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3 Steps Gastric Bypass Patients Can Take to Avoid Calcium Deficiency

Most Americans do not get enough calcium in their diets; the average daily intake is 500 milligrams shy of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams.

Gastric bypass patients are even more unlikely to intake adequate dietary calcium and without supplementation they may become calcium deficient which ultimately results in osteoporosis. Weight loss surgery patients are limited by the volume of calcium rich foods they may consume. In addition, the malabsorption issue resulting from gastric bypass presents another problem. Since the bowel does not readily absorb calcium and the stomach is drastically shortened there is limited opportunity for the calcium to be absorbed in the body.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body - we have two or three pounds of it, most of which is located in the bones and teeth. In addition to building bones and teeth, calcium is an electrolyte required for transmitting nerve signals, water balance, acid/alkaline balance and maintaining osmotic pressure. It helps the blood to clot and is necessary for the heart muscle function. It's long been known that calcium will aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, but new studies are identifying calcium for it's anticancer actions within the colon.

Most dietary calcium comes from dairy products but can also be found in sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables and tofu. The National Academy of Sciences has raised the calcium guideline to 1,000 milligrams a day for people under 51, and to 1,200-1,500 milligrams a day for people over 51.

Gastric bypass patients can do three things to better assimilate calcium in the body:

First, take a chewable calcium supplement twice daily.

Second, exercise consistently.

Third, enjoy sunshine every day.

Chewable supplements taken twice daily will more rapidly dissolve and assimilate into the body than hard pills. They should be 500 milligrams each; the body cannot absorb more than 500 milligrams at a time. The best supplements are calcium citrate, calcium carbonate and calcium lactate.

Next, studies show that people who exercise regularly better assimilate calcium into the body than sedentary individuals. Even though US Astronauts take calcium supplements in orbit, they return to Earth calcium deficient; NASA believes lack of physical activity prevents their bodies from assimilating the calcium.

Finally, get some sunshine. Twenty minutes a day of direct or indirect sunlight will give the body plenty of natural vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin", which is necessary for calcium assimilation.

Doing these three things will make you feel great today and will contribute to healthier aging. Osteoporosis is an epidemic in this country and is directly attributed to calcium deficiency. We all know that when an elderly person falls and breaks a hip death is imminent. Osteoporosis is nearly always the reason why hipbones break when older people fall. In the case of osteoporosis there is nothing the body can do to defend itself from the loss of calcium associated with aging. Supplementation is necessary throughout adulthood to prevent chronic calcium deficiency.

Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of and

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