Being a teenager can be pretty rough. And for an obese teen — well, it can be downright intolerable.
Which is why more and more obese teens are going under the knife for bariatric surgery. But new research shows that teens that have the surgery are losing more than just fat.
Research appearing in the journal Paediatrics shows that adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery lose significant amounts of bone mineral content. In the study, bone mineral content decreased by 7.4 per cent in two years. Bone mineral density also fell.
Researchers want to conduct longer follow-up studies to see if there is long-term loss or if bone mass stabilizes.
This bone mineral loss is a huge deal, as it's occurring when adolescents should be reaching peak bone mass — and the future is a huge question mark.
Of course, the promise to conduct follow-up means one thing is for certain — more teens are going to serve as guinea pigs before this bone mass loss issue is figured out. To me, that's unacceptable.
Especially since this isn't the first time we've seen huge red flags on the weight loss surgery front. Late last year, I told you about the birth defect risks that could exist for teen girls who undergo gastric bypass surgery.
You may recall that researchers had uncovered a raised risk of neural tube defects, which can lead to paralysis or mental retardation — a risk that hadn't been considered before giving the go-ahead for young people to take these drastic weight loss measures. And since girls who undergo bypass surgery are at a higher risk of unintended pregnancies than girls who haven't, this was big news. In fact, the researchers concluded that bariatric surgery shouldn't be performed on teen girls.
But, just to illustrate how big a deal bariatric surgery has become in our culture, a couple of months ago I wrote about a group of researchers who started a clinical trial to study whether or not ALL people with type 2 diabetes should be treated with bariatric surgery.
So, it sure seems to me that nobody's going to be going after bariatric surgery any time soon. Which is a shame — because we're only going to see more and more reports of the ill effects it has on the human body.
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Q: I've been having stomach problems, and my doctor wants to put me on a prescription to suppress acid production. But don't our bodies need stomach acid? I mean, it's there for a reason, right?
Dr. Jonathan V. Wright: You're absolutely right. The main causes of poor digestion and assimilation are age-related gastric hypo-chlorhydria (more commonly referred to as low stomach acid) and age-related gastric achlorhydria (which is no stomach acid at all). Like it or not, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop these problems.
Unfortunately, doctors rarely recognize the seriousness of this problem and treat the underlying cause. Instead, many doctors today are only making the problem worse by putting people on patent medications specifically designed to suppress stomach acid production.
Low stomach acid levels lead to alterations in your intestinal micro-flora. Friendly intestinal micro-organisms are dependent on the natural intestinal pH balance that results when all digestive organs are working well. When the major source of intestinal acidity (the stomach) fails or when it's suppressed by patent medications, intestinal contents become too alkaline, allowing unfriendly microorganisms to enter the scene, including Candida albicans (yeast) and many others.
Low stomach acid has been linked to hip fractures, pneumonia, macular degeneration, and more.
The increased risk of infection that goes along with low gastric acidity isn't limited to the intestinal tract, though. Other studies have shown that when patent medications suppress stomach acid, many seemingly unrelated parts of the body are affected. And it makes sense when you think about it since individual nutrients are vital for maintaining all sorts of body functions.
You should work with your doctor to monitor your stomach acid. If you do have age-related gastric hypo-chlorhydria or achlorhydria — and we all develop one or the other sooner or later — the problem is fairly easy to treat. Talk to your doctor about taking hydrochloric acid and pepsin capsules to improve your digestion and balance the pH of your gastrointestinal system.
Although it's not as common, poor digestion and/or absorption can also be caused by low levels of pancreatic enzymes and by hidden gluten/gliadin sensitivity. So your doctor should check those levels as well. Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own doctor before acting on any recommendations contained herein. Wishing you the best of health,
Andrew Miller UK Editor Nutrition and Healing
P.S. In the latest issue of Nutrition & Healing, Dr. Wright will tell you about the Mayo Clinic 'advancement' that's kept hypothyroid treatment stuck in the dark ages! Plus you will learn about the accidental discovery that could provide answers to some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. And since summer is here, we'll give you handy tips on how to get a safe and healthy sun tan... plus much, much more...
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"Kids Lose Bone After Bariatric Surgery," MedPage Today (medpagetoday.com) Your customer number is: 000052221104
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