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Gastric Bypass Meals To Deal With The Higher Risk Of Osteoporosis

People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are at increased risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are an important consideration when designing post gastric bypass meals.

Strong bones are most commonly associated with eating well, exercising and getting enough vitamin D. People who have been overweight for many years may have been compromising their bone health for awhile before electing to undergo surgery. Adding the right calcium and vitamin D supplements to post gastric bypass meals can be an excellent way of protecting future bone health.


Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium needed to build strong bones. People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more generally have low levels of vitamin D because the vitamin is absorbed into the body fat rather than migrating to the bones. A gastric bypass will normally reduce the amount of body fat that is sequestering the vitamin D- but then ensures that food and supplements bypass the part of the upper small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed.

The US National Osteoporosis Society recommends that 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily be added to gastric bypass meals. Some doctors recommend 5,000-10,000 IUs in order to reach and maintain the optimal levels for maintaining bone density. Bloods levels may be checked every three months after beginning the vitamin supplements to ensure that the levels are stable and adequate.


Calcium (preferably combined with magnesium) is also important for preventing osteoporosis. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends that 1500 - 2000 mg of calcium be added to meals after surgery and that these supplements be spaced out in 500 mg doses to optimize absorption.

Unfortunately, calcium is not easily absorbed into the bones and surgery further complicates absorption in two ways. All versions of gastric bypass surgery bypass the duodenum, which is the primary site of calcium absorption. Calcium absorption may then be further compromised by low stomach acid. After gastric bypass surgery there is an increase in the number of acid producing cells in the lining of the stomach. Many doctors prescribe acid lowering medications to counteract the high acidity levels, which then results in insufficient stomach acid to properly break down the much needed calcium. Surprisingly, an alkaline diet rich in fruit and vegetables (rather than an acidic diet with lots of meat) will help calcium to migrate into the bones where it belongs.


Many doctors recommend calcium citrate (rather than the more common calcium carbonate) because it is more easily absorbed when a person suffers from low stomach acid. As pills may get stuck in the small opening between the stomach and small intestine during the early weeks after surgery, liquid calcium citrate is perhaps the easiest way to add calcium to your post gastric bypass meals. It is also readily available online if not at your local health food store.

As supplements will be a lifelong addition to your post gastric bypass meals, it is important to find an affordable brand that provides all the vitamins and minerals that you need to protect your bones. A year’s supply of liquid calcium, magnesium and vitamin D can be purchased for less than $100 ... although additional vitamin D is usually recommended.