Tags: Gastric | Bypass | Increases | Alcohol's | Effects

Gastric Bypass Increases Alcohol's Effects

Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM

Those who undergo gastric bypass surgery may find they get drunk faster and sober up slower. According to scientists, the reason is that bypass surgery bypasses the stomach, which is one of the two places the enzyme needed to metabolize alcohol is found.

"If you're bypassing the stomach, you're bypassing most of the ability to metabolize alcohol," Dr. John Morton, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics told HealthDay News.

After discussing bariatric surgery on "Oprah" and being overwhelmed with questions about how the weight-loss surgery affected the ability to drink alcohol, Morton decided to do his own research.

He studied 19 people who had undergone gastric bypass surgery at least one year before, and 17 control subjects. Each volunteer was asked to drink five ounces of red wine. They then had their alcohol levels tested by alcohol breath analysis every five minutes until their levels reached zero.

The alcohol levels of gastric bypass patients peaked at 0.08 percent compared to 0.05 percent for the controls. Some states consider drivers to be intoxicated at 0.08. It took gastric bypass patients an average of 108 minutes to get to zero while the controls took only 72 minutes.

"The alcohol peaked higher and stayed around longer," Morton said. In addition, the bypass patients reported the same level of symptoms as the controls, even though their alcohol levels were higher.

"This led us to think that some patients may have high breath alcohol levels and not be aware of it," Morton said. "One drink may be too much, especially if you are going to have a drink and drive.

"This is something patients have to be aware of," he said. "The bottom line is alcohol use after gastric bypass should be used with caution, and certainly patients shouldn't have even a single drink and drive."

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Those who undergo gastric bypass surgery may find they get drunk faster and sober up slower. According to scientists, the reason is that bypass surgery bypasses the stomach, which is one of the two places the enzyme needed to metabolize alcohol is found. "If you're...
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Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM
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