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Average cost for supplements, vitamins, etc. after surgery

on 11/2/09 8:50 pm
I am getting ready to have RNY surgery.  I am trying to get a basic estimate about what my supplements, vitamins, etc will run me each month.  I have a brochure from the doctor and a basic idea but I was wondering if any of you would mind sharing with me what you buy every month beyond basic food and what it cost you. 
Jesus is Lord!        
on 11/2/09 9:10 pm - OH
I spend an absolute fortune.  But you probably won't have to spend this much.

I use ENS from Celebrate, which is a drink mix that is a multivitamin plus 500 mg calcium.  You drink two a day.  I use this because the chewable vitamins and calcium were making me nauseous.  But it's more expensive than buying chewables.  It's about $50 for a one month supply.

That's 1000 mg calcium per day, but we need at least 1500 mg, so I use Upcal D for another 500 mg.  But that's cheap.  I pay about $12 for a box with 120 doses.  And I only use one a day.  So the box lasts me four months.

I use the B12 patch.  That's $24 a month.  Sublinguals are cheaper.  But they made me nauseous.  I like the patch better.

I take D3 because my vitamin D is low right now.  I think I paid about $21 for a bottle of 100.  And I take three a week.  So that bottle is gonna last me a while.

I take iron and vitamin C.  But those are both cheap.  I think I paid $17 for both, and that included shipping.  And it will last me a couple months.

Then there's protein powder.  I probably spend $30 a month or so on that.

on 11/2/09 9:30 pm - Suffern, NY
I spend alot also. 

Citrical - $10.00  6 weeks
Centrum Silver Chewables $10.00 1 month
B12 - covered by my insurance - $1.00 3 months
Vitamin A  = $15.00 = 3 months
Vitamin B1 - $12.00 = 1 months
Vitamin D - $30.00 = 7 weeks
Shipping $5.00 -10.00

I don't take iron.  I have a high Ferritin Level.


on 11/2/09 9:37 pm - mcchord afb, WA
B12 GNC LIQUID                                        $4  TWO MONTHS WORTH

on 11/2/09 10:07 pm, edited 11/2/09 10:09 pm - Kenosha, WI
I'm not sure what I'll be spending monthly yet--I'm too new out of lapband surgery to give a good estimate. While the NUT recommended any chewable vitamin (e.g. Flintstones) as long as it has an adult dosage on it (lapband isn't a malabsorptive procedure so I don't have the same vitamin issues to worry about as my RNY brothers and sisters), I ended up switching over to OptiSource vitamins anyway.  That's a bariatric vitamin which you can pick up at Walgreens for about $26 for a month's supply.  They taste a LOT better than Centrum Kids.  I also take Citrical chewables--6 week supply for about 8 or 9 bucks.
I'm proud to be a Geeky Mom, and read about it here (clicky)!

on 11/3/09 3:09 am, edited 11/3/09 3:09 am
RNY on 12/30/08 with
Here's what I spend:

$30.00 calcium per month= $360 per year

$12.33 multi vitamin per month= $148 per year

$15.33 iron per month= $184 per year

$8.00 B12 per month= $96 per year
Make a pregnancy ticker  
  Hit goal 10/31/09!  RNY!!!

Andrea U.
on 11/3/09 3:58 am - Wilson, NC
This is a list I put together this past.. er.. February? It's from my blog, thus why it's worded as such.   It hasn't been tweaked in awhile, but it should give you a good idea:

I put this post together awhile back about costs of supplements post-op.  Yes, there are costs up-front.. psych evals, program fees, etc.. If you are having issues covering these basic costs, you really need to be aware that supplementation after any WLS is not cheap.  I am not looking for any ways to make my costs less, btw.  I'm simply stating the facts of what I take every day.

Keep in mind, I am almost 4 yrs post-op, listened to my surgeon's recommendations to take only 2 flintstones vitamins for almost 2 years, have had two kiddos, and now must play catchup with my labs.  Not everyone needs all of this... those that keep close track on their own labs and not trust someone else to do their work for them (stupid stupid stupid) will be better off.  I'm paying the price for my stupidity with how much I do have to take.  So let that be a lesson.

(Following prices do not account for sales, BOGO offers, coupons, etc.)

Each day I take the following:
4 regular calcium citrate tablets 315mg per tab -- bottle of house brand at Target ran me $5.50, lasts one month
4 citrical petites 200mg per tab -- bottle at Target ran me $8.74 for 50 days, so 30 days runs $5.24, call it $5.25
1 1000mcg b-12 tablet -- bottle at Sam's runs me about $5, will last 3 months.  Call it $2/month
2 multivitamins -- bottle runs me $11, and I get one month
4 vitamin c -- bottle runs me $11 and I need 2 per month, so $22 per month
12 25mg carbonyl iron tablets -- bottle runs me $5 from Target and I get 1.5 months (so $3.50 per month)
2 b-complex -- bottle runs me $11, I get 1 month
2 magnesium oxide 400mg - scripted, 1 month costs $8.00
5 5k vitamin D -- bottle runs me $15, has 50 days worth, so $9.00 per month
2 zinc tablets -- bottle runs me $5, has 50 days, so 1 month is $3.00
2 copper tablets - bottle runs me $5, has 50 days, so 1 month is $3.00
1 25k vitamin A - bottle runs me $5, has 100 days, so 1 month is $1.50

So a monthly total for my supplements?  $84.75 plus applicable taxes, fees, and shipping.

My protein drinks.. The one I drink is 90 cents per serving.  I drink one of each per day, on average, so that's $27.50.

I have to pay a copay for my labs.  My D is low, my ferritin is low, and my iron is low.. so that's 4 draws per year until they go up.  That's $25 a draw, on average.  Let's call it 30 for ease of math, k?  So another $10 per month.

So not even counting my low-carb lifestyle (milk, cheese, eggs, fresh fruits and veggies, etc.. are all *much* more expensive than crap), my $45 a month gym membership, or any of the other "frills" (nut visits, doctor visits, gas to get to appointments, etc.), I'm spending over a hundred *each month* just on maintenance.

Valerie G.
on 11/3/09 4:57 am - Northwest Mountains, GA
I'm a cheap-azz, so I scope out the BOGO sales and stock up on the OTC easy to find items, like Centrum (or equivalent), B, zinc and Calcium citrate.  I then pick up my AD&K from  Overall, I average around $20-25/month.

 9 years post op DS 
There is room on this earth for all of God's to the mashed potatoes

Polly Wog
on 11/3/09 7:05 am - Canada

Hi, I also haven't had my RNY yet, however what I am told that I will need to be taking for life is the following:
a)  1 prenatal vitamin daily (which will give you all of the vitamins that you require)
b)  2 calcuim with vitamin d

Right after my surgery I will be using Boost diabetic (not because I am diabetic, but because it give you high protein without the extra sugar).  I am told that I will drink 3 bottles a day, for 1 month.  So that is 14 @ $9.00 CAD.

Then after that I think that I may or maynot need protein powder, depending on how well my system adapts.  I was looking into that as well and you can get a HUGE jug for $21.00 or so.

So I think it will be relatively cheap considering a months supply of calcuim pills is about $8.00
and prenatal vitamins are about $12.00 for about 3 months worth.

I'm thinking it will cost about the same  or less as 4 or 5 big mac meals a month. lol
Not sure if this helps any???


 HW   321
SW    295
CW    175.2
GW    130-135
on 11/3/09 7:48 am - OH
Um, sorry, but you're gonna need more than that.

After RNY, we need about 200% of the RDA of most vitamins and minerals, and one prenatal probably won't give you that.  It usually takes at least two multivitamins to get that.

We need 1500 - 2000 mg of calcium citrate per day, and can only absorb about 500 at a time, so we have to take three or four doses a day.

We also need B12.  There will be B12 in your prenatal, but you won't be able to absorb it because after RNY we lack the intrinsic factor that is needed get absorb B12 that we swallow.  We need to use sublinguals, or you can use the nasal spray or the patch, or you can get shots.

Polly Wog
on 11/3/09 9:17 am - Canada
I'm just going by what the Nurse and Nutritionist that were doing the pre-op class said .  The book that was given to us in the class also re-iterates that.  It does say that B12 MAY be needed in intramuscular injection form if the pre-natal is not enough.  This is why they do regular bloodwork to ensure that you are not lacking anything.  I'm not sure what the difference is between Calcium citrate and Calcium Carbonate, but they use the carbonate here.  However, if there is more I am sure I will hear about it from the Dr/Nut./Nurse, when it is time.  Thanks for your input, we are all learning here and one only assumes that when the DR/Nurse etc  tell you something that it most genuinely is what we need, and I know... they don't always tell you everything upfront.
 HW   321
SW    295
CW    175.2
GW    130-135
on 11/3/09 9:53 am - OH
There is a big difference between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.  You need stomach acid to break down calcium carbonate so it can be absorbed.  But the thing is, after RNY, we produce very little stomach acid.  So we can't absorb the calcium carbonate.  There was a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found people who lack stomach acid only absorb about 4% of the calcium in calcium carbonate.  If your Dr/Nut/Nurse is telling you take calcium carbonate, I would ask them about this.  My doc actually told me to take calcium carbonate, too.  I said, uh, no, I'll be taking calcium citrate and here's why.  He said, oh, OK.  Duh!

on 11/3/09 10:05 am
Assuming that docs and their staff are godlike is a HUGE mistake . . . . see Andrea U for details.  Personally, I think your doc is way off, as others have stated, but it's your life - you decide who you're going to trust with it.

5' 5" -  317.5 / 132 / 134  SW / CW / GW

on 11/3/09 7:02 am, edited 11/3/09 7:09 am - northeast, TX
I use the chewable Celebrate......they are complete and have everything you need in the 3 bottles.......ordering them from   I get a 3 months supply for $93, free shipping.  You take 3 in the morning, 1 middle of the day, 3 more at night. They taste like citrus.  I also take a good quality multi-vitamin. 

The protein powder is usually $30-40 dollars  (30 scoops). A good bariatric protein powder will have over 20 gr protein per scoop, less than about 5 carbs per scoop.  I usually use 2 scoops a day.  (I have about 10 different flavors/canisters on hand but I've been at this 3 years). 

Those are the basics you must have. They are not cheap but they don't cost as much as taking the family out to Pizza's a trade-off and well worth it!!
on 11/3/09 9:07 am - Maple Grove, MN
RNY on 04/10/09 with
$36.50 - Celebrate Multi-vitamin Chewable – 90 Days $39.95 - Celebrate Calcium Plus 500 – 90Days $23.95 - Celebrate Iron +C – 90 Days $ 7.95 - Celebrate vitamin D3 (1000IU) – 90 Days $15.95 - Celebrate B-12 Sublingual Cherry – 90 Days   Total Quarterly:  $124.30 ($41.43 month)   I order directly from and get free shipping. Also setup to auto-shop every 3 months so I don’t have to re-order.   In addition to these, I buy the following locally when I need them: $ 8.99 - GNC Chewable Probiotics, Blueberry – 90 Days $13.00 – Colace – 90 Days

*** I spend a lot more on protein!
**3 years Post-op, 110 lbs lost, at goal, maintaining & loving life!** Diabetes gone!

** I am a Susan G Komen 3-Day Walker --- WLS allowed me to make it all 60 miles in 2010 and 2011 and I'm doing it again in 2012!!  
on 11/6/09 7:56 pm
Wow, thank you all so much for the post.  It gave me a much better idea. 
Jesus is Lord!