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Dear Doctor, I’ve had bariatric surgery and my bones are achy. Do I need more calcium?

Answer provided by Jacqueline Jacques, ND, FTOS

Spring 2015

The important point is: If you have persistent pain, you need to see a doctor to find out why. Simply assuming that taking more calcium (or more of anything for that matter) will be the solution, might allow a serious issue to get worse.

One lesson from this question is that while it’s very easy after bariatric surgery to assume all future health issues are somehow related to surgery, it’s good to remember that they don’t have to be. That said, calcium is a very important mineral.

After any type of bariatric surgery, there is an increased risk for bone loss, so paying attention to calcium intake is important.

The most common recommendation is to take 1200-1500 mg of calcium as calcium citrate daily to help protect your bones. If you don’t know how much calcium you should be taking, it’s a good idea to ask your surgeon or dietitian what is specifically recommended based on your bariatric surgery procedure.


Did you know the OAC provides FREE resources on arthritis and obesity? The OAC and the Osteoarthritis Alliance have produced two valuable educational guides on arthritis and obesity:

  • Can My Weight Make My Joint Pain Worse?
  • Weight Gain and Joint Pain

To view and/or download these FREE resources, please visit the OAC Web site.

About the Author:
Dr. Jacques, a frequent author in the OAC’s quarterly publication, Your Weight Matters Magazine, is a Naturopathic Doctor, medical nutrition expert, and Fellow of the Obesity Society. Dr. Jacques is currently the Vice President of Research and Development for Thorne Research, a company dedicated to enhancing health by providing the highest standards in quality and purity in therapeutic supplements for three decades. Her greatest love is empowering patients to better their own health.

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