Can someone else’s poop help you lose weight?

Can someone else’s poop help you lose weight?

You’ve probably heard about a heart or lung transplant, but have you ever heard about stool transplants? A new study shows that fecal transplants of bacteria can help people lose weight and manage certain metabolic diseases.

According to the new study published in the journal Genome Biology, the variety of bacteria living in your poop is linked to the amount of fat in your body. The leaner you are, the more diverse bacteria can be found in your gut.

“This study has shown a clear link between bacterial diversity in feces and markers of obesity and cardiovascular risk,” Michelle Beaumont, a research associate in gut microbiome and obesity at Kings College London and lead author of this study, told CNN.

For the study, researchers examined stool samples of 1,300 sets of twins. To determine what fecal microbes existed, DNA was extracted from twins’ samples. The bacteria found was analyzed between lean and obese twins to understand the differences in their gut flora.

The biggest difference was seen when comparing visceral fat. Those with lower levels of visceral fat/leaner people, were shown to possess a more diverse range of bacteria in their feces. Whereas, greater fat levels were associated with having a lower diversity of bacteria.

“Recently, the field of gastroenterology has seen that fecal transplantation can give surprisingly good results, and in many cases, cure in treating tough colon infections, such as severe drug-resistant c. difficile colitis, by transplanting another person’s stool into the recipient of another,” says Dr. Kenneth D. Chi, a gastroenterologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

By reducing obesity, these transplants also can help prevent metabolic diseases associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“The key likely has to do with increasing the biodiversity of the patient’s flora, as this article suggests,” adds Dr. Chi. “While this article also suggests that weight loss could be related, and possibly altered, by increasing the biodiversity of a person’s stool, the ‘proof is not yet in the pudding,’ and much has yet to be learned from how gut flora affects us.”

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Comments

6 Comments

  1. Will there be clinical trials on this procedure in the foreseeable future?

  2. Is there anyone DOING this procedure in the Advocate network?

    • Health enews editor October 18, 2016 at 7:53 am · Reply

      Hi Sara,
      Thanks for reading. That’s a good question. We have checked with Dr. Chi and are told that we might start doing fecal transplantation for refractory c. Diff infection in the future, but at the moment we are not performing them at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

  3. Does this mean that taking probiotics, such as Florajen is a good thing to do, because it promotes a healthy flora in the intestinal track? Or, is it not a good idea, because of the type of flora it contains?

  4. I work at Good Shepherd and we did it there a few years ago

  5. @Sara –
    Yes, as of December 2018, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital is now doing fecal transplant (FMT) procedures on refractory c.diff colitis and have a protocol for this procedure.
    – Dr. Chi

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.