Reducing the size of the stomach through weight loss surgery thus reducing the number of calories absorbed is a proven way to help patients’ lose weight. But studies have found that these patients are getting help from another form of weight loss support; tiny microorganisms inhabiting the stomach following the surgery.  A person’s gut bacteria changes after weight loss surgery and studies show that this change may aid in weight loss.

Weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery , aim to aid weight loss through restricting the amount of food required to feel full thus limited caloric absorption.  Both of these popular weight loss surgeries achieve this restriction by reducing the size and thus capacity of the stomach.

Harvard Study

The Harvard University research studied three groups of obese mice, where one group was given the gastric bypass surgery. The other two groups of mice were given a placebo type surgery in which their intestines were cut and then reattached. One group with the ‘fake’ surgery continue to intake a high-fat, high-carbohydrate based diet, while the other group who underwent the ‘fake’ surgery was put on a weight-loss diet.

Weight Loss amongst Microbe Changes

Three weeks after the surgery, the mice that underwent the weight loss surgery showed significant weight loss, approximately a third of their body weight. The same group was observed to have changes in the numbers and types of microorganisms found in their gut after week one. In comparison, little change was found among those in the two groups which did not undergo the weight loss surgery.

Microbes Help Out

To further explore the relationship between the gut microbes and weight loss, researchers then transferred some of the microbes from the mice that underwent the gastric bypass procedure to those that did not, thus introducing microbes into the stomachs of some of the non-surgically altered mice. The mice that received the bacteria also lost weight, about a fifth of what they would have with surgery, while in contrast the mice who did not receive the bacteria did not.

Although it is unclear why the microbes caused the weight loss, the study indicates that the bacteria living in the gut following gastric bypass surgery may support weight loss.  These findings have opened the door for further research aimed at understanding how the microbial population within the gut changed by the gastric bypass procedure exerts its effects.

While the microbes alone are not the answer to obesity and weight management, the research shows that those battling weight loss after bariatric surgery have tiny helpers aiding their weight loss and with an often difficult weight loss battle, most people will take any help they can get – no matter how small!

If you are struggling with your weight and need a little extra help, contact us today to determine if weight loss surgery is right for you. Weight loss surgery, such as gastric band surgery or gastric bypass surgery, can get you on the right path to losing weight. For more information about our wide range of weight loss surgery procedures, contact us today.