery, are through injections or sublingual tablets. Vitamin B12 is then absorbed through the oral mucus.

Injections or sublingual?

The advantage of a B12 injection, is that you only have to get one every so many weeks. A sublingual tablet you will have to have every day. The frequency of taking it, can therefore be a factor in your choice.

The advantage of a sublingual tablet can be, that your B12 levels remain more or less the same, as does your energy level. With an injection you often get a boost, whereafter the energy level will slowly decrease over time until you need a new injection. This is for many people a reason to take a daily sublingual; to avoid the rollercoaster of energy level that comes with injections.

Other B-Vitamins

Vitamin B1 Thiamine
This vitamin is important for our nerve system, heart, memory and plays a role in our concentration. It is also important for our energy system in the body.
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Riboflavin is important for a healthy skin. It also keeps up your iron levels in your blood.
Vitamin B3 Niacin
Niacin is important to free up energy from our food.
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B5 also plays a role in the freeing up from energy. It is also important for the building and breaking down of fats and proteins.
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxin
Vitamin B6 is very important for the immune system and for our digestive system.
Some patients experience a too high level of B6 in the blood after weight loss surgery. Vitamin B6 is one of the few vitamins that can be harmful if you store too much of it in your blood. This can lead to neurological problems like the feeling of walking on clouds, numb or prickly fingers and toes.
The best form after gastric surgery is Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate (P5P), this is the active form of B6, which does not store excessively. This form can be taken safely.
Vitamin B8 Biotin
Biotin is an often used ingredient in products which support strong hair, skin and nails. This vitamin also supports freeing up energy from food intake.
In the USA, this vitamin is called B7.
Vitamin B11 Folic acid
Folic acid is important for the growth of new cells and to keep the existing cells strong and healthy. This is why this vitamin is often prescribed to pregnant women. Vitamin B11 also supports a healthy nerve system and immune system. Too much folic acid in the blood, means that B12 deficiency will be harder to detect. This is how they work together.
Fact: Did you know that this vitamin is called vitamin B9 in the USA?
Vitamin B12 Cobalamin
Vitamin B12 is important to produce red blood cells and to maintain a healthy nerve system.

Why are there no vitamins B4, B7, B9 and B10?

These vitamins did exist originally, but further research showed that these substances did not match the criteria to be a vitamin. So they were scratched from the B vitamin list.