Get Gastric Bypass Surgery and Remove Your Pancreas?

Although Americans have opted for gastric bypass surgery in record numbers as a simpler means to bypass the obesity epidemic -- without changing their habits and modifying the behaviors that got them there -- a new side effect may have patients thinking twice about it.

A New England Journal of Medicine study discovered dangerously low blood sugar levels -- a condition known as neuroglycopenia -- that caused blackouts, tunnel vision and confusion in six gastric bypass patients. This condition has been blamed on the Roux-en-Y technique, the most common gastric bypass procedure by far, in which a small pouch is stapled from the rest of the stomach, then connected to the small intestine.

According to Mayo Clinic researchers, the gastric bypass patients who suffered from this "rare" problem either passed out, developed tunnel vision or experienced temporary confusion after eating. How this happens: Food that is barely digested hits the small intestine where hormones overstimulate the production of insulin in the pancreas and removes way too much sugar from the blood.

The sad fact is, the "cure" to this problem is even worse than the gastric bypass procedure itself: Doctors were forced to remove most of a patient's pancreas.

Studies like this one are the reason I remind you so often about the safer, more natural options available to you, especially when it comes fighting obesity. Here are a few worth considering:

New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 353, Number 3, July 21, 2005: 249-254

MSNBC July 20, 2005

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