Changes in gastrointestinal hormones and leptin after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure: a review

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Apr;110(4):571-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.12.023.


Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a well-accepted tool for the treatment of obesity and, compared to conventional weight loss methods (eg, diet and exercise) and other weight loss surgeries (eg, gastric banding), it results in considerable weight loss that is maintained long term. Although successful, the mechanisms for weight loss are not completely understood and it is thought that gastrointestinal hormones play a role. Several gastrointestinal hormones have been identified for their effects on appetite, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY), leptin, and ghrelin. This review encompasses a literature search that included 45 primary articles and shows that there are alterations in GLP-1, PYY, leptin, and ghrelin postoperatively. GLP-1 and PYY concentrations were usually found to be higher, whereas ghrelin levels were typically lower post- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass than in individuals with obesity, those who were overweight or of normal weight, and in those who underwent procedures other than Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or who achieved weight loss by lifestyle modification. An understanding of how gastrointestinal hormones change after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass may help dietetics practitioners optimize nutrition care for this patient population. A review of the literature also highlighted some research gaps that should be taken into consideration when designing future studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation / physiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / blood*
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Obesity, Morbid / blood*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Peptide YY
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1