Malabsorption - How long does it last?

on 10/8/10 3:22 am
In 11 months, I have lost 80 pounds and have 17 to go to goal.  While others may have hit their goal during this duration, I am very happy with my progress.  I look and feel great!    My question is, how long does malabsorption last?  I have read that it usually vanishes after 2 years.  I have not paid much attention to this topic before, but since I am so close to goal, I am now curious.

Thanks in advance for your response...JoAnne
on 10/8/10 3:26 am

No one knows for sure; each person has their own experiences. However, since weight loss tends to slow for most around the 18 month mark, that is a safe benchmark I suppose.

Even at nine years post op, I believe I have SOME malabsorption of fat because I can see it in my BMs! Of course, I also no longer have a gall bladder so that may contribute in part.

Assume that the malabsorption of vitamins and minerals is forever, however....keep taking your supplements!

Marilyn (now in NM)
RNY 10/2/01
(updated March 2012)

on 10/8/10 4:07 am
My rule of thumb, assume all is being absorbed, it will guide you to make better eating choices and habits.
on 10/8/10 4:12 am
That is a good question.  I have read on this site nutritional malabsorption for life and caloric for a certain time.  I asked one of the residents in my bariatric program, and he said it is for life, regardless which one I mentioned.  He said while the body does adjust, it is still altered.  So I don't know the answer.  Do people feel the caloric malabsorption stops because their weight loss stops?  I don't know.  I do know I am amazed how "normal" I feel I can now eat.  I have to "watch" things closely now.  My loss had definitely slowed, but so has my Y time.

Dave Chambers
on 10/8/10 7:12 am - Mira Loma, CA
RNY is considered to be a restrictive (due to small pouch size) and malabsorptive surgery.  Your body usually finds it's own settlement point.  Very few patients end up with severe malabsorptive issues that require reversal surgery.  Yes, most patients bottom out at 2 years with wt loss, where you'll have to rely on the knowledge you've gained in that time to make wise decisions on food choices, etc.  Your progress is good, so I would not complain.  Reaching a "goal weight" at 11 months is not the norm.  From the 3 support meetings I've attended monthly over the past 4 years, I've only met very few patients who lost their desired wt in such a short time--4 or 5 that I can think of. DAVE

Dave Chambers, 6'3" tall, 365 before RNY, 185 low, 200 currently. My profile page: product reviews, tips for your journey, hi protein snacks, hi potency delicious green tea, and personal web site.
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Pam T.
on 10/8/10 8:59 am - Saginaw, MI
Studies on this topic are mostly done on patients who had cancer or some other form of a diseased intestinal tract and had to have a portion of their intestines removed to save their lives. The body is pretty amazing and can "heal" itself to a certain extent. The micro-nutrient malabsorption (vitamins/minerals) will never fully repair, but the macro-nutrient (calories/protein/fat/carbs) malabsorption will eventually be repairs completely. This process is called adaptation.

From what I've read, it looks like the adaptation process begins almost immediately after surgery - within 4 days. But it can take up to 2 or 3 years to complete depending on your body and how much was bypassed. The remaining intestine will grow longer and stronger and more dense villi - the little finger-like tentacles that grab nutrients from food as it brushes by. It's also called the brush border. But since vitamins/minerals have assigned locations of absorption, no amount of extra villi will make us absorb vitamins that had their assigned location bypassed. Here's a diagram that explains those locations. 

For more reading about Adaptation. Here's some links 

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