Q: My friend started using a vitamin/mineral supplement patch, is that an option for me as a bariatric patient?
A: Transdermal vitamin/mineral patches are becoming a popular concept, even with a few bariatric websites. Unfortunately, not all vitamins and minerals are absorbed well through the skin. There are several nutrients, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B-12 which are unable to be absorbed through the skin. Another problem to consider with the patch would be our individual differences, such as skin thickness, ethnicity, any sensitivities or allergies, as well as absorption when skin is wet, oily, sweaty, etc.
Most research that has been completed focuses on the immediate post-op patient (0-6 months post-op), where we see most vitamin and mineral deficiencies arise after that point. There are a few clinical trials running for bariatric patients to see how effective the patches are in long-term supplementation, however quite a bit more research will be needed. As of this point, I would not feel comfortable recommending the transdermal patch for post-op bariatric patients.
Research has confirmed that the oral or injection vitamin/mineral options are the most effective. We will keep an eye out for more research as it arises!
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