Roux-en-Y or as many people call it, bi-pass surgery, is a type of procedure for people struggling with weight issues to receive to lose weight. The process involves stapling the stomach at the top leaving a small pouch which is connected to the small intestine. The food one eats evades most of the stomach below the staple and a portion of the intestine also. This procedure reduces the amount of food the patient eats subsequently making them lose weight in the process.
Recently, outcome data on 80,000 Roux-en-Y patients in the U.S was collected by Jon Davis and fellow colleagues at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. They established that the Roux-en-Y patients who drank before the surgery had lesser cravings for alcohol and consumed less after the procedure rather than the patients that under-went other types of surgery, such as implementing a gastric band instead of a staple. Davis and his team, to further their investigation, tested this theory on alcohol-favored rats, giving them the bi-pass surgery, and they too afterwards did not drink alcohol. A hormone called GLP-1 may be the reason for this drop in alcohol consumption, concluded by Davis. GLP-1 is produced when food, partly undigested, enters the middle portion of the small intestine, called the jejunum. When this process happens, it causes the body to produce insulin, subsequently lowering blood glucose levels. This part of the small intestine after Roux-en-Y surgery is considerably closer to the stomach, exposing it to a much higher level of nutrients than the body is normally used to. He believes that this may be increasing the production of the hormone. GLP-1 is responsible for limiting the amount of food consumed once we are full. Alcoholic beverages contain huge amounts of calories, and Davis thinks that the decrease in GLP-1 may be prompting a like effect on alcohol consumption.
Carel le Roux, a recognized and renowned leader in weight-loss surgery says his findings conclude the same results as Davis and his colleagues. He states that weight-loss surgery not only lessens hunger, but alleviates the reward related with food. He suggests that whether it is food or alcohol, the cravings are lessened by the surgery. To possibly help struggling alcoholics give up the addiction, Davis and his team are expanding their research, testing a certain diabetes drug in mice that increases the production of GLP-1.
As an alcoholic, I’m appreciative that Davis is trying to help people like me with this disease, but for me my life has changed, significantly because of the A.A. program. If I were to have no cravings because of this possible drug, I probably would not work a program. Having cravings for alcohol keeps me in check, reminding me of where I was in the past, not ever wanting to return. The desire to drink makes me who I am and allows and pushes me to work a rigorous program, constantly, bettering my life, every day, in so many ways.
Hamzelou, Jessica. “Weight-loss Surgery Reduces Desire for Alcohol.” NewScientist
Magazine issue 2866, 24 May 2012. Web. 13 June 2012