For the protection of our patients, the staff will wear mask in the office.
For Telehealth follow-up and new consultations please contact us Here
1-818-812-7222 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesay 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
10 Congress St., Suite #405
Pasadena, CA 91105

Category: Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

July 2, 2014 Group Meeting Recap

July 03, 2014 7:11 am

First and foremost, We apologize for the confusion and last minute change with the webinar.  It was set to go and logged in then the internet dropped the group meeting.  The meeting site automatically marked the meeting as over.  We sent out e-mails with the new URL for the group meeting but it took time.  Thank you for your patience with this new platform.  Although far reaching, it comes with downsides and hopefully we can make this a long term way to reach our patients.  Lesson learned, don’t rely on wireless internet access for webinars.  The Anemia slides will be added to our website soon.

Ferritin is a protein that acts like your savings account.  It’s like a holding tank. When you have a blood loss your body goes to Ferritin stores for iron to increase red blood cell production. Iron is like money in your pocket.  For small and daily building of red blood cells. Transferrin is a protein transport that carries the iron.  Copper is also needed to transport iron. Iron can be readily available but will not be utilized unless your protein levels are adequate.  The protein level on laboratory studies needs to be at least 6 gm/dL & Albumin 3.2 gm/dL for adequate iron utilization.  Vitamin B12 also is needed for iron utilization.

Iron metabolism in the DS patient is limited due to several factors.  In unaltered anatomy Iron enters the stomach where it is exposed to acid and changes into a form which allows it to be absorbed.  Then it enters the duodenum which is the chief area of the small intestines where iron absorption takes place.  There is possibly a second minor site of absorption near the end of the ileum.  However,  after the DS there is a small portion of the duodenum that is left after the pyloric value for iron absorption.  Below is a list of iron rich foods.  Also remember to take Vitamin C with your iron supplements and when eating plant based iron rich foods add a food that is high in Vitamin C.

There was a brief discussion regarding Calcium oxalate kidney stones.  That talk can be found on our website.  Treatment is limiting oxalate containing foods and to increase calcium supplements to 3,000mg daily but to take half with food and the other half without food.  Also Vitamin K2 can also decrease kidney stones.

Fissures where also briefly discussed.  Fissures are most likely caused by the unopposed bile salts entering the colon after DS.  Bile is alkaline and causes irritation to the mucosa.  Treatment is liberal use of barrier type creams/ointments, controlling loose stools by watching if certain food items cause them or by using fiber with half the liquid mixed with it.  The fiber with less liquid acts as a sponge to give more form to the stool.

We had anemia themed snacks at the live group meeting.  Pate, Southwest ground Bison, and a Mayan Pumpkin seed dip. Here is the information on the nutritional value of Bison versus other meats.  It is higher in iron and Vitamin B12 and lower in fat and cholesterol.

Iron Content of Common Foods

This chart shows the amount of total iron in food. Iron from most animal sources (heme iron) usually is more readily absorbed than iron from plant sources of food (non-heme iron). Include a source of vitamin C or heme iron to improve the absorption of non-heme iron.
Sources of Predominantly Heme Iron

Beef liver, braised (3 oz)
Lean sirloin, broiled (3 oz)
Lean ground beef, broiled (3 oz)
Skinless chicken breast, roasted dark meat (3 oz)
Skinless chicken breast, roasted white meat (3 oz)
Pork, lean, roasted (3 oz)
Salmon, canned with bone (3 oz)

Sources of Non-Heme Iron

Fortified breakfast cereal (1 cup)*
4.5 – 18
Pumpkin seeds (1 oz)
Blackstrap molasses (1 Tablespoon)
Soybean nuts (1/2 cup)
Bran (1/2 cup)
Spinach, boiled (1/2 cup)
Red kidney beans, cooked (1/2 cup)
Prune juice (3/4 cup)
Lima beans, cooked (1/2 cup)
Tofu, firm (1/2 cup)
Enriched rice, cooked (1/2 cup)
Pretzels (1 oz)
Whole-wheat bread (1 slice)
Green beans, cooked (1/2 cup)
White bread, made with enriched flour (1 slice)
Egg yolk, large (1)
Peanut butter, chunky (2 tablespoons)
Apricots, dried (3)
Zucchini, cooked (1/2 cup)
Cranberry juice (3/4 cup)
Unenriched rice, cooked (1/2 cup)
Grapes (1/3 cup)
Egg white, large (1)
*The amount varies. Read the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels.
From: The American Dietetic Association’s COMPLETE FOOD & NUTRITION GUIDE, 2nd ed. 2002.
USDA National Nutrient Database

Vitamins And Minerals

March 29, 2014 5:26 pm

Vitamins -Minerals
Problems with deficiency 
B1 (Thiamine)
Carbohydrate conversion, breaks down fats and protein, digestion, nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, liver, immune system
Pork, organ meats, whole grain and enriched cereals, brown rice, wheat germ, bran, brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses
Heart, age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, fatigue
B2 (Riboflavin)
Metabolism, carbohydrate conversion, breaks down fat and protein, digestion, nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, liver, antioxidant
Brewer’s yeast, almonds, organ meats, whole grains, wheat germ, mushrooms, soy, dairy, eggs, green vegetables
Anemia, decreased free radical protection, cataracts, poor thyroid function, B6 deficiency, fatigue, elevated homocysteine
B3 (Niacin)
Energy, digestion, nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, liver, eliminates toxins, sex/stress hormones, improves circulation
Beets, brewer’s yeast, meat, poultry, organ meats, fish, seeds, and nuts
Cracking, scaling skin, digestive problems, confusion, anxiety, fatigue
B5 (Pantothenate)
RBC production, sex and stress-related hormones, immune function, healthy digestion, helps use other vitamins
Meat, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, milk, sweet potatoes, seeds, nuts, wheat germ, salmon
Stress tolerance, wound healing, skin problems, fatigue
B6 (Pyridoxine)
Enzyme protein metabolism, RBC production, reduces homocysteine, nerve and muscle cells, DNA and RNA, B12 absorption, immune function
Poultry, tuna, salmon, shrimp, beef liver, lentils, soybeans, seeds, nuts, avocados, bananas, carrots, brown rice, bran, wheat germ, whole grain flour
Depression, sleep and skin problems, elevated homocysteine, increased heart disease risk
B12 (Cobalamin)
Healthy nerve cells, DNA/RNA, RBC production, iron function
Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products
Anemia, fatigue, constipation, loss of appetite, weight, numbness and tingling in the hands ad feet, depression, dementia, poor memory, oral soreness
Carbs, fat, and amino acid metabolism (the building blocks of protein)
Salmon, meats, vegetables, grains, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, milk, sweet potatoes, seeds, nuts, wheat germ
Depression, nervous system, premature graying, hair, skin
Mental health, infant DNA/RNA, adolescence and pregnancy, with B12 to regulate RBC production, iron function, reduce homocysteine
Supplementation, fortified grains, tomato juice, green vegetables, black-eyed peas, lentils, beans
Anemia, immune function, fatigue, insomnia, hair, high homocysteine, heart disease
Eyes, immune function, skin, essential cell growth and development
Milk, eggs, liver, fortified cereals, orange or green vegetables and fruits
Night blindness, immune function, zinc deficiency, fat malabsorption
Calcium and phosphorus levels, calcium absorption, bone mineralization
Sunlight, milk, egg yolk, liver, fish
Osteoporosis, calcium absorption, thyroid
Vitamin E
Antioxidant, regulates oxidation reactions, stabilizes cell membrane, immune function, protects against cardiovascular disease, cataracts, macular degeneration
Wheat germ, liver, eggs, nuts, seeds, cold pressed vegetable oils, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus
Skin, hair, rupturing of red blood cells, anemia, bruising, PMS< hot flashes, eczema, psoriasis, cataracts, wound healing, muscle weakness, sterility
Bones, teeth, helps heart, nerves, muscles, body systems work properly, needs other nutrients to function
Dairy, wheat/soy flour, molasses, brewer’s yeast, Brazil nuts, broccoli, cabbage, dark leafy greens, hazelnuts, oysters, sardines, canned salmon
Osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis, muscle cramps, irritability, acute anxiety, colon cancer risk
Assists insulin function, increased fertility, carbohydrate/fat metabolism, essential for fetal growth/development
Supplementation, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, seafood, green beans, broccoli, prunes, nuts, potatoes, meat
Metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance decreased fertility
300 biochemical reactions, muscle/nerve function, heart rhythm, immune system, strong bones, regulates calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D
Green vegetables, beans & peas, nuts and seeds, whole unprocessed grain
Appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, numbness, tingling, cramps, seizures, personality changes, heart rhythm, heart spasms
Antioxidant, works with vitamin E, immune function, prostaglandin production
Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, liver, butter, cold water fish, shellfish, garlic, whole grains, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts
Destruction to heart/pancreas, sore muscles, fragility of red blood cells, immune system
Supports enzymes, immune system, wound healing, taste/smell, DNA synthesis, normal growth & development during pregnancy, childhood adolescence
Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy
Growth retardation, hair loss, diarrhea, impotence, eye & skin lesions, loss of appetite, taste, weight loss, wound healing, mental lethargy
Powerful antioxidant, stops oxidation of LDL cholesterol, energy production, important to heart, liver, and kidneys
Oily fish, organ meats, and whole grains
Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, mitral valve prolapsed, fatigue, gingivitis, immune system stroke, cardiac arrhythmias
Energy, heart function, oxidize amino acids for energy, metabolize ketones
Red meat, dairy, fish, poultry, (fermented soybeans), wheat, asparagus, avocados, peanut butter
Elevated cholesterol, liver function, muscle weakness, reduced energy, impaired glucose control
N-Acetyl Cystein (NAC) & Glutathione
Glutathione production, lowers homocysteine, lipoprotein, heal lungs, inflammation, decrease muscle fatigue, liver detoxification, immune function
Meats, ricotta, cottage cheese, yogurt, wheat germ, granola, and oat flakes
Free radical overload, elevated homocysteine, cancer risk, cataracts, macular degeneration, immune function, toxin elimination
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Energy, blood flow to nerves, glutathione levels in brain, insulin sensitivity, effectiveness of vitamins C, E, antioxidants
Supplementation, spinach, broccoli, beef, brewer’s yeast, some organ meats
Diabetic neuropathy, reduced muscle mass, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, failure to thrive, brain atrophy, high lactic acid

Fancy Drinks and Iced Teas

February 27, 2014 3:00 am

Most of you may have heard me emphasize the importance of adequate hydration after surgery. At the same time I would be the first one to admit that drinking plain water gets old very quickly. I also do not recommend carbonated drinks (diet or regular). Most commercial products such as Crystal light also contain artificial sweeteners which in my opinion are to be avoided. Please note that there is extensive information here on my website on this topic.

One of the most benign looking drinks may be the refreshers that are available at Starbucks. An example of it is Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refreshers™ Beverage.  It contains 21 g of sugar and 100 calories in a 24 ounce serving size.  Note that  it also contains 70-85mg of  caffeine.

Having some of these drinks on occasion  will do no harm.  However I would not recommend these drinks to replace water  as means of hydration. High content of  Caffeine can result in oxalate crystal formation. This predisposes a post weight loss surgical patient to much higher chance of kidney stone formations.


Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refresher Food Label
Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refresher Food Label

Absorption of Minerals and Metals

January 12, 2009 6:42 am

The vast bulk of mineral absorption occurs in the small intestine. The best-studied mechanisms of absorption are clearly for calcium and iron, deficiencies of which are significant health problems throughout the world.

Minerals are clearly required for health, but most also are quite toxic when present at higher than normal concentrations. Thus, there is a physiologic challenge of supporting efficient but limited absorption. In many cases intestinal absorption is a key regulatory step in mineral homeostasis.


The quantity of calcium absorbed in the intestine is controlled by how much calcium has been in the diet during recent periods of time. Calcium is absorbed by two distinct mechanism, and their relative magnitude of importance is set by dietary calcium “history”:.

Cellular Iron Absorption
  1. Active, transcellular absorption occurs only in the duodenum when calcium intake has been low. This process involves import of calcium into the enterocyte, transport across the cell, and export into extracellular fluid and blood. Calcium enters the intestinal epithelial cells through voltage insensitive channels and is pumped out of the cell via a calcium- ATPase.The rate limiting step in transcellular calcium absorption is transport across the epithelial cell, which is greatly enhanced by the carrier protein calbindin, the synthesis of which is totally dependent on vitamin D.
  2. Passive, paracellular absorption occurs in the jejunum and ileum, and, to a much lesser extent, in the colon when dietary calcium levels have been moderate or high. In this case, ionized calcium diffuses through tight junctions into the basolateral spaces around enterocytes, and hence into blood. Such transport depends on having higher concentrations of free calcium in the intestinal lumen than in blood. Additional Calcium information here.


Phosphorus is predominantly absorbed as inorganic phosphate in the upper small intestine. Phosphate is transported into the epithelial cells by contransport with sodium, and expression of this (or these) transporters is enhanced by vitamin D.


Iron homeostasis is regulated at the level of intestinal absorption, and it is important that adequate but not excessive quantities of iron be absorbed from the diet. Inadequate absorption can lead to iron-deficiency disorders such as anemia. On the other hand, excessive iron is toxic because mammals do not have a physiologic pathway for its elimination. Iron is absorbed by villus enterocytes in the proximal duodenum. Efficient absorption requires an acidic environment, and antacids or other conditions that interfere with gastric acid secretion can interfere with iron absorption.

Ferric iron (Fe+++) in the duodenal lumen is reduced to its ferrous form through the action of a brush border ferrireductase. Iron is the co-transported with a proton into the enterocyte via the divalent metal transporter DMT-1. This transporter is not specific for iron, and also transports many divalent metal ions.


Once inside the enterocyte, iron follows one of two major pathways. Which path is taken depends on a complex programming of the cell based on both dietary and systemic iron loads:

  1. Iron abundance states: iron within the enterocyte is trapped by incorporation into ferritin and hence, not transported into blood. When the enterocyte dies and is shed, this iron is lost.
  2. Iron limiting states: iron is exported out of the enterocyte via a transporter (ferroportin) located in the basolateral membrane. It then binds to the iron-carrier transferrin for transport throughout the body.

Iron in the form of heme, from ingestion of hemoglobin or myoglobin, is also readily absorbed. In this case, it appears that intact heme is take up by the small intestinal enterocyte by endocytosis. Once inside the enterocyte, iron is liberated and essentially follows the same pathway for export as absorbed inorganic iron. Some heme may be transported intact into the circulation. Additional Iron information here.


There appear to be two processes responsible for copper absorption – a rapid, low capacity system and a slower, high capacity system, which may be similar to the two processes seen with calcium absorption. Many of the molecular details of copper absorption remain to be elucidated. Inactivating mutations in the gene encoding an intracellular copper ATPase have been shown responsible for the failure of intestinal copper absorption in Menkes disease. A number of dietary factors have been shown to influence copper absorption. For example, excessive dietary intake of either zinc or olybdenum can induce secondary copper deficiency states. Additional Copper information here.


Zinc homeostasis is largely regulated by its uptake and loss through the small intestine. Although a number of zinc transporters and binding proteins have been identified in villus epithelial cells, a detailed picture of the molecules involved in zinc absorption is not yet in hand. Intestinal excretion of zinc occurs via shedding of epithelial cells and in pancreatic and biliary secretions. A number of nutritional factors have been identified that modulate zinc absorption. Certain animal proteins in the diet enhance zinc absorption. Phytates from dietary plant material (including cereal grains, corn, rice) chelate zinc and inhibit its absorption. Subsistence on phytate-rich diets is thought responsible for a considerable fraction of human zinc deficiencies. Additional Zinc Information here