Weight-loss surgery has been proven to be an effective long-term treatment for obesity. However, it comes with a number of drawbacks, including high costs, potential side effects, invasiveness, and the need for follow-up surgeries. Due to these factors, only about 1% of eligible individuals undergo the surgery.
A new study has discovered that weight loss surgery has a positive impact on bile acid levels, which plays a role in appetite regulation and metabolic function. The researchers found that those who underwent weight loss surgery had lower bile acid isoursodeoxycholate (isoUDCA) levels, linked to higher appetite and worse metabolic levels.
The researchers studied the bile acid levels of post-surgery patients in Amsterdam and two other non-surgery general populations. They found that a fiber supplement naturally lowered isoUDCA levels. This presents an opportunity to develop a treatment that could mimic appetite reduction and better metabolic function of weight loss surgery without invasive procedures.
The researchers believe that a better understanding the complex interplay between genetics, the gut microbiome, and diet in regulating bile acid levels could lead to new strategies for preventing and treating obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Previous studies have also highlighted the importance of the gut microbiome in weight loss. The researchers from the University of Nottingham, King’s College London, and Amsterdam University Medical Center have added to this knowledge by shedding light on a poorly understood benefit of bariatric surgery – reduced appetite.
Understanding the metabolic mechanisms that result in a lower appetite could lead to a safe and effective treatment for weight loss. This is particularly important, as obesity is associated with severe conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
In general, this study highlights the role of fiber in appetite regulation and metabolism, harnessed by specific gut microbes. The gut microbiome and its chemical products, such as bile acids, show promise for reducing obesity without invasive surgery.
As co-author Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, said, “The gut microbiome and its chemical products such as these bile acids hold huge promise for reducing obesity without the need for invasive surgery.”
The research was published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.
Source: University of Nottingham