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Study sheds new light on connection between gastric bypass and type 2 diabetes

Physicians have been trying for some time to determine why gastric bypass frequently sends patients' type 2 diabetes into remission. Now findings published today in Science Translational Medicine suggest the surgery may reduce amino acids circulating in the blood and, as a result, improve the body's response to insulin. Reuters reports:

In research conducted at Columbia University in New York and Duke University in North Carolina, researchers studied two small groups of severely obese diabetic patients who either had gastric bypass surgery or went on strict diets. Both groups lost about 20 pounds.

For the study, the teams measured metabolites -- chemical byproducts of foods in the body. They found that unlike dieting, gastric bypass changes a person's metabolism by significantly reducing levels of circulating amino acids -- compounds linked with obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance.

As discussed by NPR, the study is part of a growing body of research aimed at deciphering the metabolic profile of diabetes:

...last month other researchers reported in Nature Medicine that people with higher levels of branched-chain amino acid in their blood were much more likely to develop diabetes years later.

Other studies have shown that certain hormones produced in the stomach increase after gastric bypass surgery, but not after people lose an equal amount of weight by dieting. These hormones regulate such things as when a person feels satisfied after eating and how much insulin is secreted following a meal.

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