Though existing research has shown that gastric bypass surgery resolves type 2 diabetes, the reason has remained unclear. A research team at Boston Children’s Hospital, has identified the small intestine—widely believed to be a passive organ—as the major contributor to the body’s metabolism, based on a study in rats. The report appears in the July 26, 2013, issue of Science.
Weight loss and improved diabetes often go hand in hand, but type 2 diabetes often disappears even before weight loss occurs after gastric bypass. To investigate why this happens, The team spent one year studying rats and observed that after gastric bypass surgery, the small intestine changes the way it processes glucose. The team saw the intestine using and disposing of glucose, thereby regulating blood glucose levels in the rest of the body and helping to eliminate type 2 diabetes.