Bariatric Support Group
Facilitator: Chris Bovos, RN, CBN, Bariatric Coordinator
Chris presented a PowerPoint on keeping your bones strong. We reviewed that your bones have a couple of functions – providing a shape for your body and being a storehouse for calcium so they can be called on when the body needs to increase the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. Since calcium is critical for functioning of muscles, and the heart is a muscle, the kidneys monitor the level of calcium and withdraw calcium from the bones as needed by activating the parathyroid gland to produce a hormone that then leeches calcium from the bones. If this happens too often, your bones become weaker and more prone to fracture.
We discussed the 3 essential nutrients that are important for bone health – Calcium citrate, Vitamin D3 and Protein – what they each do and what foods you can obtain them from. But in addition, after bariatric surgery, you need more calcium over and above what you are able to eat, which is why taking calcium daily is so important. Unfortunately, the research shows that a large percentage of bariatric patients feel good after a year and then stop taking their supplements. Over time, their bones become thinner and more brittle, and osteoporosis can set in.
So it is crucial for everyone to continue to take calcium daily. If you take iron, you need to take your calcium at least 2 hours before or after your iron. Exercise is also important to preserve bone density, as is follow up lab testing and bone density scans at least every few years.