Freeze-dried poop pills being tested for obesity treatment | Ars Technica

“‘The freeze-dried poop method’ might not sound like a weight-loss strategy that would catch on, but–as some researchers are now testing–it may be an effective way to slim down.

In a randomized, controlled clinical trial starting this year, researchers will test out such a fecal formula for the treatment of obesity. They’ll also try to glean critical details about the human microbiome and its role in our health and metabolism.”

I find this whole microbiome thing incredibly interesting. I first heard about fecal transplants just over a year ago in a New Yorker article, and this study is going to see if feces with a richer microbiome can make a difference in weight.

I’ve long wondered about the obesity epidemic. It’s not just about people eating more or exercising less. When I was a teenager in the 1970s, we consumed massive amounts of pizza and Coke, and obesity was a rarity. In my high school, among about 4,000 students, there were only a handful of obese kids.

I think something external has changed us. Maybe it’s plastics, maybe it’s chemicals, maybe it’s high-fructose corn syrup, but there’s a lot of evidence that our gut bacteria may have changed, and that this bacteria may be one of the main regulators of weight.

Source: Freeze-dried poop pills being tested for obesity treatment | Ars Technica

6 thoughts on “Freeze-dried poop pills being tested for obesity treatment | Ars Technica

  1. Obviously, obesity a tremendously complicated and multi-faceted topic.

    There’s one point that never seems to get mentioned, given the (understandable) widespread drive to gradually eliminate tobacco usage. But if you look at the smoking drop graph and the obesity rise graph, they fit pretty perfectly.

    Don’t know how much of that is the answer, but the correlation is striking, and it does make a goodly amount of common sense.

  2. Obviously, obesity a tremendously complicated and multi-faceted topic.

    There’s one point that never seems to get mentioned, given the (understandable) widespread drive to gradually eliminate tobacco usage. But if you look at the smoking drop graph and the obesity rise graph, they fit pretty perfectly.

    Don’t know how much of that is the answer, but the correlation is striking, and it does make a goodly amount of common sense.

  3. Over the years, I’ve been collecting a list of things known to affect weight. A lot of the list comes from when I still read Science News regularly, others from assorted books and journal articles. Note that ‘willpower’ is not on the list. It’s known -not- to affect weight significantly. Exercise also isn’t on the list, it just makes you hungrier. (Nova had a good episode a few years ago that followed a collection of non-runners training to run a marathon. The overweight woman wanted to do it to lose weight. She was one of the few finishers, but she didn’t lose a pound.

    In no particular order:

    Genetics & inheritance
    (Affects how you digest various kinds of food, how many mitochondria your cells have, hormones, and more)

    Gut bacteria
    (How many and which species; quantity)

    Antibiotic use, especially in children
    (Affects the gut bacteria)

    What your mom ate while carrying you
    What your mom was exposed to (chemicals and diseases)
    (Can change your hormones, alter epigenetics)

    For males, whether your grandfather starved as a teenager
    (Epigenetics again, from a study done in Finland)

    At least 6 different viruses
    (Causation has been shown in pigs, correlation in humans)

    Large number of pollutants
    (Including the ubiquitous bisphenol family)

    Carbohydrates, especially sugars and processed such as flours
    (Raises insulin levels immediately)
    (Prevents cells from using fat as fuel)
    (Raises blood pressure much more than salt does)

    Fructose, either in sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose syrup
    (Fructose is detoxified in the liver, creating fat deposits in and on the liver)

    Why calories are misleading at best:

    Rob Dunn, The Hidden Truths about Calories
    http://www.robrdunn.com/2012/08/the-hidden-truths-about-calories/

    Not only people are getting heavier:

    David Berreby, The Obesity Era
    http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/david-berreby-obesity-era/

    A strong case that eating animal fat is not bad for you, but carbohydrates quite likely are (the adverse environmental consequences of this are another matter):

    Gary Taube, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” or the shorter “Why We Get Fat.” (Taube has a physics background, and he actually understands causation, unlike too many medical researchers.)

    Great books on the bacteria and other critters living on and in us:

    Carl Zimmer, “Parasite Rex”
    Carl Zimmer, “Microcosm”
    Marlene Zuk, “Riddled with Life”
    Rob Dunn, “The Wildlife of Our Bodies”

  4. Over the years, I’ve been collecting a list of things known to affect weight. A lot of the list comes from when I still read Science News regularly, others from assorted books and journal articles. Note that ‘willpower’ is not on the list. It’s known -not- to affect weight significantly. Exercise also isn’t on the list, it just makes you hungrier. (Nova had a good episode a few years ago that followed a collection of non-runners training to run a marathon. The overweight woman wanted to do it to lose weight. She was one of the few finishers, but she didn’t lose a pound.

    In no particular order:

    Genetics & inheritance
    (Affects how you digest various kinds of food, how many mitochondria your cells have, hormones, and more)

    Gut bacteria
    (How many and which species; quantity)

    Antibiotic use, especially in children
    (Affects the gut bacteria)

    What your mom ate while carrying you
    What your mom was exposed to (chemicals and diseases)
    (Can change your hormones, alter epigenetics)

    For males, whether your grandfather starved as a teenager
    (Epigenetics again, from a study done in Finland)

    At least 6 different viruses
    (Causation has been shown in pigs, correlation in humans)

    Large number of pollutants
    (Including the ubiquitous bisphenol family)

    Carbohydrates, especially sugars and processed such as flours
    (Raises insulin levels immediately)
    (Prevents cells from using fat as fuel)
    (Raises blood pressure much more than salt does)

    Fructose, either in sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose syrup
    (Fructose is detoxified in the liver, creating fat deposits in and on the liver)

    Why calories are misleading at best:

    Rob Dunn, The Hidden Truths about Calories
    http://www.robrdunn.com/2012/08/the-hidden-truths-about-calories/

    Not only people are getting heavier:

    David Berreby, The Obesity Era
    http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/david-berreby-obesity-era/

    A strong case that eating animal fat is not bad for you, but carbohydrates quite likely are (the adverse environmental consequences of this are another matter):

    Gary Taube, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” or the shorter “Why We Get Fat.” (Taube has a physics background, and he actually understands causation, unlike too many medical researchers.)

    Great books on the bacteria and other critters living on and in us:

    Carl Zimmer, “Parasite Rex”
    Carl Zimmer, “Microcosm”
    Marlene Zuk, “Riddled with Life”
    Rob Dunn, “The Wildlife of Our Bodies”

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