Despite the fact there are greater quantities of food being consumed that ever before, there are still millions suffering from deficiencies in multiple vitamins and nutrients. Diets that are high in carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats are also missing key minerals, fatty acids and vitamins, which is turn is having a detrimental effects on the world’s health with obesity at critical levels and heart disease also on the rise.
There are certain vitamins and minerals that are way ahead when you list what people are most deficient in, some make perfect sense some are greatly overlooked when it comes to their importance so are basically ignored. The following are a list of the most common vitamins and minerals that people are deficient in, and how to address the problem.
It is estimated that around half the population is Vitamin B deficient, and whilst folic acid is probably the best known of all the B vitamins, B6 and B12 are just as important and both carry an extremely high deficiency rate.
Women of child bearing age should boost their intake of folic acid before they get pregnant, not just after, and this is easily achievable by drinking a glass of fresh orange juice every day as well as eating leafy greens. Supplements are also readily available if you do not want to drink or eat these. Older people in particular tend to have B12 deficiencies, as many medications reduce the absorption of this vitamin so a supplement is recommended.
We hear a lot about calcium deficiencies in the elderly and also post menopausal women and whilst there is no doubt that deficiency’s do exist in these segments of the population, we hear little about how important it is to maintain a steady input as a child or as a teenager. Basically, teenagers build up their ‘bone retirement fund’ during this period of their life, and as our bone mass is completed by the age of 21, what is lacking at this stage can be hard to rectify in the future.
It is expected that, unless the problem is addressed, the rate of osteoporosis occurring amongst today’s young by the time they hit their 50′s will have sky rocketed. How much you need to boost your intake by depends on lifestyle, and those youngsters who take regular exercise, eat little salt and limits their coffee intake need less of a boost than those who eat high fat diets, do little exercise and drink lots of fizzy pop. Supplements are widely advised for both children and teenagers to prevent problems occurring years down the line.
Magnesium is one of the minerals that is often overlooked in terms of importance and deficiencies are more common than many realise. The major problem here is that those who are over zealous with their calcium consumption are actually blocking their body from absorbing enough magnesium.
As far as bone health is concerned, Magnesium is as important as calcium, and it doesn’t help either that’s its main source is beans, green leafy veg and whole grains, which are largely missing from the fast and processed food diets most of us live on. It is advised that anyone who takes a calcium supplement should also take a magnesium one, on a ratio of 2-1, and the better quality multi vitamins should include this so check the packaging before you buy.
Before my surgery I attended enough appointments and did enough research and reading of personal accounts to know that a focus on protein would be a daily thing for the rest of my life. But it wasn’t until after I had surgery, when I knew firsthand just how small my stomach pouch was and how little it could handle at a time, that I knew for absolute certainty that protein powder would be the key to meeting my daily protein needs without having to graze all day long, or risk overeating which at best causes discomfort and/or vomiting, and at worst can lead to stretching out the pouch. And while 60g (my bariatric surgeon’s recommended minimum) to 80g (my personal optimal goal) doesn’t sound like a whole lot when you think about normal portion sizes for dairy products and meat, for me, it’s a lot.
So, protein powder it is. Protein powder, whey isolate protein powderr in particular, is the best form of protein for bariatric patients because a little amount packs a lot of protein (one protein powder in particular that I have has an impressive 15g of protein in just 4 tbsp!), and whey protein is the best for absorption. Protein builds, repairs, and maintains muscle. Muscle tissue is present in all parts of our body, and keeping it in tip-top shape is essential for overall health – and even energy. Additionally, without a sufficient amount of protein, the body will take from other muscle areas in order to give the lacking muscle areas what they need. Additionally, insufficient protein levels can lead to hair loss and fatigue. These are things that you do not want!
Moral of the story? Take your protein. Here’s a post I wrote on how I get my protein: A quick & easy list of protein sources
Someone really needs to make a bariatric-specific pill box. And by that I mean a larger 7-day, 4-times-per-day pill box with individual pill holders that are bigger than 1″ x 1″ x 1″. What I’m using now (Ezy-Dose Ezy Dose Push Button 7-Day Medtime Planner – four of them, so I only have to do up all of my vitamins about once per month) meets that measurements, and while it works great for standard vitamins, the larger chews and tablets from Bariatric Advantage, Bariatic Fusion, and Celebrate barely fit. Currently I have pill boxes with only the PM/bedtime slots closing. The rest are left open because my bariatric vitamins are just too big for the containers.
You don’t want to see me naked. Trust me. From the outside perspective, the clothed me at 156 lbs. and 5’6” isn’t bad. But take off the clothes and the Spanx I sometimes wear…and…ick. As my mother put it a couple of years ago, I look like I’m melting. I have bingo flaps (loose skin hanging from my upper arms), loose skin around my upper thighs (lower bingo flaps?), and loose skin around my stomach. If I had to guess, I’d say that I have a good 10 lbs worth of loose skin on my body…which explains why I’ve had to work so hard to get from the high 160s to the mid-150s. After all, I was already at a healthy weight; my body’s metabolism wasn’t taking into account the extra skin I’ve been lugging around when deciding whether or not to let loose of another couple of pounds.
While loose skin is a cosmetic thing for some of us — myself included — there are real issues to deal with. I’ve been fortunate to not deal with rashes, chafing, or fungal infections as a result of loose skin, but I’ve heard plenty of stories and have seen plenty of pictures. For me, loose skin is just cosmetic. But it does cause my self-esteem to plummet at times. Also, I’ve had some minor issues with the loose skin getting…caught. Did you know that it’s possible to lay on your own excess arm skin and pinch it painfully? Did you know that loose thigh skin could get trapped between the toilet seat and the toilet when you shifted oddly? Why isn’t there a bra to deal with loose boob skin “overage” around the underarm area? Is there a name for slightly loose skin that is on the backs of lower legs? How many other women have to lift up loose abdominal skin in order to shave the girly bits?
At 331 lbs I looked better with my clothes on. And at 156 lbs I still look better with clothes on. And as much as I try not to let that affect me, and focus instead of being at a healthy weight and living a healthier lifestyle, sometimes it does.
I will be the first to admit that for the first couple of months after surgery, I was somewhat hit or miss with taking my vitamins. Then, until I was about a year and a half post-op, I used chewable multi-vitamins. Finally I wisened up and switched to actual vitamins, and did my best to purchase all the vitamins I would need to take every day – multi, vitamins b-6, b-12, c, and d, plus calcium and iron. But it was expensive and inefficient to purchase so many different types of vitamins. It was also a pain to sit down and organize them all in pill boxes, and then make sure I never left home without a pill box so I wouldn’t miss a dose. So I began researching bariatric vitamins, in the hopes of finding a solution.
What did I find? I found Vita4Life!, a company that specializes in making bariatric-exclusive vitamins and mineral supplements. What’s so great about their products is that they are not only specifically designed for bariatric patients, they are also free of additives, binders, and fillers. At best additives just bulk up a vitamin with unnecessary color, flavor, or smell; at worst they can inhibit absorption (as if us post-ops don’t have enough issues with proper absorption!), and in some cases even trigger sensitivities to gluten, wheat, and sugars.
Since early January I have been using Vita4Life!’s Multi-Plus Bariatric Vitamins, and I am really pleased with the results. Just four capsules twice per day, and that’s it! Once in the morning, and again in the evening. And with no fillers of any kind being in the vitamins, I know that I’m giving my body everything it needs, and nothing that it doesn’t need or would hinder the vitamins themselves. And it’s really nice to ditch the old lady pill boxes.
I guess one of the “perks” of being very sick with pneumonia and then having emergency abdominal surgery to fix a perforated bowel is the weight loss. I lost eleven pounds in two weeks.
And guess what? My new weight of 153.5 lbs takes me out of the “Overweight” BMI category and puts me into the “Normal weight” BMI category. My current BMI is 24.8. I think this is the first time I have been at a healthy weight since I was 8 or 9 years old.
A couple of days before my emergency abdominal surgery for a perforated bowel I weighed 164 lbs.
A couple of days after coming home from the hospital and dropping all of the water weight due to the fluids the hospital pumped into me, I weighed 155 lbs.
Today I weigh 153.8 lbs.
I call it the Pneumonia & Perforated Bowel Diet. *eyeroll*
One thing is for sure: the combination of being sick and thus not eating a lot, and then surgery, plus two days of NO fluids and several days of nothing but fluids and broth has made my stomach pouch super-tight. I don’t mind the restriction, except that even a couple of bites of a meatball fills me up, whereas before I could finish one, maybe one and a half.