The Right Choice: Understanding Calcium Supplements.

White Calcium PillsWelcome to post surgery new beginnings! By now you’ve figured out that the real journey has just begun. It’s an exciting time of establishing new habits and ways of living that will impact your long-term success. Supplements ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs as you consume less food.

They’re important now because not only are you unable to take in enough food to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements, but also you’ll have a decreased ability to digest and absorb certain nutrients. Today I’m focusing on calcium.

After gastric bypass surgery, your body’s gastric acid production decreases. There are two reasons for this. First, you’ll have less acid because of the decrease in the size of the gastric pouch. And second, most patients will take an anti-ulcer medication after surgery that reduces gastric acid production. So I’m sure you’re wondering, ‘what does gastric acid have to do with my calcium choice?’

Quite simply, the two types of calcium supplements function differently. Calcium carbonate requires gastric acid for proper absorption. Calcium citrate can be absorbed in a less acidic environment. This is why calcium citrate is the way to go. The citrate product has a 30% better absorption rate than carbonate.

Calcium doses vary according to research. The recommendations from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) are 1500mg to 1800mg daily. These doses should be separated out into three 500mg doses for the best absorption.