Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine
Soak Up the Benefits of Vitamin D After WLS
Summer is finally here, and this one will be extraordinary for many reasons, as we all look forward to celebrating Christmas and the holidays with family from other states and maybe even other countries! It is undoubtedly an extraordinary time to navigate long-term health and work out the essential boxes to tick for keeping in top health after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS).
Critical for immune health, mood regulation and protection from some cancers is our
good friend Vitamin D.
Due to the nature of your bariatric surgery, some nutrients are poorly absorbed and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D falls under the spotlight both before and after surgery. Studies have reported that typically, over 50% of bariatric surgical candidates have vitamin D deficiency, and in some cases, over 90%.
Generally, after WLS, when regular Vitamin D supplementation with a bariatric multivitamin is established, there is a rise in Vitamin D levels which is a massive step in the right direction. So now we know the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency and the outcomes of lower than healthy range levels; let's look at what we aim for in the regular blood screenings that we take intermittently to manage health after bariatric surgery.
For best outcomes, Vitamin D levels of at least above 75 and ideally around 100 are ideal - and no lower than 50 at the end of winter. Your bariatric multi provides 1000IU daily when you take your two doses every day and proves to be very effective in preventing deficiency.
How Do I Boost Vitamin D Levels Naturally?
Believe it or not, boosting your Vitamin D levels is not only easy but can also be a lot of fun!
Given that we source natural Vitamin D from the sun, all we need to do is roll up our sleeves and head to the great outdoors. With a more active lifestyle and a busier social life, you could find your Vitamin D levels could normalise quite incidentally!
Healthy Bones Australia notes that sun exposure times vary based on the season and location within Australia. Your skin type and the amount of skin exposed also affect the sun exposure needed for healthy bones.
The Cancer Council Australia's recommendations are to ensure we have some form of sun protection on when the UV Index is three or above when outdoors for more than a few minutes. The sunshine map below gives a safe indication of exposure times needed to safely keep your D levels in check.
It is crucial to be aware that food cannot provide an adequate amount of Vitamin D. Whilst egg yolks, liver, oily fish contain Vitamin D, they don't offer enough on their own. So, the risk of Vitamin D deficiency is fundamental if we abstain from outdoor sunlight exposure and forget to take our daily bariatric multivitamin.
The malabsorption of calcium and other nutrients needed to ensure healthy bones is likely the major contributor to bone loss.
SO LET'S HAVE SOME FUN BOOSTING VITAMIN D!
After surgery, you'll find you are almost naturally more active and looking for different opportunities to improve your activity levels, experiences and, of course, family and social life.
Let's look at how to take life outdoors and enjoy the sights our beautiful country has to offer.
Often thinking of exercise conjures up gruelling hours of discomfort pounding the treadmill at the gym, so let's reframe things to a more enjoyable and user-friendly methodology. Getting outside and getting active can be as simple as walking with a friend around your local neighbourhood or challenging yourself to the dizzying heights of a mountain range you've had your eye on as an adventure.
Some patients keep it low key, enjoying their local area for outings like walking to the shops for groceries instead of driving or enjoying the local park for a picnic with the family or a group of friends. Whatever your preference, it's all on offer with a bit of planning and a slight change in your habits.
To get you started, here's a list of the most beautiful picnic spots around Australia and New Zealand - AND enjoy some of our WLS friendly picnic basket filler recipes to get you all set to embrace the scenery, the company AND the food as you safely soak up the sunshine and boost your vitamin D.
WLS Friendly Picnic Recipes
Easy Savoury Meals
High Protein Snacks
Beautiful Picnic Spots in Australia
Brisbane If you love a panoramic city lookout while you picnic, throw down your picnic blanket at Mt Coot-tha.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney
Take in the breathtaking view from an angle of two of the world’s preeminent tourist attractions, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Gibson Steps, Great Ocean Road
Walk down the steps to the beach, spread out your picnic blanket with the most outstanding view before your eyes.
Cable Beach, Broome
Plan a sunset picnic with your loved ones below the horizon, and the camel riders pass across the white sand.
Walker Creek, Litchfield National Park
Enjoy a picnic by the creek before taking a stroll through one of the several creek trails.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
What’s not to love about picnicking in the Barossa Valley? Some of the world’s best wines come from this region.
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park
You’ll have to be ready for an adventure to get there. Still, the effort is well worth it when you stumble across one of the most picturesque parts of Australia.
Beautiful Picnic Spots in New Zealand
Tapapakanga Regional Park, Auckland
Enjoy a waterside picnic, then a swim or kayak off the sandy beach overlooking the Firth of Thames.
The Botanic Garden, Wellington
Ride the cable car up to the Botanic Garden and savour the beautiful nature life surrounding you.
Godley Head, Christchurch
Hike the beautiful coastline track and reward yourself and your loved ones with a picnic.
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine