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Protein Intake

October 14, 2019 7:08 am

Protein intake requirements change over time following weight loss surgery. This is based on the requirements imposed on our body by a number of variables. These include, activity level, muscle mass, over all health condition to name a few.

A very young muscular athletic male with a BMI or 30 will require much higher protein intake (and absorption) that an inactive older Female with the same BMI. The same young athletic male will require much higher protein intake is he is recovering from a surgery than his baseline.

As we have stated in the past, the protein intake, should be adequate and not excessive. High level of protein intake that are not accounted  for based on muscle mass and activity level, will eventually result in weight gain. The best measure of protein intake in a stable weight patient over 3-4 years post op  is their albumin and protein level. Following your yearly laboratory values at a minimum is an important part of weight loss surgery follow up care.

You also need to adjust protein intake when necessary. Protein needs increase depending on physical needs, infection, healing, pregnancy, surgery, age, injury, etc. Plastic surgery requires higher protein needs for appropriate healing.

Information on protein sources and quality here.

The basic formula for protein intake is 1gm/kg of ideal body weight. The calculator below will provide a guide for the protein into based on your stable weight in lbs.

Overfed But Undernourished

October 01, 2019 11:27 am

Obesity is related to as many as 400,000 deaths each year in the US and it has increasingly been recognized as a risk factor for several nutrient deficiencies. This may seem surprising given the likelihood of over consumption of calories, however these additional calories are not from nutritious sources. One of the main reason for these nutritional deficits is the greater availability of inexpensive foods that are rich in calories and are nutrient deficient. This has led some medical professional to conclude that there is a certain group of people who are overfed but undernourished.  Even with the epidemic of the obesity, there is significant nutritional deficiencies noted.

Obese subjects have increased blood volume, cardiac output, adiposity, lean mass and organ size all of which can influence volume of distribution, in addition, treatment for severe obesity involving surgical procedures can worsen these nutrient deficiencies and in some cases may cause new ones to develop.

This table shows the percentage of population below the estimated average requirement (EAR) by body weight status in adults more tan 19 years old, showing that almost 90 to 100 percent of people including normal weight (NW) are below the EAR of vitamin D and Vitamin E.

Nutrition TableNutritional deficiencies in obese patients may promote the development of chronic diseases including increased insulin resistance, pancreatic B-cell disfunction and diabetes, this is because specific micronutrients are involved in glucose metabolic pathways; There are other chronic diseases related to obesity that are being investigated such as decrease in focal grey matter volume and cognitive impairment or inadequate sleep due to low intake of antioxidant vitamins.

We would like to thank Miguel Rosado, MD for his significant contribution provided for this Blog.

Flagyl

September 25, 2019 9:07 am

Flagyl is sometimes prescribed for excessive gas and diarrhea. It is an antibiotics that works well on certain bacteria that accumulates in the GI tract and contributes to the gas and the bloating. 

These bad bacteria flourish when patients consume significant and excessive fiber and carbohydrates (sugars, salad, pasta etc.) The FIRST line of defense against flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea should be eleminating the culprits in the diet.  This point can not be stressed enough.   Adding a daily dose of yogurt may improve symptoms due to yogurts probiotic benefits. To be beneficial, Yogurt should contain live bacteria cultures, not contain artificial sweeteners or have a high sugar content.

Artificial sweetness also area source of the excessive gas and should be avoided.

The Flagyl eliminates and reduces the bad bacteria. Along with a Probiotic and healthy dietary choices Flagyl can help to significantly improved or eliminate those symptoms of gas and diarrhea.

Before Flagyl is prescribed, it is important that the diet is critically examined to make sure that the carbohydrates and the fiber as source of gas and bloating is minimized or eliminated. Excessive use of medications that may be needed for other infections should be avoided.

Chronic diarrhea should be evaluated to rule out GI infection with C. diff bacteria or other bacteria or parasite.

 

Additional Information on C. Diff (Clostridium Difficile)  and probiotics.

Vitamin A, Absorption, and Wound Healing

September 25, 2019 8:39 am

Vitamin A is one of the 4 fat soluble vitamins along with vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. It is multifunctional  and essential which means that it is not produced by the body.  In this article we will touch on aspects of Vitamin A absorption and it’s effect on wound healing as well as its metabolism.

We often think of Vitamin A as the critical vitamin for vision, however it has several other roles that related to immune function, protein synthesis, and cellular communication.  Vitamin A deficiency is a concern world wide because of the natural of the side effects. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness in the world according to UNICEF and sometimes it may be undetected until there is irreversible damage.

There are 2 chemical forms of vitamin A in diet:

Retinoids (Preformed vitamin A) This group include retinol, retinyl esters, and retinal they are mostly found in animal sources like liver, egg yolk or fish oils.

Carotenoids (Provitamin A) This group includes beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene, mainly found in plant sources like leafy vegetables or yellow/orange vegetables and fruits. 

The Physiology of the Vitamin A is as follows:

1.- Ingested food is digested in the stomach where retinyl palmitates (esters) are released from proteins. Retinol and beta-carotene are absorbed directly into the small intestine where retinyl esters and betacarotene are transformed into retinol . Retinol is the most easily absorbed form of vitamin A.

2.-That retinol absorbed by the enterocytes in the ileum (small intestine) along with bile is then  transported to the liver with the help of chylomicrons a protein that transports fat.

3.-Fifty to 80% of the vitamin A is stored in the liver and the remaining is deposited into adipose tissue, lungs and kidneys.

4.-When stored retinol is released from the liver into the circulation to target organs, it is bound to plasma retinol-binding protein (RBP4) a transporting protein produced by the liver that requires ZINC, which is synthesized by the liver; This complex is stabilized by transthyretin (TTR), which reduces renal excretion.

Retinol is a crucial component for reproduction, embryological development, cellular differentiation, growth, protein synthesis, and immunity in the form of retinoic acid and vision in the form of retinal. 

One of Vitamin A additional roles is in epithelial health of skin and mucous membranes. It increases epithelial turnover which is crucial during would healing. It also has anti-oxidative effects which prevent cell damage and can prevent or reverse the effects of other damaging agents.  In addition to these benefits it has also been associated with increasing collagen, fibronectin, keratinocytes and fibroblast, all important in wound tissue structure. There have been some studies that suggest giving higher doses of Vitamin A in patients with non or slow healing wounds.

It is important to remember that we have documents delayed diagnosis of adult vitamin A deficiency leading to significant night blindness in adults.  It is critical that the patients and their primary care physicians are acutely aware of this possibility.  In majority of the patients with low vitamin A, post weight loss surgery, aggressive supplementations, including injections need to be considered as a part of the treatment regimen.

We would like to thank Miguel Rosado, MD for his significant contribution provided for this Blog.

Colonic Volvulus

September 10, 2019 11:23 am

A volvulus is when a loop of intestine twists around itself and the mesentery that supports it, resulting in a bowel obstruction that can compromise intestinal blood flow. For this reason, it tends to be a surgical emergency which requires prompt attention; failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of intestinal volvulus may lead to bowel ischemia and perforation. A volvulus can develop anywhere along the intestine, however for this blog we will discuss types of Colonic Volvulus.

The most common forms of volvulus in gastrointestinal tract is sigmoid followed by cecal volvulus, these are both colonic volvulus. Sigmoid volvulus is responsible for 80% of intestinal obstructions. High-fiber diets and chronic constipation are common risk factors because they cause increased gas and sigmoid colon elongation. Worldwide the incidence in men is much higher than in women, and this may be explained by the mesenteric shape, which tends to be longer and have a narrower base. In weight loss surgical patients specifically, such as Duodenal Switch, increased gas and diarrhea is common in those patients who have carbohydrate and fiber rich diets. In some cases, they are recommended to have high fiber diet by other providers who may not be aware that this may only be complicating the problem and exacerbating the symptoms. The solution would not include adding fiber but rather eliminating the underlying food items causing the increased gas and diarrhea.

The presentation of volvulus is much the same, regardless of its anatomic site; Cramping abdominal pain, distention and constipation are present. With progressive obstruction, nausea and vomiting will occur.

A definitive diagnosis is made with a CT scan, and the treatment is generally a bowel resection. However in the case of a sigmoid volvulus an urgent endoscopic detorsion may be attempted first, only if there are no signs of ischemia. The risk of recurrence following endoscopic detorsion alone is as high as 90% and carries a high risk of mortality up to 35%, therefore definitive elective sigmoid resection is recommended. 

Here is a short video of an operation.

We would like to thank Miguel Rosado, MD for his significant contributions provided in this Blog.

Sleeve And Weight Regain

July 22, 2019 9:50 am

Sleeve gastrectomy has become the most frequently performed operation in the US. Sleeve as a part of the Duodenal Switch or as a stand alone operation has been offered in our practice for nearly 20 years. As a precondition to this, patients’ choosing to have the sleeve, especially with high BMI (>45) and those with metabolic conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol or triglycerides, PCOS, and others) we have always recommended Duodenal Switch as the procedure of choice instead of the Sleeve Gastrectomy due to improved and lasting co-morbid resolution  and weight loss maintenance with Duodenal Switch. It has been know for years that a sizable number of patients having the sleeve will experience weight regain requiring conversion to the duodenal switch or the RNY Gastric Bypass. Majority of the patients having gained weight after sleeve, or experiencing the return of co-morbidities after a transient resolution during the their weight loss phase, should only be revised to the Duodenal switch operation in my opinion. The alternative procedures of SIPS and SADI or similar single anastomosis operation with confusing nomenclature should be avoided, since as of the publication of this blog they are still considered investigational by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) with no long term data.  The only plausible reason for revision of the Sleeve to the gastric bypass (RNY) would be those patients who are experiencing reflux. Felsernreich et.al. demonstrated that 10 years after sleeve gastrectomy  33% were requiring revisions of their sleeve due to weight regain or reflux. 66% needed revision for weight loss and only 34% for reflux. Those patients who have revision to gastric bypass (in their practice all being revised with two exception) had resolution of their reflux however had no sustained weight loss after the revisions. This supports our position that we have had for years that the those patient who had the sleeve and are experiencing weight regain, recurrence of comorbidities inadequate weight loss ahould all be revised to the duodenal switch operation.

Sunscreen

June 27, 2019 3:03 am

Recently there has been some research and concern regarding sunscreen and the chemicals within them. This has led to findings that can be concerning but that need further research.

Post weight loss surgical patients, and in general patients who suffer with obesity, before or after weight loss surgery, have low vitamin D level. This may be caused by a number of factors. One such factor may be the reluctance to get skin exposed to sunlight in order for the bodies natural Vitamin D pathways functioning.

The recommendations are for daily exposure to sun. This not only is critical to the vitamin D metabolic pathways, but also help with bone health, immune function, mood, counteracting depression.

In a recently published online article, concerns were raised that some of the ingredients of some of few sunscreens are absorbed in the blood stream. This is a small study, and as the results indicates, it is not recommending to stop using the sun screens. Be aware of your sun exposure, timing exposure, and the ingredients in your sunscreen.

You can find past blog posts on Vitamin D, Bone health, etc here

Thyroid Medication Absorption And Weight Loss Surgery

June 10, 2019 8:59 am

Question : “Do I have to take higher dose of thyroid medication after the duodenal switch? ”

Answer : “Maybe”

With all weight loss surgical procedures, there may be changes to absorption of medications. It is easily understood why duodenal switch may results in decreased absorption of fat-soluble medication. What is not as clear is the reduction in absorption of other medication with procedures that do not explicitly change the absorption at the level of the small bowel directly.

The research data is all over on this topic. There is published literature that shows improvement in the thyroid function after gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy.  However, the exact mechanism is not completely understood.

There is research that reports “…decreased postoperative levothyroxine requirements.” Other have shows no correlation between the length of the bowel distal to duodenum to absorption of thyroid medication.

With all this confusing data, the best course would be to always “treat the patient and not the lab results.”

If a patients who has been on medications with stable number and symptoms,  suddenly presents with complaints of hypothyroidism after weight loss surgery, it’s possible the medications should be up adjusted even if the thyroid lab values may not be as defining.

   

Osteoporosis Medications, Action and Side Effects

May 25, 2019 3:40 pm

Recently I had a short live presentation on the subject of osteoporosis, osteoporosis medications, and the treatment options of this deteriorating bone condition. A patient who has had a bone scan may be diagnosed with Osteopenia and/or Osteoporosis. This information is usually conveyed by the forms of a Low T score. Both of these indicated demineralization of the bones, and the end result is  worsening of the bone structure. This leads to weaker bones and higher chance of fracture due to stress or trauma.

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 ProteinCalcium, 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).

Groups of Medication

 

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.

Mechanism Of Action And Side Effects

 

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.

Protein Sources

May 16, 2019 10:26 am

Not all proteins are created equally. The protein that we digest serves as the source of the essential amino acids, (the building blocks which make up a protein). The essential amino acids can not be made in out body. Protein sources can be animal or plant based.  We’ve written a in-depth explanation of protein sources in this previous blog: Protein Optimization

The proteins can also be decided into two categories:

1-High quality  or Complete proteins

Complete proteins contain all the indispensable amino acids that we need. Animal based proteins for the most part are complete proteins. These include cheese, mean, fish, mild, yogurt, egg and poetry.

 

2-Low quality or Incomplete proteins

Incomplete protein are mostly plant based proteins. In most cases, the incomplete proteins either lack or have insufficient about of the one or a number of amino acids to be able to satisfy our nutritional requirements.

This is why we general recommend animal based proteins.

Following weight loss surgery there are some guidelines that can be helpful in our previous blog: Importance of Protein.

There is also much discussion on whey protein. There is a brief and good explanation on this subject here.

Recipes for protein shakes.