Poo pill designed to combat obesity

Scientists at a United States hospital are using a freeze-dried pill made of faecal matter to treat obesity.
The cure to obesity could be locked inside a stranger's faeces.
The cure to obesity could be locked inside a stranger's faeces.

Crazy diet fads and stories about fatal, illegally purchased diet medication have proven that people will try almost anything to lose weight. But what if your doctor says there’s was a way to treat obesity regardless of diet, but it involves ingesting a stranger’s frozen faecal matter? According to Quartz, a research team will this year begin trials of this nature using a daily, freeze-dried pill made up of faecal matter.

Led by clinical researcher, Elaine Yu researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital will begin trials using 20 obese patients. The study will explore whether doctors can help obese patients lose weight using the intestinal microbes found in faecal matter.

This comes after a 2013 study using four sets of human twins and mice found that mice that were given intestinal implants from an obese human gained weight despite their diet. The researcher behind the study concluded that there could be a cause and effect relationship between gut microbes and obesity. A different study conducted in 2008, also conducted using twins, found evidence that having less diverse intestinal microbes is linked with obesity.

The participants in Yu’s study will begin ingesting faecal matter pills later this year with the aim of having a diverse range of intestinal microbes transferred to their guts. If the study is successful, faecal pills could be used to treat obesity in the future. 

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