Disease Proof

Gastric Bypass Linked to Bone Loss

Weight-loss surgery is risky! A previous report showed an INCREASED risk of depression and suicide with weight-loss surgery. And now, new research by Columbia University reveals a connection between gastric bypass and deficiencies of calcium and bone loss.

The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. More from ScienceDaily:

"Our research shows that deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D absorption occur following gastric bypass surgery," said Dr. Shonni J. Silverberg, professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York, N.Y., and coauthor of the study. "When analyzing hip bone density, we found that those who lost the most weight also lost the most bone."

In this study, researchers evaluated 23 morbidly obese men and women who underwent gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Silverberg and her colleagues measured serum calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone levels before surgery and at three, six, and twelve months after surgery. Researchers also measured bone mineral density before and after surgery using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). One year after weight loss surgery, patients had lost an average of 99 pounds and had significant declines in hip bone mineral density (both total hip and femoral neck measurements).

"The calcium and vitamin D deficiencies may be due to the alterations in the gastrointestinal tract that take place during these procedures," said Dr. Silverberg. "These deficiencies may be restored if the amount of calcium and vitamin D supplementation is increased appropriately."

Now, this only a FRACTION of the potential complications! Dr. Fuhrman also lists gastritis, dilated pouch, incisional hernia and vitamin B12 deficiency as other possible consequences of weight-loss stomach surgery. Seems like A LOT of risks to me!

There’s a simpler. You know it already—diet and exercise! Exercise keeps us moving, but a diet change is REALLY crucial. Some foods, like green vegetables, actually allow you to eat MORE and still lose weight. No scalpels needed!

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve - September 24, 2008 4:39 PM

Hi Gerry
This would seem like math 101 to me. These surgeries prevent absorption of food, which consists of nutrients as well as calories. How would this bariatric (barbaric?) stuff allow all the calcium, magnesium etc to be absorbed, but selectively not absorb calories. Seems to me this simply screams out "H=N/C"
Cheers, Steve

gasmin guy - April 21, 2009 4:37 PM

steve, this surgery will prevent the body from absorping all kind of nurtiments AND calories.
the stomach wont absorb neither the good nor the bad stuff.

Sharon Magar, M.F.T. - May 26, 2010 11:11 AM

As both a gastric bypass patient since 2003, and a professional in the field of bariatric psychology, a bariatric surgery intervention should only be used as a tool to regain health and then allow one the ability to live a healthy, vital life. In making the decision to undergo bariatric surgery, education is a key component required by the surgeon. Every patient is educated, prior to surgery, about the risks and post operative requirements, especially in regard to supplementing their diets with the vitamins and minerals no longer naturally absorbed. If one is compliant in their supplementation, and over the long term, eats a nutrient dense diet, then the risks are minimal to none. Bone loss, B12 and calcium deficiences occur in those patients who have not been faithful in their supplementation and required dietary changes. Bariatric surgery is only a tool for the morbidly obese. It allows one to finally stop the yo-yo diet process, get the excess weight off and begin living with powerful changes in their lifestyle routines. Those who fail to make those changes run into complications. Those who implement supplementation, nutrient dense and mindful eating, along with daily exercise, maintain excellent health over the long run.

MacSmiley - April 6, 2011 7:13 AM

Dear Dr Bariatric Surgery (B.S.), No one can possibly get the symphony of micronutrients the body needs, known and unknown, from a bottle. Bariatric surgery is a bull in a china shop. It trades one handicap for another by swapping "overfed and undernourished" for "underfed and undernourished". Malnutrition = Disease. Period.

David Campbell - February 25, 2013 2:23 PM

So if I have already had gastric bypass surgery before I read "Eat to Live" I'm out of luck?

Is there anything I can do to eat truly healthy once I have already had the surgery?

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