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Weight loss surgery

Had weight loss surgery? Take your vitamins to prevent dangerous nutritional deficiencies

Thursday, April 19, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: weight loss surgery, surgical procedures, nutrition

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A rare but serious complication arising from weight loss surgery can be easily prevented by taking vitamin supplements after the operation, according to a study published in the journal "Neurology." The brain condition, known as a Wernicke encephalopathy, is caused by a deficiency of thiamine (also known as vitamin B-1).

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• Wernicke encephalopathy is a potentially permanent disorder with symptoms including vomiting, confusion, lack of coordination, and visual changes such as rapid, involuntary eye movement.

• Weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass, can cause a decrease in vitamin absorption. For this reason, most surgeons prescribe vitamin supplements to post-operative patients -- but many patients do not take them.

• Researchers examined 32 cases of Wernicke encephalopathy in weight loss surgery patients. The most common surgery was a type of gastric bypass.

• Most cases of Wernicke encephalopathy occurred in women under the age of 55, four to 12 weeks after surgery. Post-surgery vomiting increased the risk of developing the disorder.

• Only 13 of the 32 patients made full recoveries with treatment.

• Quote: "After the surgery, make sure you take your vitamin supplements, including the thiamine, and if you have vomiting or other symptoms, seek help immediately." - Dr. Sonal Singh, study author

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, author of The 7 Laws of Nutrition

• Gastric bypass surgery is a barbaric, dangerous and ineffective treatment for obesity. It ultimately does nothing to address the root cause of obesity, and it leaves patients maimed for life while suffering from severe nutritional deficiencies.

• Most obese patients suffer critical nutritional deficiencies even before undergoing weight loss surgery. They consume excess calories, but not nearly enough nutritionally-dense foods. The surgery, then, only worsens the deficiencies and leaves many patients suffering from a state of severe starvation that society often mistakes as weight loss.

• Starving a person to death is not a healthy weight loss strategy. The human body does not have "too much stomach tissue" that needs to be surgically removed. The idea that a nutritional and behavioral challenge can be fixed by removing vital organs from the body is absurd and has no scientific basis whatsoever.

Bottom line

• People should be sure to take vitamin supplements after undergoing weight loss surgery in order to prevent a serious brain disorder caused by nutritional deficiencies.
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