Recent evidence suggests that those who lose weight through surgery may actually slow down the ageing process.
At the ends of our chromosomes are segments of DNA called telomeres, which play an important part in cell division and which protect our genetic data. It turns out that each time the cell divides the telomeres get shorter and at a certain length, the cell will no longer divide. The cell will either remain inactive or die. Shorter telomeres are associated with ageing and age-related diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia as well as a shorter lifespan. Shortening of the telomeres is also associated with being overweight and an excess of abdominal fat.
Previous studies have shown that losing weight through diet and physical activity could help preserve the length of the telomeres, so slowing the ageing process at a cellular level. Now a study has shown similar benefits for patients undergoing weight loss surgery.
Dr John Morton and his group at Stanford University studied 51 patients who underwent surgical weight loss. One year after the procedure they had lost an average of 71% of their excess weight and shown lower levels or cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a marker for inflammation. In addition, they found a significant increase in the length of the telomeres in these patients, indicating a reversal of the cellular ageing process.
So when you lose weight, you don’t just look younger, you really are younger!
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
10th February 2014