Calcium Supplements Gastric Bypass Patients Should Avoid

Because part of their small intestines have been bypassed, gastric bypass patients do not absorb calcium as well as most people do. That’s why the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends that they take 1500 to 2000 mg calcium daily. All calcium supplements are not created equal, though. Due to changes in their anatomy, gastric bypass patients absorb some types of calcium better than others. Here are some commonly-used calcium supplements gastric bypass patients should avoid, as they will not be properly absorbed.


Caltrate offers several different calcium supplements, including tablets meant to be swallowed, chewable tablets and gummy chews. Most Caltrate supplements contain calcium carbonate; the gummies contain tricalcium phosphate. Neither calcium carbonate nor tricalcium phosphate is absorbed well by gastric bypass patients due to decreased production of stomach acid. That’s why the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery specifically recommends that gastric bypass patients take calcium citrate.


You may not think of calcium when you think of Tums, which is understandable since Tums is marketed as an antacid. However, Tums does contain calcium and some bariatric surgeons and nutritionists recommend it to gastric bypass patients as a calcium supplement. The problem with this is that Tums contains calcium carbonate, which gastric bypass patients do not absorb well.

Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews

Viactiv soft chews taste good. They come in yummy flavors like chocolate, caramel, chocolate mint and raspberry. They are also readily available in any grocery store or drug store. Unfortunately, they contain calcium carbonate so they are not suitable for gastric bypass patients.

Citracal Calcium Gummies

Citracal offers a number of calcium supplements, most of which are tablets meant to be swallowed. Most of those contain calcium citrate. However, the calcium gummies contain tricalcium phosphate, which is not absorbed well by gastric bypass patients.

A Word of Warning

Not taking sufficient calcium or taking the wrong type of calcium can lead to serious health problems in gastric bypass patients including osteoporosis, high blood pressure and an abnormal heartbeat. Calcium carbonate may also contribute to the development of kidney stones. To make sure they are getting adequate calcium, gastric bypass patients are advised by the ASMBS to have regular blood tests to monitor the levels of calcium in their blood. Bone density scans can also be used to make sure they are not experiencing any bone loss.


Bariatric Nutrition. Suggestions for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient.

Caltrate. Product Line Up.

Tums. Tums Regular Strength.

Viactiv. Calcium Soft Chews.

Citracal. Citracal Calcium Gummies.

Better Medicine. Calcium Deficiency.

LiveStrong. Calcium Carbonate and Kidney Stones.

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