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Gastric Bypass May Improve Diabetes Quickly

Researchers Say Changes in Amino Acid Levels Explains Improvements in Bypass Patients

Surgery Improves Blood Sugar continued...

In earlier research, study co-researcher Christopher Newgard, PhD, and colleagues from the nutrition and metabolism center at Duke University showed that these amino acids were associated with insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.

In a news release, Newgard noted that studies are needed to better understand how BCAA and the related metabolites influence diabetes risk.

Laferrere says this understanding could lead to new diabetes treatments that are as effective as gastric bypass surgery.

“It would not be possible to offer this surgery to everyone with type 2 diabetes,” she says. “About 28 million American adults have type 2 diabetes, and about 200,000 of these surgeries are done each year.”

Gastric Bypass Surgery: Risks vs. Benefits

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) considers gastric bypass surgery an option for severely overweight people with type 2 diabetes who have BMIs of 35 or more, but less than half of patients with the disease are that heavy.

Late last month, the International Diabetes Federation, which represents more than 200 diabetes groups across the globe, called for weight loss surgery to be considered a treatment for type 2 diabetes in certain patients with BMIs as low as 30.

ADA Vice President for Clinical Affairs Sue Kirkman, MD, says while benefits of surgery appear to clearly outweigh the risks for patients who are morbidly obese and are not helped by other treatments, this is not so clear for other patients.

“Like all surgeries there are risks,” she tells WebMD. “The risks are the same no matter what the BMI, but the benefits of surgery may not be as great for patients with lower BMIs.”

The study, which appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was funded by the ADA, the National Institutes of Health, and the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

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