To any who have had gastric bypass surgery or to those considering gastric bypass surgery, you should know that intestinal calcium absorption is effected by weight-loss surgery. Forty-eight percent of patients who have had malabsorptive bariatric surgery develop a calcium deficiency and may need calcium citrate after gastric bypass.
Importance of Calcium
Calcium is an essential element that is critical for human life. Ninety-nine percent of calcium is in teeth and bones with the remaining one percent distributed between blood, nerve cells, and tissue.
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for growth, maintenance, and reproduction. Other functions that nedd calcium include muscle contraction, conducting nerve impulses, regulation of heartbeat, blood clotting, and hormone secretion. Calcium is the most adundant mineral in the body although the body does not make it.
Calcium deficiency promotes osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones become porous, break easily and heal slowly. Calcium deficiency also can lead to curvature of the spine.
Groups who are susceptible to calcium deficiencies are senior citizens, post-menopausal women, heavy drinkers, people with Crohn’s disease, and those who have had gastric bypass surgery involving intestinal resection.
Bariatric Surgery and Calcium
An increase in the parathyroid is common in those who have had gastric bypass surgery. This increase can interfere with the thyroid’s ability to maintain a calcium balance. On the other hand, low levels of calcium in the blood is equally serious and can develop from kidney malfunction, hyperparathyroidism, or a vitamin D deficiency. There is also evidence that bariatric patients who have no history of kidney stones form calcium stones in the kidneys after weight-loss surgery.
The absorption of nutrients is effected because of the stomach reduction from weight-loss surgery. In order to maintain a proper balance, calcium supplementation begins shortly after bariatric surgery. Following weight-loss surgery, calcium supplementation is needed daily to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body. This is necessary because the site of active absorption is bypassed after gastric bypass surgery.
Calcium Citrate after Gastric Bypass Surgery
It is certain that you will benefit from calcium citrate after gastric bypass. A calcium supplement will be needed because the body’s ability to absorb calcium will be effected by the surgery. Calcium is present in certain foods such as dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. Vegetables that contain calcium include kale, broccoli and other vegetables.
The main form of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Both are well-absorbed although gastric bypass patients will absorb calcium citrate better. Calcium combined with citrate is the top quality compound for maximum absorption of calcium.
A chewable calcium supplement like the calcium citrate caramel chewy bites from Bariatric Advantage is often recommended to bariatric patients. The calcium in a chewable supplement can be absorbed more easily by the patient’s new anatomy. The recommended dosage is 500 mg two or three times daily. Vitamin D is very important for the absorption of calcium by the body and bariatric patients must be alert for acceptable levels of vitamin D in the body after weight-loss surgery. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption and many formulations of calcium contain vitamin D.
A bone scan may be recommended after you have had gastric bypass surgery. It is the definitive way to determine if you are getting enough calcium. If it is determined you are getting enough calcium, a two year follow-up might be recommended. If it is found you are deficient, a yearly follow-up might be requested.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life