Originally published April 19 2007
Had weight loss surgery? Take your vitamins to prevent dangerous nutritional deficiencies
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
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).
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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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