Weight Loss Surgery - Calcium?

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12-28-2005, 10:25 PM
What do you all take for calcium supplementation? I was chatting with a pharmacist friend today and she was telling me I should not be using the viactiv type chewables. Said the calcium carbonate will not absorb in us correctly, and I should take calcium citrate or coral calcium in a liquid form. My surgeons office and the associated dieticians recommend the viactivs, so I wonder why a pharmacist would know any better? I will put a call in to the dr office in the morning, but thought I would ask you all tonight.


12-28-2005, 10:30 PM
look up chia seeds they have five times the calcuim of milk plus boron that transfers it into the bones.

12-28-2005, 10:34 PM
Your pharmacist is right. Doctors are not always the most current in their information about supplements.

Coral calcium was considered a preferred source of calcium for many years and calcium citrate is one of the most bio-available. Generally, I recommend a combination of calcium sources in one supplement with a good balance of magnesium citrate (avoid the caltrate in mag as well as in calcium), vitamin D and vitamin C is very critical.

Good suggestion remiteas, and I'd put them into a grinder for anyone who has had WLS for optimal benefit.

12-28-2005, 10:47 PM
I wound up buying a bottle of vanilla flavored coral calcium to try and make the switch. I know I must have some nutritional issues going on, my hair is coming out (I am 5 mo post op) and my nails are getting soft. I am upping my protien and adding some biotin as well. This is what started the whole vitamin conversation with my friend. I have done some reading on the web and it does sound like anything carbonate is not a good fit for those of us RNY post ops.

I feel like I am out there fending for myself in terms of vitamins and such, doctors can't agree on guidlines. Its just frustrating.

12-28-2005, 11:00 PM
Yep, your pharmacist got it right. I received a whole nutrition package from the dietician and one of the things it talked about was calcium. Calcium citrate or coral calcium are PREFERABLE but hard to find so calcium carbonate is alright if that's all you can get (better than nothing). Viactin was listed as ok under the calcium carbonate choices. When I was stocking up pre-surgery I couldn't find any chewable/liquid calcium citrate so I am doing calcium carbonate (OsCal chewable) for now and will try a health food store for the calcium citrate when the current batch runs out.

12-28-2005, 11:39 PM
citrate, picolinate, just about any form except carbonate.
not only are viactivs hard-to-absorb carbonate, they're also 20 calories each, so taking 5 in a day - not an unusual dose - and you've hit 100 calories! i'd rather not waste the calories on something that doesn't do me any good.

i'm not having great luck with calcium. for now - until i find a readily accessible source - i'm getting by with caltrate. it IS better than nothing, but it's not ideal over the long haul.

indigo child
12-29-2005, 02:27 AM
What is wrong with Caltrate?:?:

12-29-2005, 11:56 AM
it's mostly carbonate. unfortunately.

12-29-2005, 01:19 PM
In terms of calcium abosorption, recent studies (although you can guess who funds them since large companies like TUMS for instance use calcium carbonate exclusively) calcium citrate showed a higher level of calcium in urine and equal levels in blood serum when compared with carbonate. There are two main issues when considering the two (and coral calcium as well). One is the source of the calcium (carbonate comes from oyster shell) and the second is cost. Carbonate is the cheapest.

But, having said that I would suggest that where possible calcium coming from dairy sources - lactate calcium - is the best choice and especially for women. Here's why. Recent studies have shown that when women increased their lactate calcium levels with NO other weight loss efforts, they lost weight. The benefits were measurable with as little as an increase of 600mg. daily, then upward in increments of 900 and optimal with 1200 mg. daily. There have been three large studies documenting this and the benefits seemed dependent on the calcium coming from a dairy source. This also seems of particular benefit to women with PCOS.

I never suggest less than 1200mg. of calcium daily no matter what the source.

indigo child
12-30-2005, 01:57 AM
Is drinking 2 cups of milk a day good enough? :?:

12-30-2005, 11:04 AM
The short answer is no.

Here's a brief food list with mg of calcium per serving in each. Milk will fall short by about 50% based on two cups of 2% each at around 300mg give or take. There are also problems with lactose drinking that much milk, and digestion/assimilation of the calcium. As far as dairy goes, whole milk yogurt is a better choice but your calories will also climb up there in a hurry. I'd be more inclined to suggest one cup of yogurt a day (without sugar and dumping is far less likely to occur with whole milk yogurt than with non fat) and to still supplement. Remember, elemental calcium along with all other nutrients in doses for the average person are not going to be picked up by your body after WLS where malabsorption is a problem to the same extent.

Also, particularly at your age and with weight loss such as you are experiencing your need for calcium with the proper balance of magnesium and Vitamin D, (and phosphorous and Vit. K and manganese), most of which are added to a good Calcium supplement are extremely important.

Yogurt, plain, low fat 8 oz 415
Collards, frozen, boiled 1 cup 357
Skim milk 1 cup 306
Spinach, frozen, boiled 1 cup 291
Yogurt, plain, whole milk 8 oz 275
Cheese food, pasteurized American 1 oz 162
Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat 1 cup 138
Baked beans, canned 1 cup 154
Iceberg lettuce 1 head 97
Canned salmon 3 oz 181
Oranges 1 cup 72
Trail mix (nuts, seeds, chocolate chips) 1 cup 159
Almonds 1 oz (24 nuts) 70
Blackeye peas, boiled 1 cup 211
Green peas, boiled 1 cup 94