Folic Acid or Folate Deficiencies After Weight Loss Surgery
The next vitamin I want to discuss with regard to deficiences after weight loss surgery is folic acid or what is often referred to as folate. Folate, like vitamin B12, is very important for a number of aspects of metabolism and it’s very important in the production of our red blood cells.
Generally present in beans and green leafy vegetables, it is a B complex vitamin that is water-soluble and it does become deficient more often after gastric bypass surgery. The kinds of symptoms people might experience with a folate deficiency would include weakness, fatigue, pale skin, and possibly a feeling of coolness or cold intolerance. Sometimes there can be other symptoms of this deficiency such as nerve tingling, numbness, and confusion. It’s generally very well supplemented with a standard multivitamin containing folic acid, which nearly all of them do, and in a real severe unusual case it could be supplemented with an IV infusion in the hospital or in an infusion center. Generally speaking, we don’t specifically test for folic acid because it is not such a common deficiency, but we do generally test everybody after surgery at intervals in their three-month, six-month, 12-month and annual follow up visits by checking their red blood cell count. If they are anemic, if the hematocrit or hemoglobin or the red blood cell count itself has fallen, then that might be a reason to go ahead and check the folic acid level, as well as the other vitamin B complex levels. Generally speaking, however, we don’t specifically test folate in everyone just as a routine. If people are taking their standard multivitamin after gastric bypass surgery, then the risk of folate or folic acid deficiency is very low.