Vitamins play a big role in the
health of bariatric patients. It is important for patients to understand
why and how certain supplements work in their bodies so they can reap
the full benefits in the most efficient way.
The mineral calcium plays a
very important role in the human body and is necessary for the normal
growth and development of bone, teeth, muscle, enzyme and nerve
functions. After bariatric surgery, the body’s ability to absorb calcium
can be reduced. Therefore, all patients are strongly encouraged to take a
calcium supplements daily not only to prevent deficiencies but
additionally because increased calcium intake has been linked to
enhanced weight loss.
There are two common forms of calcium: calcium
citrate or calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate depends heavily upon
stomach acid absorption. Calcium citrate does not require stomach acids
to digest and absorb. With the alterations to the stomach that occur
during surgery, it is important to remember to take calcium citrate
instead of calcium carbonate to maximize your supplement benefit.
Studies have shown that calcium in the citrate form was absorbed 22
percent to 27 percent more effectively than calcium in the carbonate
form. I recommend my bariatric patients take 1,800 mg of calcium
citrate throughout the day but divided into doses no larger than 600 mg.
Therefore, most patients will be required to take their calcium three
times per day. This can become complicated given the doses need to be
separated by two hours from iron supplements or other calcium supplements
to allow the body to absorb the vitamin’s nutrients. If patients take
the vitamins at the same time they will compete for absorption and the
body will pass what is unable to be absorbed.
For more details on when
to take your vitamins, view our Vitamin and Minerals Sample Schedule. Most patients use either Citracal® or a Bariatric Advantage® product for
their calcium citrate supplement.
SourcesAmerican Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: Benefits of Bariatric Surgery.American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: Life After Bariatric Surgery.