Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Elevating Bile in the Blood May One Day Be a Treatment for Obesity and Metabolic Diseases

"Bariatric surgery is an important tool in the fight against obesity. Moreover, the surgery is effective. In fact, bariatric or weight loss surgery is considered by many to be the best option for treating severe obesity. While weight loss surgery is a very good  weight loss tool, the surgery, in many cases, may be a reasonable approach to resolving type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The surgery is believed to produce healthy outcomes because it leads to weight loss and because it creates positive metabolic changes in the body. And a number of these changes may be due to how bile is used in the body after the surgery.

As we mentioned before on this blog, a medical procedure called bile diversion (BD), derived from gastric bypass surgery, changes the way bile is used in the body. That research could lead to non-invasive treatments for obesity and harmful conditions associated with obesity. "Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center used a catheter to re-direct the flow of bile [in rats] from the bile duct into the small intestine, producing the same metabolic and weight-loss benefits as bariatric surgeries such as gastric by-pass.”

Indeed, one set of investigators concluded that bile changes were the main factor causing health improvements following gastric bypass surgery, “Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Cincinnati have shown that the health benefits [resulting from the surgery] are not caused by a reduction in the stomach size but by increased levels of bile acids in the blood.”

In another study, entitled "Duodenal-jejunal Bypass Liner Increases Fasting and Postprandial Serum Levels of Bile Acids in Patients with Severe Obesity,"  the investigators showed that an intestinal liner (GiDynamics’s Endobarrier) that mimics gastric bypass surgery caused weight loss and improved metabolic conditions, in part, because of a bile increase in the blood.
Researchers don't fully understand how changes in bile in the blood causes weight loss and improved metabolic conditions. In fact, researchers don't fully understand how bariatric surgery produces the postoperative effects that it does.  More research is needed. But investigators hope that they can develop non-surgical therapies that produce the same results as bariatric surgery, thus reducing complications and costs that can be associated with bariatric surgery. And these non-surgical therapies may include bile therapy.


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