About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Vitamin D Levels Linked With the Outcomes of Weight-Loss Surgery

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on December 23, 2015 at 11:44 PM
Font : A-A+

 Vitamin D Levels Linked With the Outcomes of Weight-Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery serves to reduce weight for obese individuals or patients with diabetes and other conditions by reducing stomach size and/or bypassing a portion of the intestines. Nearly 200,000 bariatric surgeries occur annually in the United States. Low levels of vitamin D have long been identified as an unwanted hallmark of weight loss surgery.

Now findings of a new Johns Hopkins study of more than 930,000 patient records add to evidence that seasonal sun exposure - a key factor in the body's natural ability to make the 'sunshine vitamin' - plays a substantial role in how well people do after such operations.


Results of the study, published online in Obesity Science & Practice, reveal interplay among vitamin D status, seasons, geography and surgery outcomes, according to Leigh Peterson, a nutritionist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery, who led the research.

Specifically, the researchers found that patients undergoing bariatric surgery in the United States during winter - January to March, the time of lowest vitamin D levels - fared worse than patients who had procedures in the summer. Similarly, patients having surgery in the north seemed to have more complications than those in the south.

Peterson said, "Sun exposure is critical in the synthesis of vitamin D, so the notion that people living in less sunny northern states may suffer from vitamin D deficiency is not surprising. What is remarkable is how closely sun exposure, vitamin D and surgical outcomes were linked."

For the study, researchers reviewed records of more than 930,000 bariatric operations performed in the United States between 2001 and 2010. Overall, they report, post-procedural complications were rare, with fewer than 1% of patients developing infections. A more common outcome was spending a few extra days in the hospital, and this showed the strongest relationship with both season and geography.

Peterson said, "The researchers found a disproportionate number of those who fared worse hailed from areas north of latitude 37 degree - roughly South Carolina - than areas south of it. For example, areas north of latitude 37 degrees yielded almost 150,000 more patients with an extended length of stay - more than three days in the hospital - after surgery than areas south of that latitude. Considering that more than 300,000 of the operations, or over one-third of the total in the study, led to extended hospitalization, 71% of these surgical complications occurred north of 37 degrees."

Furthermore, the researchers noticed, adverse outcomes, such as nonhealing wounds, wound infections, wound separation and delayed wound healing, clustered in colder seasons marked by less sunshine. For example, more than twice as many patients experienced delayed wound-healing complications in the winter - 349 patients, or 0.16% of operations reviewed - than in the summer - 172 patients, or 0.07% of operations reviewed.

The investigators caution that this observational study using medical records has limitations, and it is not enough to recommend the routine use of vitamin D supplements as a strategy to prevent or reduce the risk of postsurgical complications. Vitamin D supplements are often prescribed after weight loss surgery because of evidence that the operations reduce the ability of the gut to absorb the nutrient.

The investigators emphasize that further research is needed to determine the appropriate pre-emptive treatment with vitamin D in patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Experts believe that most people can and should get Vitamin D from brief, regular sun exposure, a healthy diet and possibly supplementation. While it is rare, excessive vitamin D intake can cause symptoms, such as nausea, constipation, confusion and abnormal heart rhythm. However, the researchers note, obesity is a well-known risk factor for vitamin D deficiency, and patients preparing to undergo weight loss operations should be screened for it.

Peterson said, "The growing rates of obesity and increased popularity of bariatric surgeries mean that primary care clinicians and bariatric surgeons should consider screening their patients and correcting any confirmed vitamin D deficiency. In general, nutritional deficiencies can fuel inflammation, higher infection risk and delayed wound healing."

The researchers said that they are next planning a study measuring patients' vitamin D levels before and after surgery to help determine optimal doses for supplementation.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
World Heart Day in 2022- Use Heart for Every Heart
Anemia among Indian Women and Children Remains a Cause of Concern- National Family Health Survey-5
H1N1 Influenza Prevention in Children: What Parents Need to Know
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Calcium and Vitamin Supplements Rickets Vitamin Supplements Vitamin C / Ascorbic acid Vitamin B6 Vitamin B9 Vitamin B-12 Vitamin-F Dandy Walker Syndrome Undetected Nutrient Deficiencies: the Cause of Ill Health 

Most Popular on Medindia

Hearing Loss Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Post-Nasal Drip Drug Interaction Checker Indian Medical Journals A-Z Drug Brands in India Find a Hospital Daily Calorie Requirements Diaphragmatic Hernia The Essence of Yoga
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use

Vitamin D Levels Linked With the Outcomes of Weight-Loss Surgery Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests