Doctors Are Testing Freeze-Dried Poop Pills to Treat Obesity

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The bacteria in your gut contribute much more to your life than just gas. Changes in the makeup of the digestive microbiome have been linked to obesity, as some bacteria seem to spur the body to store more fat. And just as fecal transplants can restore the balance of bacterial populations ravaged by antibiotic use and Clostridium difficile infection (often referred to as "C. diff"), fecal transplants might be able to balance the digestive systems of obese individuals. 

Scientists have already tried this out on rodents, but this year, they’ll test it out on humans, too. A randomized, controlled clinical trial conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital will test how capsules of freeze-dried poop (donated by healthy, lean individuals) can affect the weights of people with obesity. 

Patients will begin receiving six weeks of poop pills starting in a few months, after which the researchers will track their weight for at least a year. 

Scientists are just beginning to understand the outsized role the microbiome plays in our health (both mental and physical), but how exactly different bacterial colonies affect us is still something of a mystery. This study should be able to provide unique insights into how our gut bacteria influence our weight, and whether those bacterial colonies can be repopulated with healthier species. 

[h/t: Ars Technica]