Weight-Loss Surgery May Lower Alcohol Tolerance

People considering weight-loss surgery might want to keep a possible side effect in mind if their particular bariatric procedure happens to involve a gastric bypass. Researchers are finding this highly successful form of weight loss surgery may also lower a person’s tolerance for alcohol courtesy of faster entrance into the bloodstream.

Gastric bypass surgery is one of the more popular long-term, surgical weight loss solutions. This procedure involves lowering the stomach’s holding capacity while also rerouting digestion directly to the small intestine. It’s the latter half of the procedure that might cause some patients to feel the effects of alcohol faster and more profoundly, researchers have found.

A small-scale study on the topic was recently conducted by the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, Miss. Here researchers pulled in 17 obese women for the study. Eight of the women had undergone gastric bypass procedures within five years prior to the study’s start. The other nine had not yet undergone the procedure.

During the course of the study, all women involved were asked to consume two standard alcoholic drinks or two non-alcoholic drinks within two 10-minute sessions conducted roughly a week apart. Researchers ultimately found that BAC levels among the bypass group exceeded legal limits for a half-hour following consumption. Those in the non-bypass group never saw their blood alcohol levels rise above the legal limit for driving.

While the study only involved a small group, it does point to the potential for alcohol to be more rapidly introduced into the blood stream following gastric bypass procedures. Patients considering this long-term weight loss solution may want to be very mindful of this potential side effect.

Gastric bypass procedures and other similar operations can be especially helpful in assisting people who are seriously obese in bringing weight down to more healthy levels. Before diving into any surgical option, however, patients are urged to discuss all the alternatives carefully with their healthcare providers.


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