If you have chosen to get bariatric surgery, there are some things to know beforehand. One of these things is that you have a higher risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. With calcium, it is not so much that you are not eating healthy after surgery but that the food goes into your stomach differently.
The stomach is made smaller with gastric bypass and other types of bariatric procedures, so there is an imbalance in how minerals are absorbed. This creates a need for supplements to let you get the right amount of all necessary nutrients.
Why Calcium is Essential
Calcium is an alkaline material that the body needs to sustain human life. About 99% of the calcium in the body exists in the bones and teeth and just 1% in the body tissue, blood, and nerve cells. More calcium is in the body than any other mineral, making it the most important one to take after weight loss surgery.
With calcium, the body can grow, reproduce and remain physically healthy. Hormone secretion, muscle contractions, contracting blood vessels, and transmissions through the nervous system are all due to calcium in the body. Like many other vitamins and minerals, calcium is usually obtained through food sources to battle osteoporosis, making the bones fragile. But after bariatric surgery, food isn’t absorbed similarly, leading to a calcium deficiency.
Calcium Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery
One of the most common causes of osteoporosis is calcium deficiency, a significant risk among bariatric surgery patients. There are only a few symptoms until calcium deficiency advances to later stages. Calcium deficiency is common among older individuals, menopausal women, people with Crohn’s disease, heavy alcohol drinkers, and anyone with gastric bypass.
When going through weight loss surgery, part of the stomach is reduced. While this helps you lose weight by eating less and feeling full faster, it reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals, like calcium. When this occurs, an additional calcium supplement is needed to help with the calcium in the body.
How Much Calcium is Needed?
The recommended calcium intake is between 1,200 mg and 2,000 mg of calcium citrate daily.
For increased absorption in bariatric patients, taking 2-3 500 mg calcium supplements daily at different times is better than a 1,500 mg supplement only once daily.
Why do Bariatric Patients Require More Calcium?
Calcium is crucial for any individual, especially for bariatric surgery patients. Taking a few calcium supplements can help you avoid deficiency after bariatric surgery. Since you likely have the risk of other vitamin and mineral deficiencies following bariatric surgery, it helps to take the calcium at the same time as other supplements. Keep a note of how much you take each day to avoid deficiency, but also avoid making more than you need.
Taking the supplement after surgery is ideal as it prevents complications from a deficiency. Also, remember that just because you are taking a supplement doesn’t mean you no longer need to focus on eating nutritious foods that contain calcium and other nutrients.