The weight loss world has seen lots of strange trends come and go. That being said, a new, weird weight loss tool is about to be tested in a new clinical trial later this year. Freeze-dried "poo pills," and their impact on obesity, will undergo an examination.
The study will examine how gut bacteria impacts weight loss and how the human microbiome impacts health, metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Basically, the trial will replace the intestinal microbes of an obese person with those of a skinny person through their feces.
20 obese patients will be given capsules of freeze-dried feces from healthy, lean donors. Some of the capsules will be a placebo. The participants will take the pills every week for six weeks while following a healthy diet and exercise plan. Elaine Yu, an assistant professor and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, is the lead on the trial and she hopes that one day this treatment can be used, along with dietary interventions, to treat obesity and metabolic disorders. "We can do all of the detail-oriented work to try to figure out which microbial communities are being affected to give more information for targeted treatments in the future," Yu said.
[bctt tweet="Will Human Poo-Packed Pills Help With Weight Loss? New US Trial Hopes To Find Out"]
While fecal transplant procedures are not new, Matt Cooper, director University of Queensland Centre for Superbug Solutions, says that this US study would be the first time the benefits have been tested in a controlled clinical trial. Cooper says the link between fecal transplants and weight loss was first noticed while treating patients for the gut infection clostridium difficile or "C diff."
"During fecal transplant therapy we have seen fat people who had received poo from a lean donor getting thinner and it was an interesting observation, but we need clinical trials to link cause to effect," Cooper explained. "The digestion of food is not done by entirely by stomach acid and our human enzymes, but also by the bacteria that live inside us— there's more than a kilogram and a half of bacteria inside the gut."
While a successful trial could mean an effective tool for battling obesity, Cooper says it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a "quick fix."
"While this may help people with weight loss, it all comes down to exercise and the food you put in your mouth," he said. "The good bacteria from the pills will not last forever without a balanced diet with a lot of fiber. If this trial works, we must remember that if you keep eating bad food, the bad bacteria will return."
In the meantime, if you want to help your gut bacteria, Cooper suggests enriching your short chain fatty acids. These acids help regulate the energy balance in the liver and fat cells. You can give them a boost by eating fiber rich foods like legumes, lentils, oranges, apples, pears, beans, peas and cucumbers.
What do think of this potential weight loss treatment? Would you consume a freeze-dried poo pill if it meant you could get your weight in check?
Source: ABC News