NOT ANOTHER SUPPLEMENT! Why Taking Calcium Is So Important


By: Michelle Stewart MPH, RDLD/N, CDE

Most of us need to supplement today’s typical diet with calcium even if we have not had weight loss surgery because of the lack of calcium rich foods in our diet. Consuming adequate amounts of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens, or eating broccoli, and seafood like shrimp, sardines and salmon as well as low fat dairy, almonds, oranges, papaya, and soy products can be difficult to fit in with our busy on-the-go lifestyles.

Calcium Citrate is an essential supplement for your nutrition health after weight loss surgery for many reasons. Calcium is needed for the heart, muscles and nerves to function properly, for your blood to clot, bone health, blood pressure, hormone/enzyme production and has been shown to be beneficial in weight control. For our patients who have undergone RYGB surgery, calcium absorbtion is bypassed in the duodenum and calcium requires stomach acid for maximum uptake. Some patients also develop an aversion to dairy products and have a Vitamin D deficiency as well.

The consequences are real and we want you to avoid them as much as possible. Of course you will be checking your labs regularly as the doctor orders; this will let you know how your calcium stores stack up. Some indications of calcium deficiencies are high PTH, low serum Calcium, Calcitriol increased, bone turnover increased, bone mineral density decreased, osteoporosis, ostenopenia, and non-traumatic bone fractures can occur.

It is important that you take your calcium as directed by your surgeon and nutritionist on a daily basis. Your body cannot absorb more than 500-600 mg calcium at any one time so you must plan and take your calcium throughout the day. Don’t forget to wait two hours between takings your calcium with your iron due to iron supplementation inhibits the absorption of calcium. So take out your planner and smart phone and make sure you program a reminder like you do for all the other important events in your life.

The most current recommendations from the ASMBS Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for Surgical Weight Loss Patients are as follows: For patients who have had AGB the recommendation is 1500 mg/d, and for those who have had RYGB 1500-2000 mg/d. Of course you must follow the guidelines of your particular practice and remember calcium needs are based on your individual circumstances as well as eating adequate amounts of calcium rich foods are included in these recommendations.

Here at Building Blocks Vitamins the array of calcium citrate supplements meets everyone’s needs. You can choose capsules or chewable vitamins containing 1000 mg elemental calcium in scrumptious flavors including Black Raspberry, Chocolate, and Orange, with 600 IU Vitamin D and 200 mg Magnesium for enhanced absorption.

Are you convinced now? For more information please contact us at for more 411 on Calcium and your health.