Bariatric Surgery Better Option for Glucose Control

Recently researchers at Duke University Medical Center and St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, have discovered a new clue for why it is that bariatric surgery is more effective than managing diet alone at controlling glucose levels. Greatly increasing the health of many diabetic patients, who often need bariatric surgery to control their weight. Doctors have noticed that bariatric surgery can lead to improved blood sugar levels in up to 80 percent of cases studied, but the reason for why this occurs is not currently clear.

Considerable weight loss is a major factor in that percentage but not the only factor. It seems that gastric bypass surgery (GBP) increases glycemic control in type 2 diabetes even before significant weight loss has had time to occur, which suggests that it is related to chemical or hormonal changes. The current study showed that obese people with type 2 diabetes undergoing GBP surgery have much lower levels of 3 specific types of amino acids, compared to a matched group of obese patients with diabetes who lost the same amount of weight by following a diet. It seems that reduction in amino acids in the gastric bypass patients was connected to better glucose control and inherently better glucose levels.

This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health, the American Diabetes Association, Glaxo SmithKline, and a National Institute of Mental Health Grant.

Another study has also shown that compared with patients getting blood sugar medication and counseling in diet and exercise, those who had a bariatric surgery were far more likely to be free of diabetes or to have their dependence on diabetes medications reduced for at least two years, compared with those not getting the any bariatric surgery. By decreasing the size of the stomach, people who receive bariatric surgery eat less and, therefore, lose weight. Patients in the studies lost about five times as much weight on average as those only taking blood-sugar-lowering medications.