Most recent update: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 11:56

Bariatric News - Cookies & privacy policy

You are here

Mimicking bypass

Preloaded nutrients could mimic bypass surgery

Can the lower intestine be targeted by specially formulated nutritional supplements to trick the digestive system into convincing the body that enough food had been eaten?

By refining nutrient preloads and formulating them to target the distal gut, researchers from Queen Mary University of London, UK, hope to develop a successful weight loss and anti-diabetic strategy prior to, and possibly in place of, bypass surgery.

"At the moment, obese patients undergo gastric bypass surgery where they are essentially re-plumbed,” said lead author, Professor Ashley Blackshaw, Professor of Enteric Neuroscience at Queen Mary University. "Undigested food bypasses the small intestine and is shunted straight to the lower bowel where it causes the release of hormones which suppress the appetite and help with the release of insulin. That makes the patient feel full and stops even the hungriest individual from eating.”

It is already known that in some obese people, the lower intestine does not signal the brain to say it is full. Therefore, the investigators wanted to assess whether the lower intestine could potentially be targeted by specially formulated nutritional supplements to trick the digestive system into convincing the body that enough food had been eaten.

When we eat, nutrients stimulate enteroendocrine cells (EEC) to release gut hormones and several specific nutrient receptors may be located on EEC that respond to dietary sugars, amino acids and fatty acids.

The researchers wanted to find out which nutrient receptors are expressed in which gut regions and in which cells in mouse and human, how they are associated with different types of EEC and how they are activated leading to hormone and 5-HT (enterochromaffin cells) release.

The study, published in GUT, found that distal gut of humans and mice has sensors for products of fat and protein digestion, and that these associate with specific signalling pathways.

“By refining nutrient preloads and formulating them to target the distal gut, we expect to develop a successful weight loss and anti-diabetic strategy prior to and possibly in place of bypass surgery,” the paper concludes.

It has been suggested that the gut could be targeted with a capsule containing naturally occurring food supplements.  The supplements would target the lower bowel and would intervene with the pathway of fatty acid, amino acid and protein towards the lower bowel.

"We believe it's possible to trick the digestive system into behaving as if a bypass has taken place,” he added. “This can be done by administering specific food supplements which release strong stimuli in the same area of the lower bowel. It's a bit like sending a special food parcel straight to the body's emergency exit, and when it gets there, all the alarms go off. It’s a totally novel idea, and we’re very excited at the results so far. We are hopeful that the treatment will be widely available in NHS hospitals in the next five years.”

To access this paper, please click here

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to Bariatric News!

Bariatric News
Keep up to date! Get the latest news in your inbox. NOTE: Bariatric News WILL NOT pass on your details to 3rd parties. However, you may receive ‘marketing emails’ sent by us on behalf of 3rd parties.