Objective: This study sought to determine the basal and peak-stimulated acid secretion from the proximal gastric pouch and its relationship to absorption of free and food-bound vitamin B12 after gastric bypass for morbid obesity. Summary Background Data: Gastric bypass can be performed safely and provides acceptable weight loss, but concerns remain about possible long-term complications such as vitamin B12 malabsorption. The authors hypothesized that by constructing a small pouch of gastric cardia, acid secretion into the pouch would be low, leading to maldigestion of food-bound vitamin B12 with subsequent malabsorption. Methods: Basal and pentagastrin-stimulated peak acid outputs from the proximal gastric pouch were measured in ten patients after vertical Roux-en-Y gastric bypass using a perfused orogastric tube technique. Absorption of free and food-bound 57Co-vitamin B12 was evaluated separately using 24-hour urinary excretion. Results: Basal (mEq/hr, x̄ ± standard error of the mean [SEM]) and peak-stimulated (mEq/30 min) acid secretions from the proximal gastric pouch were markedly decreased compared to those for age- and sex-matched hospital control subjects (0.01 ± 0.01 vs. 4.97 ± 0.66 and 0.08 ± 0.04 vs. 12.11 ± 1.34, respectively; p < 0.001 for each). While absorption of free vitamin B12 was it statistically different from that of control subjects (11 ± 2 vs. 15 ± 2%; p > 0.05), absorption of food-bound vitamin B12 was decreased (0.8 ± 0.2 vs. 3.7 ± 0.5%; p < 0.01). Conclusions: After vertical Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for morbid obesity, acid secretion is virtually absent and food-bound vitamin B12 is maldigested and subsequently malabsorbed. The results of this study suggest that postoperative vitamin B12 supplementation is important and can be achieved with either monthly parenteral vitamin B12 or daily oral crystalline preparations.
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