After weight loss surgery iron deficiency can occur (14% of people with a gastric band, 18% of people with a sleeve gastrectomy and 20-55% of people with a gastric bypass). It usually presents in patients from 3months to 10years after surgery. It can occur even if individuals are taking additional supplements it is therefore really important to have blood tests regularly to monitor your levels,

Iron is a very important mineral within the body, it is used to help move oxygen around your body. Low levels can cause iron deficiency anaemia which can lead to tiredness, reduced ability to work and concentrate and an increased risk of infections.

Your body will take up more iron if you have a diet rich in vitamin C.

Red wine and tea contain tannins which affects iron take up and also foods high in phytates, such as whole grains and beans.

Animal sources are called haem iron and are found in meat and fish, our bodies easily absorb this type of iron . Non haem iron is found in cereals, beans, peas and lentils and some fruit and vegetables.

In the UK flours and breakfast cereals are fortified with iron.

Our bodies absorb plant (non- haem) sources of iron better if they are taken alongside meat and fish (non -haem iron)

Vegetarians will need twice as much iron from plant sources than people who eat meat and fish.

Recommended supplements after weight loss surgery (Bomss Guidelines 2016)

After a gastric band or balloon insertion you can receive your iron from a balanced diet and a complete multivitamin and mineral supplement daily. After a sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass an iron intake of 45-60mg from a multi vitamin and mineral supplement is recommended and additionally 210mg of ferrous fumerate daily . More may be needed for menstruating women. Calcium and iron shouldn’t be taken together and preferably 2 hours apart
Some foods containing Iron

Meal Suggestions

Why not try some of these ideas to increase the iron in your meals?


fortified breakfast cereal, such as wholewheat biscuits with semi-skimmed milk

or poached egg, baked beans, grilled tomato, two reduced-fat sausages, wholemeal toast

a glass of orange or grapefruit juice


Chicken or ham salad (watercress, grilled lean chicken without the skin, tomatoes, raw grated carrot)

or sardines on wholemeal toast

or bean salad (chickpeas, red kidney beans, butter beans, onion, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cucumber, tomato)

or pitta bread with houmous, red pepper and celery

a glass of juice or a smoothie


Spaghetti bolognese with mince, peas and kidney beans (for a vegetarian option use soya mince and lentils)

or Lentil curry and rice

or Roast meat with vegetables and potatoes

fruit (fresh, frozen, tinned or dried) to follow

*Disclaimer: Please note that weight loss surgery results and benefits are unique to each individual and in such The Bariatric Group cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals as results for each surgery can vary. If you have any questions or would like to know more about weight loss surgery please contact our expert team.