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Pasadena, CA 91105

Category: Vitamin D

Parathyroid Scan

July 09, 2018 11:48 am

A Parathyroid scan or Sestamibi scan may be needed if the typical weight loss surgical reasons for elevated PTH levels have been addressed. Sestamibi is a small protein which is labeled with the radio-pharmaceutical technetium-99. This very mild and safe radioactive agent is injected into the veins of a patient with overactive parathyroid and is absorbed by the overactive parathyroid gland. If the parathyroid is normal it will not absorb the agent. The scan below shows the uptake of the agent.

Calcium, Vitamin D and Parathyroid hormone are routinely measured on yearly follow up for most post weight loss surgical (WLS) patients. Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) may be caused by Vitamin D deficiency or calcium deficiency (most common in post WLS) or by over active parathyroid gland(s). In the latter case, if one of the four glands is overactive then this is knows as a parathyroid Adenoma. If all 4 are over active and are secreting too much PTH, this is known as hyperplasia. Ultrasound of the neck, may identify an enraged parathyroid gland (adenoma) which is located behind the thyroid gland. Given the large area where the parathyroid gland may be located, additional tests are needed to not only identify the location of the gland(s) but also to distinguish between single gland (adenoma) or multiple glands (hyperplasia) cause for the elevated PTH. It is important to investigate all avenues and testing in parathyroid hormone elevation and in some cases, not to rely on one test for your diagnosis. It is also imperative that weight loss surgical patients take their supplements routinely and consistently and have their laboratory studies followed at least yearly.

Parathyroid Scan

Calcium Lab Results

June 05, 2018 3:26 pm

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)

pH

Albumin

Lactate

Heparin

Vitamin D deficiency

Magnesium depletion

Anticonvulsants

Renal Disease

Pancreatitis

Parathyroid

Thyroid

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.

Calcium bound to albumin Keshishian
calcium metabolism
Duodenal Calcium Metabolism

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.

Further information on protein.

Further information on calcium.

Videos/Webinars on several of the above topics.

Corrected calcium = 0.8 * (4.0 – serum albumin) + serum calcium

Compounding Pharmacies

January 22, 2018 2:38 pm

New FDA regulations for compounding pharmacies has spurred changes in our pricing and ability to provide injectable Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  The compounding pharmacies are no longer compounding injectable Vitamin A and there is a nationwide shortage of the national brand of injectable Vitamin A.  We have a tentative date of February 2018 when we may be able to obtain injectable Vitamin A. We won’t be able to quote pricing on Vitamin A injections until we are able to orders.

We are able to obtain and supply our patients with injectable Vitamin D but with a price increase.

The following is the letter we received from our compounding pharmacy.

“The healthcare industry has continuously undergone changes in regulations and legislation. The compounding industry is no exception and has faced rigorous regulatory requirements this past year such as new testing specifications and compliance standards.

We are set on facing these demanding challenges by meeting and exceeding these new regulatory requirements. We want to assure you we will continue to provide the best products on the market for you and your patients. Quality and safety remain a top priority. We understand that our pharmacy plays a vital role in providing care to your patients. The increase in pricing is a reflection of the additional cost in producing and testing the product based on regulatory specifications.”

Compounding Pharmacy

March 22, 2017 7:40 pm

We have received notice that the FDA and the compounding pharmacy have changed their regulations for several medications.  Unfortunately, this affects our office and Duodenal Switch patients in regards to injectable Vitamin D and Vitamin A. In the past, we have been able to have injectable Vitamin A and injectable Vitamin D in bulk in our office.  The new regulations require that a patient be assigned to the medication, so we will be unable to have it on hand in our office. This is out of  our hands and control.

We are requesting that if you are anticipating the need for injectable vitamins that you have your laboratory results in our office at least 3 weeks prior to your office visit.  This will give our staff adequate time to order your injectable vitamins to be available at your visit.

Injectable Vitamin D may be needed in some cases of Vitamin D deficiency or inability to increase Vitamin D level with oral supplements. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. It plays an important role in bone metabolism and structure. It has also been found to affect the immune regulation, control off- inflammatory reactions, and also be involved in a number of broad cellular functions throughout the body.

Research and information regarding Injectable Vitamin D.

Thank you for your understanding in this manner.

Dental Resources

February 24, 2017 10:55 am

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)

dental resources on medical problems
dental resources on medical problems

Thank you Dr. Mardirossian for your assistance.

Vitamin D status for Infertility Treatment

August 03, 2016 8:02 pm

Many people with obesity face infertility issues and seek infertility treatment or procedures. A recent article linked Vitamin D status to improved success rate of IVF (in-vito fertilization) & ICSI (interacytoplasmic sperm injection) in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. It is important to check Vitamin D status for infertility treatment.

Here are the researchers results:

  • Of the 252 females that completed the ICSI cycle, 42% became pregnant (n = 108).
  • The mean vitamin D status was significantly higher in the pregnant group compared to the non-pregnant group (17.74 ng/ml vs 9 ng/ml, respectively; p = < 0.01).
  • Vitamin D status was positively associated with both pregnancy (p = 0.001) and endometrial thickness (p < 0.01).
  • Higher vitamin D levels was associated with a 21% increase odds of clinical pregnancy (p < 0.05).
Keshishian IVF

The researchers concluded,

“Deficiency of 25-OHD in females hinders the accomplishment of optimal endometrial thickness required for implantation of embryo after ICSI.”

Following weight loss surgery (WLS) there can be improvement of fertility and for that reason we recommend two forms of birth control methods during the first 18-24 months following WLS or until weight loss has stabilized for several months. This helps to ensure the best outcome and health for the mother and infant.

In our office we continue to stress the importance of Vitamin D3 for bone and dental health, pregnancy, breastfeeding and several auto-immune diseases. Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce pre-term birth Duodenal Switch patients require a dry water miscible form of Vitamin D3 due to the fat malabsorption of the DS procedure. There are several past blog posts on the topic of Vitamin D and it’s associated nutrients.

Vitamin D2 Vs D3

March 24, 2016 9:17 am

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.

vitd_sources
Caption: Vitamin D sources

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.

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Caption: The mechanism and effects of Vitamin D. Source: jennyrosepaul.com

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.

Example of a Dry Water Miscible form of Vitamin D3
Example of a 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.

References
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.

Neuromuscular Disease After Weight Loss Surgery

June 08, 2015 11:30 am

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.

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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.