Fecal Transplantation Can Be a Potential Obesity Prevention Method

JANUARY 20, 2016
Amy Jacob
Just the thought of consuming fecal pills, one’s own or someone else’s, is enough to make people lose weight.
 
Elaine W. Yu, MD, an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), will be testing fecal samples from lean people and administer them in 1-2 gram capsules to obese people in a clinical trial slated for later this year.
 
Yu and team are basing their trial on growing evidence that indicates the gut microbiome is linked to people’s weight, health, and obesity.
 
The idea is to explore the hypothesis that leaner people could have different kinds of microorganisms in their intestines and that transferring these bacteria to obese patients through frozen feces could help with weight loss
 
While the study is not yet open for participant recruitment, the researchers are working to understand the role of the gut microbiome.
 
Prior studies have suggested adjusting the gut microbiome could cause obesity, and that obese individuals have less diverse types of bacteria, often variables like high fat, low fiber, and high refined carbohydrate diets and antibiotics that kill many bacteria species in the intestines and allow fewer species to take over.
 
Additionally, while previous fecal transplants had been found to reduce weight in mice models, experts stress the fecal pills are not the only answer to solving obesity. 
 
The question, then, arises, upon infecting the gut microbiome with someone else’s, what would prevent the original microbiome from eventually returning to its previous state? When administering fecal transplants, physicians remind patients it’s imperative to not only rely on the transplant – they should also consider altering diet, environment, or medications.

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