Study Believes Gut Sleeve May Help Sidestep Weight Loss Surgeries
A new study from the University of Cincinnati and Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen in Germany found on rats that when a removable silicone intestinal barrier tube was used the same amount of weight loss occurred. With nearly two-thirds of Americans being overweight or obese, it’s no surprise that an easier procedure used to help patients lose weight is needed.
Bariatric surgery is primarily given to those who are at least 100 pounds overweight or haven’t been able to lose weight any other way. This tube helps to restrict the amount of food that one can digest; it disrupts the digestive process in an invasive and irreversible way. Researchers of this study believe that if it works as well on people as it did on rats it may have a dramatic result on weight loss surgeries in the future.
About the Study
During the study, researchers inserted these barrier sleeves at the end of the rats’ stomach and extended the sleeve itself along the intestine to manipulate the digestive process. While this was done via surgery on a rat, it can easily be achieved by endoscopy for a human through the mouth and pushed down to the gut. This procedure wouldn’t require hospitalization and is reversible unlike other types of bariatric surgeries that are more invasive and expensive. The cost may also be lower because of the fairly easy way to perform the procedure.
The researchers used a nonpermeable and flexible silicone sleeve that helps to hamper absorption of calories and in turn result in significant weight loss. They believe it to be a reductionist approach as the sleeve simply manipulates the process instead of reconfiguring the entire stomach to bypass the lower stomach. These researchers believe that because this sleeve fits perfectly in the lower stomach it may also positively affect the satiation triggers, which can also lead to greater weight loss.
After evaluating the overall weight loss of these rats, this study reports that the sleeve did give significant weight loss to the rates as well as creating a healthy balance of glucose and fats in the body. Some rats even showed a change in their bile acids which also helps aid weight loss. This is directly affected by the good and bad bacteria in the guts and their influence on weight gain or loss in the body.
According to Dr. Edward Phillips, the director of the Weight Loss Centers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he will be participating in a clinical trial of this sleeve in humans. If it proves to be safe and stays in place for an extended period of time, it may help qualify more patients for the procedure who aren’t overweight “enough” for standard bariatric surgeries. It may also give those with Crohn’s or other illness that can’t have weight loss surgeries a chance at a bariatric surgical procedure that can help them lose a lot of weight in a safe and reversible way. This safe alternative to surgery may also with the growing obesity epidemic worldwide in a safe and noninvasive way.