Friday, February 14, 2014

Gastric Bypass, Vitamin B and Alcohol

A new doctor was forced on me last year.  My normal primary care physician stopped accepting my insurance's medical group and the medical group randomly assigned me someone new.  I had to go to him for a first meeting appointment and we sat and talked for quite awhile about my extensive medical history.  At first, I was leery of a tiny, older Asian man being my doctor.  We have nothing in common, I told myself, and I will dislike him greatly (because I had SO much in common with my tiny Asian female doctor, although at least we were closer in age).  However, at my appointment, he sat with me for close to an hour, we laughed and joked and I really liked him!

One of the things we discussed was gastric bypass and my vitamin absorption issues.  Until last year, I was deficient in some vitamin or another every single year.  I told him that I took a separate B-complex vitamin (although I was truly only deficient once in B1).  He looked at me and said, oh you drink a lot?  

Uh.  No.  How dare you, sir?!  

Then I thought about it.  You know, the year I ended up deficient in B vitamins was the year I was hanging out with some former "friends" who drank A LOT.  We probably went out three or four nights a week and I was definitely drinking a lot more than usual (my "usual" drinking schedule is probably one drink every other month or so...I'm really not a huge alcohol consumer).  Wow.  Does alcohol suck B vitamins from your body??

According to THIS article:

B vitamins play a key role in converting the foods you eat into energy, but unhealthy diet choices, too much stress and certain drugs can rob you of their vital benefits. Although they are available in wide array of animal- and plant-based foods, B vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored in body tissue. As a consequence, you must renew your supply each day and avoid the forces that can rapidly deplete them from your body.


Alcohol, like refined sugars, presents your body with large amounts of carbohydrates but no built-in B vitamins to help metabolize them. Consuming large quantities of alcohol quickly depletes your body’s stores of B vitamins. John D. Kirschmann, author of “Nutrition Almanac,” points out that alcohol also interferes with your body’s normal absorption and utilization of B vitamins and other nutrients. He notes that chronic alcoholics tend to be deficient in certain B vitamins, including B-1, also known as thiamine; B-2, or riboflavin; and folic acid.

Luckily, I'm back on track with my "regular" drinking schedule and my B vitamins are in normal range again.  I had no clue that alcohol could tattle on me like that!  I can't believe I am coming up on my tenth anniversary since I had gastric bypass.  I have learned so much and feel like I am finally learning how to be happy AND healthy when it comes to my body and weight.

Have you had any whacky health issues that you didn't realize were connected?  Tell me about it below!

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