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
Corrected Calcium Level Calculator
You may have heard that I will be giving a lecture at the California Dental Association’s 2017 meeting. In preparation for the lecture, I have come across some excellent information with the assistance of and dental resources from Dr. Armen Mardirossian of Mardirossian Periodontics and Implants.
The following Dental Resources are part of many of the resources I have used to complete this lecture series for the Dental Association. Periodontal disease can effect every body system and should be addressed to avoid further damage and complications. We can not over emphasize the importance of good dental care. In addition, following weight loss surgery, supplementation of vitamins and minerals is extremely important. Always seek the care of a professional when dealing with dental issues or other physical symptoms.
We are sharing these resources with our patient population in order to shed some light on this topic. You can also find a previous webinar on the topic of Dental Issues After Weight Loss Surgery here.
Complete Dental Resources here (click on blue links)
Thank you Dr. Mardirossian for your assistance.
Let’s get back on track 2017 after the holiday season! The holidays were wonderful but if you find yourself with a few extra souvenirs don’t feel alone. The average American gains between 1-8 pounds during the holiday season and I am no exception. Let’s get back on track 2017 together.
Time to clear out the kitchen! Disposing of temptations and high trigger foods is the first step to getting back on track. If the food isn’t easily acquired then it is less likely to be consumed.
Stock up on high protein and whole, unprocessed foods that are low carbohydrate and nutrient dense. When quality foods are easily available we are more likely to stay on track with the types of foods we should be eating. Simple sugars/carbohydrates are the biggest culprit of holiday weight gain. We need to go back to the basics of hydration, high protein, low carbohydrate/sugar, vitamin/mineral supplements and exercise. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are easy for our bodies to use and absorb and cutting them back can jump start your weight loss. Each individual needs to identify the daily carbohydrate intake that works for them. Some people stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. You may also need to look at your protein and fat intake. All excess nutrients absorbed have the potential to turn into fat mass and inhibit weight loss. Metabolism video.
Hydration is an important ways to start getting back on track. Water is essential to life functions. The brain is 85% water, blood is 80% and muscle is about 70% water. Hydration aids in digestion, eliminating waste, byproducts and toxins. It also can decrease the feeling of hunger. Lack of hydration can increase fatigue which can lead to craving high carbohydrate foods to increase energy.
Protein’s importance in almost every bodily function and muscle mass can not be ignored. High quality complete Protein sustains muscle mass during weight loss, aids immunity, antioxidant function, and enhances leptin and insulin function. Filling up on protein first will help with carbohydrate carvings and give a sustained satisfied feeling. A prior blog post gives additional information on the importance of protein and the effects of protein malnutrition. WLS makes daily protein intake important but especially after Duodenal Switch, protein is a necessity of daily life.
Vitamins, minerals and supplements will ensure the body has the nutrients it needs to function adequately and can keep cravings at bay. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can cause cravings for foods. Vitamin and minerals are essential to muscle function, red blood cell production, bone health, and numerous other physiologic functions. We may all slack off on our supplements occasionally but now is the time to get back into the habit of daily vitamins and mineral supplements. A daily vitamin, mineral, and supplement routine is a lifetime commitment after Duodenal Switch or any WLS. Here is a list of commonly used supplements.
Exercise can increase weight loss, overall well being, mental well being, mood, alertness, improve digestion, improve sleep, and increases energy levels. Exercise does not have to be a daunting task. Simply adding 15-30 minutes of activity can give added benefits. Yoga, walking, dancing, lifting weights, hiking, and sports activities can be included or added to more traditional forms of exercise. There are many free online videos for all types of exercise available.
Finding a new hobby can keep both your hands and mind busy, curbing the unconscious eating of foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Adult coloring books, drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, dance lessons, gardening, learning to play an instrument and many others are great ways to use your time and expand your quality of life and brain function. New hobbies can also help establish new coping skills. Our previous post on Coping Skills After Bariatric Surgery can be found here. There are a whole host of online videos for “how to” on new hobbies.
Teaming up with others can also help increase weight loss and compliance. Support from friends, family and other groups will assist you. There is a whole gamut of support group online and in person. If you have fallen out of the habit of attending our support group or webinars get back to them. You can find our schedule and announcements regarding webinars here. Our Central Valley Bariatric Facebook page also gives daily inspirational messages, protein recipes and articles and any new information or research available. There is also our Duodenal Switch Facebook Group. Anything that increases accountability is a benefit and motivates us to stay on track.
Experiment with new recipes and flavors that are bariatric friendly and within your dietary needs. There are so many options for quick and easy meals. We have several recipes on our page for all stages following weight loss surgery and Duodenal Switch. However, there are endless option on the internet in Paleo, low carb, and high protein type recipes.
In the spirit of new starts and getting back on track 2017, we are having a giveaway with the basics to get back into the swing of things. This year we are looking for before and after weight loss surgical journeys. Share your weight loss journey! Don’t be shy, your journey can inspire others and/or motivate yourself. To enter the Back on Track 2017 Giveaway, please submit your weight loss surgical journey with before and after pictures to email@example.com or you can also post your before and after pictures on our Facebook page. You will also need to sign a release for the use of your story on our website. We will draw 2 names from those that enter by announcing it on our FaceBook page or by e-mail on January 31, 2017. You must submit your mailing information to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to claim the prize.
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 .
Fluids and Electrolytes after weight loss surgery are an important part of recovery and lifestyle after undergoing a weight loss surgical procedure. Potassium is an important electrolyte found in higher concentrations within the fluid of the cells. It is important in muscle contraction, heart rhythm, nerve function and co-enzyme function.
Fluids and Electrolytes
The following webinar (link) discusses the balance of fluids and electrolytes with particular attention to post weight loss surgery concerns. Deficiencies can cause heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness and cramping, intestinal paralysis, and neurological deficits.
The Daily Recommended Amount for Potassium is 4,700mg
Here is a list of Lower-carb potassium sources: This is not meant to be in inclusive list. There are many higher carb sources of potassium also.
- Beet Greens- 1/2C 655 mg
- Trout 3oz – 375 mg
- Salmon 719 mg per average filet
- Halibut or Yellowfin Tuna 3oz – 500mg
- Clams 3oz- 534 mg
- Avocados 1 whole- 974 mg
- Squash 1C- 325mg
- Broccoli 1 cup 475m
- Watermelon Radish 3 oz – 233mg
- Sweet Potatoes- one potato 694mg
- Yogurt 1C – 579mg
- Tomato paste 1/4C – 342 mg
- Whole milk 1C – 366 mg
- Chicken breast meat 1 cup chopped – 358 mg
- Cauliflower 1 cup raw– 303 mg
- Peanut butter 2 T – 208 mg
- Asparagus spears 6 – 194 m
- Daikon Radish – 3″ – 280 mg
- Nuts 100-300 mg per 30g / 1 oz serving, depending on the type
- Dark leafy greens 160 mg per cup of raw, 840 mg per cooked
- Kohlrabi 3oz- 98mg
- Mushrooms 1 C- 273 mg
- Spinach – 1 cup 167 mg Potassium
- Walnuts 2 oz-250 mg
Weight loss surgical procedures may result in varying degrees of nutritional deficiencies. Some of these nutritional deficiencies may cause neuromuscular disease if left untreated, these include vitamins, minerals, and protein. The long-term effect of these deficiencies may presents as neuromuscular conditions including, weakness, numbness, confusion and all others if not-diagnosed and untreated. It is important to note that all weight loss surgical procedures require lifetime vitamin, mineral supplements and protein monitoring and possible supplements.
The table below outlines some of the specific neurological and neuromuscular disease complications following bariatric surgery. The most common deficiencies seen with the duodenal switch operation are fat soluble vitamin deficiencies. These include, Vitamin A, D, E and K. Duodenal Switch patients need oral supplements of Dry “Water Miscible” type of Vitamin A, D, E, and K based on their laboratory studies and needs.
The neurological deficiencies are manifested much more frequently with the Gastric Bypass than the duodenal switch operation. The most common nutritional deficients are that of B1, B12, Folate deficiencies that are common in Gastric Bypass. A list of possible neurologic deficiencies and there associated symptoms were summarized by Becker (2012). Another article with Nutritional Neuropathies.
Nutritional deficiencies are seen in a number of illnesses including weight loss surgery patients.
When I perform the duodenal switch operation, the common channel is a percentage of the total small bowel length and I also account for the patient’s metabolic rate. Two individuals with a BMI of 50, should not have the same common channel. If we compare two patients, one of them is a 20 years old male who is 6’2″ and the second patient is a 60 year old female who is 5’4″, we can see how this applies. These two patients have very different metabolic needs and requirements. When the Duodenal Switch is performed in this fashion, the common channel based on a percentage of total small bowel length and metabolic needs, the patients post op diet works best when it is a well balanced, protein based diet. The basic principals are : Hydration (water), Protein and Everything else, low carb, avoid artificial sweeteners, avoid carbonated drinks, have frequent smaller meals and avoid processed food. Listen to you body as to what it tolerates and what it doesn’t. This is what I recommend for my patients.
I am not aware of any scientific evidence that proves any benefit to excessive amounts of fat for DS patients who have had their length of the common and alimentary bowels based as a percentage of the total length.
My recommendation are to have a well balanced high protein diet. I do not recommend a low fat diet, except in the healing phase after surgery. However, there is no reason to consume excessive amounts of fat long term.
High fat diet is used to facilitate bowel movements for some patients who have constipation. It may be prudent to try and identify what may be causing the constipation and correct or eliminate them before one resorts to a very high fat diet as a “treatment” for constipation after Duodenal Switch. The possible causes for constipation after duodenal switch may be metabolic-organic (where some patients have infrequent bowel movements before DS, hypothyroidism), length of the common and the Alimentary channels and medications (pain meds, narcotics, antidepressants).
In addition, Medium Chain Fatty Acids do not require bile salts to be absorbed and are directly absorbed into the Portal Vein in the liver. Medium Chain Fatty Acids are not malabsorbed post Duodenal Switch. Medium Chain Fatty Acids included Caproic acid, Caprylic acid, Capric acid, and Lauric acid. Commonly found in varying amounts within coconut oil and palm oil. MCT supplement is made with Medium Chain Fatty Acids.
In summary, I recommend that Duodenal Switch patients who have had surgery with our practice have a high protein balanced diet. I do not recommend avoiding fat, or going on a low fat diet. I am not sure if there a reason to consume excessive amount of fat, which may in fact have unexpected metabolic and nutrient consequences.
Every patient, as their weight stabilizes, will find what works and what does not work for them. Some patients will tolerate a higher fat intake and other will not be able to tolerate higher fat intake.