The Impact of Vitamin D, Calcium, Protein Supplementation, and Physical Exercise on Bone Metabolism After Bariatric Surgery: The BABS Study

J Bone Miner Res. 2016 Mar;31(3):672-82. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2707. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG) are common and effective methods to treat severe obesity, but these procedures can adversely influence bone metabolism and areal bone mineral density (aBMD). This was a prospective 24-month single-center interventional two-arm study in 220 women and similarly aged men (median age 40.7 years) with a body mass index (BMI) >38 kg/m(2) after RYGB and SG procedures. Patients were randomized into: 1) an intervention group receiving: 28,000 IU cholecalciferol/wk for 8 weeks before bariatric surgery, 16,000 IU/wk and 1000 mg calciummonocitrate/d after surgery, daily BMI-adjusted protein supplementation and physical exercise (Nordic walking, strength perseverance, and equipment training); 2) a non-intervention group: no preoperative loading, nutritional supplementation, or obligatory physical exercise. At study endpoint, when comparing the intervention group to the non-intervention group, the relative percentage changes of serum levels of sclerostin (12.1% versus 63.8%), cross-linked C-telopeptide (CTX, 82.6% versus 158.3%), 25-OH vitamin D (13.4% versus 18.2%), phosphate (23.7% versus 32%, p < 0.001 for all), procollagen type 1 amino-terminal propeptide (P1NP, 12% versus 41.2%), intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH, -17.3% versus -7.6%), and Dickkopf-1 (-3.9% versus -8.9%, p < 0.05 for all) differed. The decline in lumbar spine, total hip and total body aBMD, changes in BMI, lean body mass (LBM), as well as changes in trabecular bone score (TBS) values (p < 0.005 for all) were less, but significantly, pronounced in the intervention group. We conclude that vitamin D loading and ongoing vitamin D, calcium, and BMI-adjusted protein supplementation in combination with physical exercise decelerates the loss of aBMD and LBM after bariatric surgery. Moreover, the well-known increases of bone turnover markers are less pronounced.

Trial registration: NCT01739855.


Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Demography
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Vitamin D

Associated data