One hundred forty patients were followed for a mean 24.2 months after gastric bypass. Postop multivitamin (MV) prophylaxis was recommended for all patients and 90 of 140 patients (64 percent) were regularly compliant. Deficiencies in iron, vitamin B-12 or folate were recognized in 88 of 140 patients (63 percent). Thirty of 45 patients (67 percent) with iron deficiency developed anemia. Forty-three of the 52 patients who did not have deficiencies were regularly taking MV vs 47 of 88 patients who developed deficiencies (P less than 0.001). MV prophylaxis was successful in preventing folate (P less than or equal to 0.05) and vitamin B-12 deficiencies (P less than or equal to 0.02) but did not prevent development of iron deficiency or subsequent anemia. There was no correlation between taking prescribed supplements and resolution of either iron deficiency of anemia. B-12 and folate supplements corrected deficiencies in 73 percent of cases. We conclude that oral MV prophylaxis is useful in preventing folate and B-12 deficiency after gastric bypass. Additional prophylactic iron supplements should be provided for women to prevent iron deficiency and associated anemia.