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How Far Would You Go To Lose Weight?
You probably have at least some idea about how the bacteria in your gut can affect your entire body. It does so much more than just digest food and give you gas! Scientists have known for some time that the digestive microbiome makeup has been linked to obesity. Some of the bacteria in our own bodies seem to encourage it to store more fat.
Scientists are only just beginning to understand the complete role that microbiome plays in our overall health — both physical health and mental health — and how these little colonies of bacteria work is still a mystery.
However, scientists do know that fecal transplants (bet you never imagined something like that was being done!) can help to restore the balance of bacterial populations that can be ravaged by chemotherapy and antibiotic use. And they are betting that fecal transplants just might be able to rebalance the digestive systems of those who are obese.
Believe it or not, researchers have already tried this experiment using rodents, and later in 2016, they plan to try it on humans. This randomized, controlled study will be done at Massachusetts General Hospital. This study involves giving capsules of freeze dried poop, graciously donated by healthy, lean persons, to obese subjects to see if it will affect their weight.
Subjects are going to be receiving six to 12 weeks of poop capsules, after which researchers will track their weight for at least one year.
This isn’t a pleasing thought by any means, but there is powerful evidence that poop is good for the microbiome in our guts and can change our bodies dramatically. Some prior research studies have found that poop capsules are more effective than antibiotics, and if you are a healthy individual, there is actually a demand for your poop. You might not get rich quick, but this would definitely be a story for your grandchildren — just not at the dinner table.
This is a small trial involving only 21 obese subjects, and the lead researcher of this trial, Elaine Yu, has stated that she really has no idea what the end result will be. However, even if these subjects do not lose weight, they hope to be able to learn more about the microbes in our bodies and how they can affect us.
One 2013 study found that when the gut bacteria from human twins was transplanted into mice, it had a powerful effect on the animals’ weight. In fact, the mice that were given bacteria from the twin that was overweight gained weight even though the animal was not given extra food. The mouse that received bacteria from the twin that was of a normal weight kept their normal-sized body.
Poop donors are going to be very carefully screened to be certain that their “samples” are as clean and healthy as possible. This type of research is still in its very early days, so don’t expect to see any freeze dried poop pills in your local supermarket anytime soon.
However, if this does turn out that, in the end, something as simple and disgusting as freeze dried poop pills are the answer the obesity … If you could take a poop pill each morning and lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, would you take it?