Vienna, July 8 (IANS) Weight loss from bariatric surgery appears to reverse the premature aging associated with obesity, according to a research.
The study revealed whether bariatric surgery — a procedure that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract and leaves only a pouch of stomach and the resulting weight loss could reverse the premature aging in obese patients.
The study included 76 patients who were 40 years old on average and had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35 kg/m2. The average BMI was 44.5 kg/m2. All patients had been unable to lose weight through lifestyle changes and were referred for bariatric surgery.
The researchers collected blood samples before surgery and one and two years afterwards. They compared the levels of premature aging markers in the blood before and after surgery.
One year after surgery BMI had significantly dropped to an average of 27.5 kg/m2, which amounts to a 38 per cent reduction.
This was accompanied by decreases in the pro-inflammatory cytokines plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and interleukin-6 and an increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10.
“Obese people are prematurely old. Bariatric surgery drastically reduces the amount of food patients can eat. People lose around 30 to 40 per cent of their whole body weight in the first year,” said Philipp Hohensinner, Researcher at the Medical University of Vienna.
Patients had longer telomeres and less inflammation two years later. Telomeres are the internal clock of each cell. Telomeres get shorter when a cell divides or when oxidative stress causes them to break.
When the telomeres get very short the cell can no longer divide and is replenished or stays in the body as an aged cell. Previous research found that obese women had shorter telomeres compared to women with a healthy weight, which amounted to an added eight years of life.
Two years after surgery, patients had telomeres that were 80 per cent longer than they had been before the procedure. The researchers also evaluated telomere oxidation which causes the telomeres to break and get shorter.