New Study Shows Gastric Bypass Surgery May Change Genes

For obese persons who are fighting a losing battle with fat, weight loss surgery presents a way to help win the fight and drastically lose inches and pounds. After surgery, the benefit of the loss of weight is something that can’t go unnoticed. However, as a recent study has now shown, the procedure may have an unseen impact on a person’s genetic expressions.

The Study the Journal

Cell Press contains a new study concerning people who experienced weight loss after receiving gastric bypass surgery. The subjects of the study were eight obese women weighing between 265-320 lbs. who had the surgery, and 16 women of normal weighted testing revealed key differences in the genes of the two groups. The obese group had chemical markers in their DNA that prevented the PGC-1alpha and PDK4 genes from working optimally. These specific genes handle fat and sugar burning and storage.

How Obesity Affects DNA

DNA doesn’t change. However, the chemical markers found on DNA can be influenced by obesity. Obese people have high levels of fats and cytokines in their blood. The high level of cytokines and fats in the blood changes the DNA’s chemical markers. This in turn makes muscle less capable of using fat for energy, and less capable of storing sugar normally. When the body can’t efficiently use fat for fuel, it stores more of it as fat cells. When the body’s ability to store sugar in muscle is hampered, it will store more of it as fat, and the risk of diabetes will increase.

What Happened After the Surgery

Six months after the surgery, each woman lost around 70 lbs. What was most interesting to the researchers was not the degree of weight loss, but what happened to their genes. The researchers discovered that the previously noticed chemical markers that were inhibiting the PGC-1alpha and PDK4 genes, were gone. The genes were now working normally.

This caused two positive changes. Post-surgery, the former obese group was now better at metabolizing fat. Their bodies could utilize fat for energy better than before. Aside from being able to burn fat better, they were also better at metabolizing sugars. Their bodies could store sugars better than before, which meant they now had a lessened risk of diabetes.

What This May Mean

Many people have believed that they are stuck with what they are born with. Many even use “bad genes” as an excuse or a crutch that they will have forever. This study has shown otherwise. Before this, it was thought that chemical markers weren’t as changeable. It was the chemical markers that were preventing the two fat and sugar metabolism genes from working properly. After the surgery, these chemical markers changed to resemble the second group of women with healthy weights.

It was noted by one of the researchers involved in the study, that an obese woman may be able to prevent passing their “bad genes” by losing weight before they get pregnant. Weight loss Doctor Newark may provide solutions to achieve such a task.

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