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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Vitamin and Blood Sugar Connection after WLS

This is in response to the comments on Facebook regarding our LivingAfterWLS Digest yesterday on the importance of vitamin supplements following weight loss surgery. Kathy said she must take her vitamins or her blood glucose (blood sugar) drops and Karen asked what one had to do with another. Kathy - Great share of your experience and Karen Great question. --I offer here a quick answer (due to time limitations) but I've added this topic to my 2014 Editorial Docket first quarter so I can provide a more detailed and better researched response in article format.--

The Vitamin and Blood Sugar Connection after WLS

The vitamins/minerals most frequently implicated in blood glucose management are the electrolytes: specifically sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, and phosphates. As reported by Diabetic Health & Wellness (DH&W) in December 2013 with a disease such as diabetes where metabolic function is disrupted severe electrolyte imbalance can occur. "This is why managing electrolytes is a major issue for diabetics. One problem diabetics face is an offset of the proportion of electrolytes in their body caused by changes in their blood glucose level (typically high blood sugar). When you are hyperglycemic your body tries to get rid of excess glucose through increased urination. This increase in fluid loss causes electrolytes to also be lost, creating an imbalance in the body. The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, headache, irritability, and muscle pain."

The experts at DH&W say "The best way to keep your electrolytes balanced without disrupting your blood sugar is to include foods which are good sources of electrolytes in your diet as part of your diabetic meal plan." However, after WLS managing electrolytes with diet alone is challenging due to lower caloric intake, and intolerance of some foods. With malabsorptive procedures, such as gastric bypass, there is a shortage of gastric enzymes to break-down nutrients for transfer to vital organs via the blood stream. In fact, WLS poses a host of complications in nutrient and electrolyte balance which manifests as dumping syndrome, hypoglycemia, blood sugar crashes, etc.

Further Reading From Diabetic Health & Wellness: Diabetes and Electrolytes

Taking appropriate vitamin supplements that specifically include the electrolytes is an effective approach to blood glucose management in the face of metabolic challenges, as Kathy shared.

Further studies suggest that vitamin D also plays a role in blood glucose management. "New research strongly suggests that vitamin D and calcium also play important roles in maintaining normal insulin function and glucose control — the keys to diabetes. Early in 2009, doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health found that low vitamin D and calcium levels were related to higher, unhealthy levels of C-peptide, a common marker of insulin function."

Further Reading From dLife: Vitamin D and Calcium for Better Blood Sugar

People treated with bariatric surgery have a metabolic disorder that causes the body to store excess energy in the form of body fat. To put this disorder into remission proper nutrition is essential.

Ok - There is a short answer to a BIG topic. Please watch for a more complete article from me on this important issue early next year. 

Thanks and best wishes for a good day, good health, and balanced electrolytes!

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