The Particulars: Telomeres—genetic biomarkers that play a role in cellular aging and disease development—have been shown to become shorter as people age. Studies also indicate a link between aging, obesity, and inflammation. The relationship between telomere length and weight loss following gastric bypass has not been well described.

Data Breakdown: Study investigators at Stanford University reviewed genetic data of patients before and after gastric bypass surgery. Despite patients losing 71% of their excess weight and experiencing a 60% drop in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, telomere length did not change significantly overall. However, patients with high preoperative LDL cholesterol or CRP levels experienced a significantly lengthening of their telomeres, when compared with patients with low baseline LDL and CRP levels.

Take Home Pearls: Weight loss following gastric bypass surgery appears to lead to decreased aging by increasing telomere length. This association appears particularly strong among those with high preoperative CRP and LDL levels.