HEALTH

Probiotics help gastric-bypass patients lose weight more quickly, Stanford study shows

BY Allison Cerra

STANFORD, Calif. New research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Hospital & Clinics suggested that the use of a dietary supplement after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery can help obese patients to more quickly lose weight and to avoid deficiency of a critical B vitamin.

In a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, John Morton, MD, associate professor of surgery at the medical school, showed that patients who take probiotics after the gastric-bypass procedure tend to shed more pounds than those who don’t take the supplements. Probiotics are the so-called “good” bacteria found in yogurt as well as in over-the-counter dietary supplements that help in the digestion of food.

“Surprisingly, the probiotic group attained a significantly greater percent of excess weight loss than that of control group,” said Morton, who wrote the paper with lead author Gavitt Woodard, a third-year medical student, and five other medical students at the Surgery Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation in Stanford’s Department of Surgery. Morton has performed more than 1,000 of these bypasses at Stanford Hospital & Clinics.

The researchers followed 44 patients on whom Morton had performed the procedure from 2006 to 2007. Patients were randomized into either a probiotic or a control group. Both groups received the same bariatric medical care and nutritional counseling, as well as the support of weight-loss study groups. Both groups also were allowed to consume yogurt, a natural source of probiotics. In addition, the probiotic group consumed one pill per day of Puritan’s Pride, a probiotic supplement that is available online and in many stores. Morton has no financial ties to the company that makes the supplement.

The study showed that at three months, the probiotics group registered a 47.6% weight loss, compared with a 38.5% for the control group.

The study also found that levels of vitamin B-12 were higher in the patients taking probiotics — a significant finding because patients often are deficient in B-12 after gastric-bypass surgery. The probiotics group had B-12 levels of 1,214 picograms per milliliter at three months, compared with the control group’s levels of 811 pg/mL.

There was no outside funding for the study.

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Chews-4-Health to be featured on TV show

BY Michael Johnsen

WILMINGTON, N.C. Chews-4-Health on Friday announced that its super fruit/sea vegetable/antioxidant chewable dietary supplement will be the featured nutritional product on the upcoming television show “Kids Spaces”. The “Focus on Healthy Children” special will air nationally on the Woman’s Entertainment Network July 24 and on The Learning Channel July 25.

Chews-4-Health provides 13 servings of fruits and vegetables and contains no chemical preservatives, artificial sweeteners, dyes or unnatural flavors. The chewable tablets are made from whole food fruits and vegetables.

“Chews-4-Health helps parents across the country give their children the very best nutritious dietary supplements,” stated David Friedman, product formulator and CEO of Chews-4-Health. “It is an honor to be featured on ‘Kids Spaces’ as the nutritional product of choice, and I hope many parents tune in to the show and get this valuable information.”

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WHO to stop disclosing global tables of confirmed H1N1 cases; will continue to document pandemic

BY Michael Johnsen

GENEVA The World Health Organization announced on Thursday it would no longer provide the global tables showing the numbers of confirmed cases for all countries. However, as part of continued efforts to document the global spread of the H1N1 pandemic, regular updates will be provided describing the situation in the newly affected countries.

“At this point, further spread of the pandemic, within affected countries and to new countries, is considered inevitable,” WHO stated. “The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks,” making it extremely difficult for countries to try and confirm novel H1N1 infections through laboratory testing.

The novel H1N1 pandemic has been characterized, to date, by the mildness of symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients, who usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms, WHO stated. But countries still need to be on guard for signals indicating a more virulent, or more deadly strain, such as spikes in rates of absenteeism from schools or workplaces or a surge in emergency department visits.

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