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Treatment options should be approached is a global and systemic fashion. It is critical that the nutritional status is at its best possible and optimized for important healthy bone vitamins and minerals. Low protein needs to be corrected. Special attention should be given to nutrients, minerals and vitamins. These include Protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K1/K2to name a few.
Healthy bones require ongoing and routine force in the form of exercise to remain health. Just as exercise improves muscle strength, it also improves bone health. Exercise is also critical in improving bone structure and density. Ideally, exercise should be weight bearing and resistance. Examples include: hiking, walking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. Resistance type exercise is weight lifting and resistance bands. These exercise work by creating a pull or force on the bone either by gravity, movement or weight. Always check with your physician before beginning an exercise routine, start slowly and building up to longer periods of time. The ideal goal would be at least 30 minutes a day, every day, if you are able.
We frequently see patients immediately started on osteoporosis medications without checking or improving some of the nutritional markers noted above or without looking at exercise history. In some case, the medication recommended are contraindicated due to nutritional status.
The medications can be grouped in to those that help with new bone formation (Anabolic agents) or those that help by suppressing the bone breakdown phase (Antiresorptive agents).
National Osteoporosis Foundation has an exhaustive list (below) of medications for treatment of Osteoporosis.
The table below outlines the side effects and mechanism of the actions of the common medications used for treatment of osteoporosis which was published by the University Health News Publication on August of 2014.
With all this information, the few points to remember is that the most important factors in healthy bone structure are the nutritional status Protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K1 levels.
This is an animation of normal bone Metabolism. It shows how bone structures is taken down and rebuilt continuously. This allows for a healthy bone maintainence as we age. The key is the balance of breakdown (osteoclast) and the build up (osteoblast) activity is regulated. Osteoporosis develops when there is more breakdown that build up.
With permission of Dr. Susan Ott of University of Washington.
Additional information available on her site.
Past blogs on Bone Health.
Calcium is measured to evaluate function and adequacy of a physiologic processes. Calcium plays a critical role in several body functions such as, coagulation pathways, bone health, nerve conduction, and other functions. It is important whenever you are evaluating laboratory results that you look at the whole picture of the person, including medications, other laboratory studies and health history. One value is not a stand alone result. There are many factors that effect calcium results.
Factors that effect calcium results: (not an all inclusive list)
The two most common issues following Weight loss Surgery or Duodenal Switch may be albumin level and Vitamin D level. Please see past blogs on Vitamin D. Magnesium may also play a role in a Duodenal Switch patient.
The most common calcium result drawn is the total calcium level. Laboratory results may not explicitly label it as such, however, it measures the calcium that is bound to protein. Ionized calcium is the free calcium that is representative of the true total calcium. Ionized Calcium can be measured by ordering specific lab. Alternatively, the Ionized calcium can be calculated by the following formula: Corrected calcium mg/dL = (0.8 * (Normal Albumin – Pt’s Albumin)) + Serum Ca ) or use the calculator at the bottom of this post.
The low Albumin level accounts for the low calcium level. This may be the reason for a patient with a low albumin/protein level, also having their calcium level reported as low. However, when adjusted for the protein deficiency the corrected calcium comes into normal range. Video of Trouseau’s sign of a patient with calcium deficiency.
The first step in a patient who has low calcium reported, is to make sure their protein and albumin levels are normal, along with Vitamin D.
Calcium levels are managed by two processes major regularly hormones and influencing hormones. Controlling or major regulatory hormones include PTH, calcitonin, and vitamin D. In the kidney, vitamin D and PTH stimulate the activity of the epithelial calcium channel and the calcium-binding protein (ie, calbindin) to increase calcium absorption. Influencing hormones include thyroid hormones, growth hormone, and adrenal and gonadal steroids.
Corrected calcium = 0.8 * (4.0 – serum albumin) + serum calcium
Our practice has long discouraged the consumption of diet soda and carbonated sugary beverages for anyone, but especially our weight loss surgical patients. These products’ detrimental effects on bone health, gut microbiome, increase appetite, diarrhea, inhibited weight loss and regain shouldn’t be ignored. In addition, in the situation of limited space post Bariatric surgery, a WLS patient needs nutrient rich, protein foods. These beverages provide no nutritional value.
In addition, these products are also not recommended for non-WLS patients. Oral health, peak in insulin levels, increase weight gain, increased Type 2 DM, and diarrhea are also issues that can effect patients in addition to the above issues.
Our practice, as well as a recent article on Medical News Today Written by Jon Johnson, encourages people to:
“Saying goodbye to diet soda
Soda, whether regular or diet, is a dietary waste. Sodas have little nutrients, and have a long list of side effects. For people with diabetes, diet soda has been associated with weight gain and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Some sweeteners in diet soda even cause sugar and insulin spikes in the blood.”
We encourage the use of Stevia, which is a natural sweetener, instead of other artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a herb type plant with leave that can be used for sweetening. It has been used for many years in other countries and cultures. It contains Magnesium, Potassium, zinc, Vitamins A, B3 and C as well as fiber.
A past blog post on Carbonated Beverages and Weight loss Surgery .
Thank you to Contributor: Mariam Michelle Gyulnazaryan
Vitamins are organic, essential nutrients that are necessary to keep your body in good health. Most vitamins must be obtained through diet because they cannot be synthesized in the body. However, the human body is able to make its own vitamin D in the skin through sun exposure or it can be obtained by food and supplements of Vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for regulating muscle contraction, immune function, bone health, and intestinal absorption of magnesium, calcium, phosphate, iron, and zinc. Good sources of Vitamin D include sun exposure, dairy products, fatty fish, fortified orange juice, cod liver oil, mushrooms, and supplements.
There are two types of Vitamin D: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both types have the same mechanism of action, but different sources and kinetics.
Ergocalciferol is easily obtained through Vitamin D-rich foods in normal anatomy. However, a post Duodenal Switch patient will have less absorption of Vitamin D via food due to fat malabsorption. Ergocalciferol is hydroxylated to ercalcidiol [25(OH)D2] in the liver. Its second hydroxylation takes places in the kidney, where it is converted to the active form of Vitamin D2 known as ercalcitriol [1,25(OH)2D2]. Now in it’s active form, Vitamin D2 can bind to the Vitamin D receptor (VDR) and help the body where it’s needed.
In the epidermis of the skin, precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) forms cholecalciferol as a result of UVB radiation. Several factors such as increased skin pigmentation, age, and sunscreen application reduce the skin’s production of choleciferol (6). Cholecalciferol is hydroxylated in the liver to become calcidiol [25(OH)D3]. It is then moved to the kidney for further hydroxylation to Vitamin D3’s active form known as calcitriol [1,25(OH)2D3], also called calcifediol. The active form allows binding to VDR for biological activity.
Both forms of Vitamin D have been shown to effectively increase 25(OH)D levels. Research shows that after administering a single dose of 50,000 international units (IU) Vitamin D2 or D3, both experienced a similar increase in serum 25(OH)D concentration. However, Vitamin D2 levels rapidly declined while Vitamin D3 levels remained high (1). Further studies have confirmed that Vitamin D3 is more effective in elevating and maintaining 25(OH)D levels for a longer amount of time (5). Scientists believe the most reasonable explanation for Vitamin D3’s substantial efficacy is its higher affinity to metabolites, which results in a longer circulating half-life than Vitamin D2 making it more potent(4). For a post Duodenal Switch patient, due to fat malabsorption, it is important to use “Dry” Water Miscible form of Vitamin D3.
A 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test is the most accurate way to measure levels. A level between 20 ng/mL-50 ng/mL may be considered sufficient, however in our bariatric practice we would like to keep the levels in 60-80 ng/mL. It is worth nothing that recently the reference ranges was increase to 30-100 ng/mL. Treatments of Vitamin D deficiency include frequent sun exposure, fortified foods, supplements, and injectables. in addition to 50000IU of vitamin D on daily basis in emulsified (water soluble) formulary or unto 600,000IU in injection form. The parallel guide for adequate vitamin D supplementation is normalization of PTH levels. Monitoring these levels is imperative in a post bariatric patient.
In conclusion, studies have shown that Vitamin D2 and D3 are not interchangeable. Although they have comparable absorption, Vitamin D2 has a shorter duration of action which makes it less potent than Vitamin D3. Researchers have shown that neither form is harmful to treat Vitamin D deficiency, but they should not be considered bio-equivalent.
1. Armas LAG, Hollis BW, Heaney RP. Vitamin D2 is much less effective than Vitamin D3 in humans. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2004; 89(11) 5387-5391.
2. Creighton D, Ignaszewski A, Francis G. Vitamin D: new d-fence against cardiovascular disease. BCMJ. 2012; 54(3) 136-140.
3. Holick MF, Schnoes HK, DeLuca HF. Identification of 1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol, a form of Vitamin D3 metabolically active in the intestine. PNAS. 1971; 68(4) 803-804.
4. Hollis BW. Comparison of equilibrium and disequilibrium assay conditions for ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol and their major metabolites. J Steroid Biochem. 1984; 21(1) 81-86.
5. Houghton LA, Vieth R. The case against ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 84 (4): 694-697.
6. Howick Mf, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Gordon CM, Hanley DA, Heaney RP, Murad MH, Weaver CM. Evaluation, treatment and prevention of Vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011; 96(7) 1911-1930.
7. Johal M, Levin A. Vitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone in general populations: understandings in 2009 and applications to chronic kidney disease. CJASN. 2009; 4(9) 1508-1514.
8. Tetley EA, Brule D, Cheney MC, Davis Cd, Esslingen KA, Fischer PWF, Friedl KE, Green-Finestone LA, Guenther PM, Klurfeld DM, L’Abbe MR, McMurry KY, Starke-Reed PE, Trumbo PR. Dietary reference intakes for Vitamin D: justification for a review of the 1997 values. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89(3) 719-727.
9. Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hard K, Smith CP, Bucca G, Penson S, Chope G, Hypponen E, Berry J, Vieth R, Lanham-New S. Comparison of Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012; 95(6) 1357-1364.
Hypoparathyroidism refers to elevated level of parathyroid hormone levels (elevated or high PTH). Parathyroid glands are two small glands that are located behind the thyroid gland. The primary function is regulation of the calcium level in the bloodstream. Parathyroid levels may be abnormally elevated for a number of reasons.
There may be abnormalities within the parathyroid glands themselves including benign and malignant tumors. Laboratory studies to assist in identifying Parathyroid hyperplasia are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, PTH (parathyroid hormone), Vitamin D and possibly a 24 hour urine, kidney x-ray, and Dexa scan. The calcium levels in parathyroid hyperplasia are usually elevated and Vitamin D levels low. Patients can present with hypercalcemia symptoms such as kidney stones, nausea, vomiting, peptic ulcer, constipation, bone pain, bone weakness, depression, lethargy, fatigue. There are two types of Primary Hyperparathyroidism parathyroid hyperplasia and parathyroid adenomas. These both can at times be genetically linked.
Once the cause of elevated parathyroid hormone has been identified as primary hyperparathyroidism, the treatment involves surgical removal of one or more of the adenoma(s) or removal of 3.5 off all of the parathyroid glands if hyperplasia is diagnosed.
Parathyroid hyperplasia: When the growth involves all 4 of the glands. These may effect either one of the glands or all 4 of them. Majority of these are benign.
Parathyroid adenoma(s) refers to the abnormality or benign growth of one or more of the parathyroid glands.
2- Secondary Hyperparathyroidism
This is probably the most common cause of hyperparathyroidism imposed on a weight loss surgical patient. The elevated parathyroid hormone is the physiologic response all of the parathyroid glands to low calcium level. The parathyroid hormone is elevated in order to favor bone breakdown and make available for calcium to be circulating in the bloodstream. Parathyroid hormone also facilitates reabsorption of the calcium from the urine and improve absorption of the calcium from the GI tract.
The most common causes of secondary hyperparathyroidism is Vitamin D deficiency, weight loss surgery, kidney failure, Celiac or Crohn’s Disease. Lower levels of Vitamin D decrease the intestinal calcium absorption and thereby increasing PTH secretion. Vitamin D is the transport molecule for calcium. Symptoms may include bone or joint pain, muscle weakness, osteomalacia, low to normal blood calcium levels. The treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism is correction of the underlying low calcium, low vitamin D levels. We have our Duodenal Switch patients take calcium citrate and dry water miscible type of Vitamin D3. Some people may require vitamin D injection in order to overcome deficiencies. You can find a list of supplements on our website and/or our starting point supplement recommendation in our patient workbook
Articles on Secondary Hyperparathyroidism following Weight Loss Surgery:
August’s group meeting/webinar topic was Vitamin D. Dr. Keshishian will be adding the voice over to the slides and it will be uploaded to when it’s completed. But in the meantime here are some highlights. Webinar here.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin has many important functions including bone health, cardiovascular health, blood glucose regulation, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, muscle function, respirator function, brain development and health, and immune function. There are several very large studies investigating other functions of Vitamin D. Vitamin D knowledge is in the midst of huge changes due to these upcoming studies.
Vitamin D metabolism is a complicated process whether via photo conversion in the skin or supplementation. Either way Vitamin D metabolism requires cholesterol to be converted to its active form. The fat-solubility is the primary reason for deficiency after Doudenal Switch, due to malabsorption of fat needed for conversion of Vitamin D. The Parathyroid gland helps to regulate absorption of Vitamin D. It is an inverse mechanism, meaning a high Parathyroid level signals more absorption of Vitamin D and calcium also.
Vitamin D deficiency is a World Health Organization priority. There are several causes some related to sunscreen use, disease processes, WLS, cola intake, diet related and medications. These can compound Vitamin D deficiencies.
Dr. Keshishian has new guide lines for Vitamin D levels. Due to the changing research regarding Vitamin D these guidelines are changing. There are some endocrinologists in Vitamin D research that are recommending even high standard of Vitamin D. DS patients should be well above the border of insufficient and sufficient due to underlining contributing facts for deficiencies and the lack of absorption. Parathyroid Hormone levels are inversely related. High PTH level can indicate Vitamin D deficiency and increase need for calcium. Calcium blood levels are not a good indicator of calcium or Vitamin D needs as the body is efficient at maintaining Calcium blood levels by breaking down bone mass due to the critic bodies need for circulating calcium.
Supplementation options are as follows: Please note that most over the counter Vitamin D is not appropriate for DS absorption. DS patients need to take “Dry” water miscible Vitamin D3. Please see the previous blog post regarding https://blog.dssurgery.com/2013/08/vitamin-d-and-dry-water-soluble.html for more information and pictures of this type of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is tied to several other nutrients for metabolism such as protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Treatment for correcting iron deficiency and phosphorus intake counter act Vitamin D absorption as do other previous discussed dietary issues. Take oral Vitamin D supplements even if you are receiving injectable Vitamin D.
Be proactive in Vitamin D supplements by monitoring your yearly DS laboratory studies. Please call the office with any questions. If in need of Vitamin D injections please see the previous blog post for related research article and compounding pharmacies. Vitamin D injections are not common place.
Please take the Vitamin D injections post to your treating physician if you are unable to see Dr. Keshishian and are in need of Vitamin D injections. If your treating physician has any questions please let them know Dr. Keshishian is available to answer their questions.
Our food selections for the meeting where all high Vitamin D recipes. Tuna stuff mushroom (Tuna for Vitamin D and mushrooms are a good source of zinc), crustless artichoke and spinach quiche ignore the part of the recipe for the crust and just bake in pie plate without the crust, Panna cotta with a strawberry balsamic compote and toasted flax seed and hemp hulls. The panna cotta is made with milk or almond milk and gelatin which are all important in bone health. Hemp hulls are a protein source as is the milk.
Strawberry Balsamic Compote taken from https://nomnompaleo.com
1/4 C balsamic Vinegar
2C hulled strawberries, thinly sliced
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
In a sauce pan heat Balsamic vinegar until reduced by half and is a thick syrup. Add the rest of ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and use an immersion blender to puree some of the sauce. The texture is to your liking, so puree as much or as little as you would like. Store in a sealed container for up to a week or you can freeze it for long term storage. This site also has a almond milk Panna Cotta but this is not the recipe use at the group meeting.
Panna Cotta Recipe
1/2 C 2% milk mix with 2 1/2 tsp of unflavored gelatin in a bowl to rehydrate the gelatin let sit for 5-10 minutes
In a medium saucepan mix
3 C 2% milk or whole milk
one vanilla bean split in half or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp salt
heat until steaming but not boiling, about 5-7 minutes. Take off heat.
Mix 1/4C greek style yogurt into the milk and rehydrated gelatin. Then whisk about 1 C of hot milk mixture into the gelatin/milk. Add this mixture into pan of hot milk and whisk well. Pour hot Panna Cotta mixture into ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
In a small frying pan toast 2 TBSP Flax seed and mix with 2 TBSP hemp hulls. Before serving top with Strawberry Balsamic Compote and flax seed/hemp seed mixture to your taste.