Weight loss without surgery: A scientific discovery that inspires hope

Weight-loss surgery has proven to be an effective long-term health treatment, but it can be expensive and can come with a range of unpleasant side effects, while about a third will need “follow-up surgery” or hospitalization within 5 years.

For these reasons, only about 1% of obese people have experienced the surgical procedure, New Atlas reported in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.

Bile acid

However, a new study has highlighted the metabolic benefits of weight-loss surgery, particularly its effect on bile acid levels and the role it plays in regulating appetite.

Researchers discovered that those who underwent weight-loss surgery had significantly lower levels of isoursodeoxycholate, or isoUDCA, which is associated with increased appetite and poor metabolic levels.

When studying bile acid levels of a group of postoperative patients in Amsterdam, as well as two other nonoperative general groups, the researchers concluded that a fiber supplement naturally lowers isoUDCA levels, which could open the door to developing a treatment that could mimic reducing appetite and improving metabolic function to help people lose weight without any surgical procedures.

New strategies

women jogging in order to cut weight

Lead author Christina Mini, from King’s College London, said: “By better understanding, the complex interaction between genes, the gut microbiome, and diet in regulating bile acid levels and their impact on appetite and metabolic health, new strategies can be developed to prevent and treat obesity and metabolic syndrome.

This isn’t the first time scientists have turned to the gut microbiome for answers about weight loss.

But researchers from the Universities of Nottingham, King’s College London, and Amsterdam have shed new light on the incomprehensible benefit of bariatric surgery and appetite reduction.

Good news

Understanding the metabolic mechanisms that lead to decreased appetite can lead to safe and effective weight loss therapy.

Study co-author Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said the study’s findings “highlight the key role fiber plays in regulating appetite and metabolism”.

He also noted that “the intestinal microbiome and its chemical products such as bile acids hold promise for reducing obesity without the need for surgical procedures.”

Obesity is linked to serious conditions including diabetes and heart disease, where much can be reduced or even reversed through weight loss.

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