Shrunken Tummies are Good for Diabetes

Amino acids help obese patients manage type 2 diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It's always a good thing when obese people lose some weight, especially if they have diabetes. Shedding pounds can help patients get their disease under control. However, the way they choose to lose weight can affect how much their diabetes improves.

Researchers already knew that type 2 diabetes became better after patients went through gastric bypass surgery - a weight loss surgery that makes the stomach smaller.

In a recent study, researchers found that surgery patients may have better results than patients who lost weight through dieting because they have lower amounts of amino acids. Amino acids have been linked to insulin resistance, which puts people at risk for diabetes.

"A weight loss surgery can help patients control diabetes."

Blandine Laferrère, of the New York Obesity Nutrition Center, and colleagues wanted to see why gastric bypass surgery improved type 2 diabetes.Getting a patient's blood sugar under control is key to improving diabetes.

In this study, the researchers found that obese patients had less amino acids and better blood sugar control even before they started to lose weight.

This shows, the authors write, that losing weight is not what leads to improvement in obese patients with diabetes. Rather, the lower levels of amino acids could be playing a part in surgery patient's improved blood sugar control.

The Study

The researchers compared the effects of gastric bypass surgery versus dieting. They found that:

  • Blood sugar control improved after gastric bypass surgery
  • Patients had lower levels of amino acids after gastric bypass surgery
  • As patients had fewer amino acids, their sensitivity to insulin increased 
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Review Date: 
April 28, 2011
Last Updated:
April 28, 2011