Bariatric Surgery: Lose Weight, Gain Memory

If you’re thinking about bariatric surgery, you’re probably aware that weight loss and possible improvement in medical conditions are some positive side effects. But, did you know that you might walk away with better cognitive function too? A recent study found that patients who underwent bariatric surgery had improved memory but the memory function of their obese counterparts who did not undergo surgery actually declined.

It’s important to consider all the pros and cons of bariatric surgery, aside from weight loss, to make sure you’re making the right choice. Here are some things to consider:

  • Improved pre-surgery medical conditions: Many people experience improved blood pressure, lower risk for type 2 diabetes and lessened sleep apnea.
  • Easier exercise: With less weight to carry around, people exercise more easily, which may also help them lose more weight.
  • Improved mental health: Memory and depression can both improve and people might more easily socialize, feeling less self-conscious.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Regardless of the type of surgery, you will likely need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life to prevent a nutritional deficiency. With bypass (as opposed to the lap band) where part of the stomach and intestines is removed, the risk is even greater.
  • Alcohol intolerance: This may be a pro or con, depending on the person… a study found that post-surgery it took longer for people to become sober than pre-surgery.
  • Very significant lifestyle changes: To be clear, your stomach is either banded so that a multivitamin-size pill cannot even pass through the opening or stapled and connected to a lower part of your intestines so you can’t absorb everything. If you don’t follow a very specific diet, you can have major side effects (vomiting, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea). Not everyone is ready for such drastic life changes.

There are a variety of positives and negatives to consider with bariatric surgery, and it seems we can add possible improved memory to the list. Now, hopefully you’ll lose your keys less often!

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  • I’m actually trying to get the lap band done right now. I’m 23 and weigh 275 pounds. I’m almost done with my six months but ever since I started with my six months I have been trying to eat healthy and exercise a lot. So far I have made it to walking 5 miles a day! Hopefully the FDA will approve me. Wish me luck. @LISA WEST<3

  • Well researched and informative article!

    It is interesting to see the association with weight loss and memory improvement.

    Some food we consume naturally like fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage, also, oily fish like salmon contains omega-3 do help improve memory, also physical exercises that help with weight loss is known to improve concentration and boost your memory

    For more great information on improve memory, visit

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