Capsaicin interrupts Nerve Signals - Possible Alternative to Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

Hot peppers and scale - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) investigated the use of capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers, to see if it useful for a vagal de afferentation procedure. As a comparison, the researchers investigated a vagatomy for weight loss. The researchers wanted to see how these procedures would work for weight loss. While the study was conducted in a laboratory setting, it might eventually become another option to bariatric weight loss surgery. The study results are published in the May issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

Ali Tavakkoli, MD, BWH Department of Surgery, and his team investigated the two surgeries – Vagotomy and Vagal de-afferentation – in the lab and found that the vagotomy significantly reduced visceral abdominal fat as well as total body fat. The visceral fat is found in the spaces between the abdominal organs and is associated with obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. The Vagal de-afferentation surgery also showed reduction of fat, but in a smaller amount, but the researchers says it is still remarkable. The vagal de afferentation had fewer side effects than the vagotomy.

The vagotomy is completed by taking out the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve communicates with the stomach and the brain. The vagal de-afferentation leaves the vagus nerve, but destroys some of the nerve fibers using capsaicin. The hot capsaicin destroyed the nerve fibers that travel from the stomach to the brain, but the signals sent from the brain to the stomach remains working.

More research needs to be completed to see if these surgeries would be safe and effective in humans. They note that they would need to test capsaicin on human vagal fibers to see if it could even be used on people. Based on the study results, the researchers remain optimistic for the future of this weight loss procedure.

"As demand for surgeries that reduce weight and obesity-related diseases increases, procedures that can achieve success in a less invasive fashion will become increasingly important," said Tavakkoli. "This is an important and developing surgical discipline, especially as diabetes rates soar worldwide, and people try to find effective therapies to fight this epidemic."

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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