Struggling with obesity has grown to epidemic proportions within the United States and across the world. Being overweight is not always due to a lack of exercise or over eating, often times resulting from a poor microbiome environment in the gut. Researchers have investigated the impact of feces transplants in patients, with positive success. Building upon that research, the Massachusetts General Hospital has sponsored a study that will test the impact of poop pills, filled with freeze dried fecal matter, that aim at improving the microbiome environment. The pills are expected to be a much easier way of inserting the healthy fecal matter into an individual, rather than inserting it through the anus.
The study is aimed at battling obesity in individuals and will occur in two phases, according to Clinical Trials. The first phase will introduce a placebo capsule into the study and the second phase will introduce the fecal matter transplant capsules. The study, officially named Placebo Controlled Study of Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) to Impact Body Weight and Glycemic Control in Adults Using a Frozen Encapsulated Inoculum, has an initial focus at changing the individual’s body weight over a 12 week period. However, there are expectations that the fecal matter pills will reduce insulin resistance in individuals and impact lean fat mass in individuals.
People Magazine reported that the trial will include 21 volunteer participants, each considered to be obese. Some of the volunteers will receive the placebo pill, others will receive the poop pill. Elaine W. Yu is heading up the research and expects the initial study to last for six weeks. Yu has guaranteed that the pills, about 1 centimeter in size, are tasteless, odorless, and double encapsulated, to make the experience more pleasant for the test subjects. The FDA has also approved all fecal donors via a stringent vetting process that ensured their fecal matter was disease free and safe for consumption.
“The donors go through a screening process that is more rigorous than what is required for blood donation. Donors must meet strict weight criteria and are screened for medical, infectious and metabolic disorders.”
Yu hopes for positive results from the study, expecting to focus on more targeted uses in the future, including diabetes.
“eventually lead to more targeted therapies for obesity and other metabolic disorders such as diabetes.”
For now, the study is focused on the role that microbiota play in human metabolism.
“Multiple lines of evidence suggest that gut microbiota play an important role in regulating human metabolism. In this study, subjects will receive FMT capsules from lean metabolically healthy donors to study effects on body weight and insulin sensitivity.”
Science Alert reported that a previous study in 2013, conducted on mice from feces supplied from non obese human twins, show positive influences on the weight of the mice, leading to the expansion of the study. In comparison, a similar study was conducted where the mice were given feces from overweight twins, resulting in weight gain in the mice.
The study is still in its early stages, so Yu is unsure what the final results will tell. However, she is hopeful that there will be a positive reaction to the freeze dried fecal capsules.
Fecal transplants have been around for a while now, resulting in positive impact on the individuals that receive the treatment. The introduction of the pill form of the treatment could result in a less invasive method of performing the transplant with similar impact on the individuals.
What are your thoughts on treatments such as the fecal microbia transplant, would you opt in if it could help you lose weight and in
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