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Curr Drug Metab. 2012 Nov;13(9):1345-55.

Vitamin, mineral, and drug absorption following bariatric surgery.

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Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.


The prevalence of obesity continues to rise throughout the world. Increasingly, bariatric surgery is used for those with morbid obesity as a pivotal approach to achieve weight loss. Along with substantial weight loss, malabsorption of essential vitamins, minerals, and drugs also occurs. Therefore, more than ever, a better understanding of the physiology and mechanisms by which these deficiencies occur is essential. We review the normal physiology of vitamin, mineral, and drug absorption. This is followed by a description of currently performed bariatric surgeries in the United States. A detailed review of specific nutrient and mineral deficiency states is presented, based on the most significant studies published in the last two decades. Of note, screening and supplementation recommendations have been included. Drug absorption data after these procedures is presented and discussed. Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Registry and MEDLINE using relevant search terms, as well as through review of the reference section of included manuscripts.


Bariatric surgery can be effectively used to achieve sustainable weight-loss in morbidly obese patients. It simultaneously brings forth important functional consequences on nutrient deficiencies and drug absorption that clinician's must be aware of. Further prospective, randomized research on specific procedures and deficiencies is required.

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