Many gastric bypass patients go into remission with their Type II Diabetes after their surgery, often within days. However a new study by the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden shows that insulin-producing beta cells increase in number as well as performance after the surgical procedure is performed.
According to the lead researchers Dr. Nils Wierup, they have suspected this would happen for a long time, but haven’t found any other models that prove this notion.
Their small study did a gastric bypass surgery on four individual pigs. This surgery is the first of its kind and unique to what it is studying. Their results do in fact confirm that neither reduced food intake or weight loss are required in order to raise the beta cells number. This was shown because all four pigs had the same body weight and ate exactly the same food.
Ultimately, Type II Diabetes develops when the body’s insulin producing beta cells do not function properly or when the body cannot use the insulin that these cells are producing. Most people who suffer from obesity and have a gastric bypass surgery recover from diabetes within just days of having the procedure.
During gastric bypass surgery, the connection between the stomach and the intestines are altered so that food will bypass the stomach and parts of the small intestine. Instead they travel directly to the small intestine for digestion. Until this time the mystery behind why these patients’ blood sugar levels go back to a normal state has been unclear.
However after the Lund University study, these researchers found that the pigs’ beta cells did improve their insulin secretion. During this study, researchers also looked at tissues in the pancreas, which is an organ where these beta cells are located. They found that the number of beta cells actually increased after the operation occurred. Something that was almost impossible to see in humans during their previous study on gastric bypass and its effects on the human body.
The researchers chose a pig to study on because they are omnivores and have a similar gastrointestinal tract. The basic research being done focused on the functions of the GI tract and found that both humans and pigs benefit from gastric bypass surgery. This study also helped them to better refine their surgical methods for the procedure.
Jan Hedenbro, surgeon at Aleris Obesitas and a collaborator with the Lund University study believes that they can find new methods of treatment for those with Type II Diabetes in the future as a result of this study. However, the researchers themselves are going to repeat the study on these pigs to see if the same results occur and what other things can be surmised from that experience and scientific experience.
Ultimately, those who are obese and have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes are at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke and heart attack. Gastric bypass surgery, as well as other bariatric surgeries, have been proven to lower one’s metabolic syndrome risk as well as put them into remission (at a high percentage).