Can a Poo Transplant Help You Lose Weight?

We know that fecal (stool, Poo) transplant is recently talked about in medical treatment. Here are some interesting implications that are being investigated. I thought this could be interesting read. Here is an article written by Dr Gerry Mullin.

Your gut flora is a highly diverse ecosystem whose composition is as unique as your fingerprint. The more diverse it is, the healthier you are. Your gut ecosystem is also delicately balanced between many friendly symbiotes and a limited number of potentially harmful pathogens that are prevented from gaining a foothold and triggering an aggressive immune response.

There are times, however, when your gut’s garden gets out of balance, resulting in an overabundance of pathogens and/or a deficiency of beneficial bacteria. This is called dysbiosis — a state of microbial imbalance related to your gut ecosystem, your skin, your inner ear, or any of the other communities of microbes in your body. The scientific literature is quite robust in connecting dysbiosis of human ecosystems to adverse health outcomes. Science is linking dysbiosis to obesity and diabetes (aka diabesity), and there are abundant data in mice showing how lean mice can become fat through stool transplants from fat mice.

Scientists at the Center for Genome Science and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis asked themselves a simple question: Does gut flora influence weight gain? To find the answer, they designed an interesting experiment. They took two groups of mice whose digestive tracts had been sterilized. In the first group, they colonized the mice’s intestines with flora from an obese cage mate. In the second group, they colonized the intestines with flora from a lean mouse. They then fed these two groups of mice the same diet for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks, the mice that were inoculated with the obese microbiome had gained more weight than the mice exposed to the lean mouse’s gut microbiome, despite equivalent food intake and activity. (Turnbaugh PJ, Backhed F, Fulton L, Gordon JI. Diet-induced obesity is linked to marked but reversible alterations in the mouse distal gut microbiome. Cell Host . 2008;3(4):213-23.)

This experiment shows that there are specific types of gut flora that cause you to gain fat—and other types that lead to weight loss. The type that’s dominant will dictate how much fat you accumulate. Many scientists term this “infect obesity”. This finding has led to an explosion of research which clearly links a dysbiotic gut flora to aberrant metabolic consequences such as diabesity.
A very interesting research finding was published in the journal Science. A study led by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon from Washington University showed that mice when fed microbes from obese people tended to gain weight but microbes from lean people protected mice from excessive weight gain-even when fed a high-fat low fiber diet that we call “The Standard American Diet” or SAD Diet”. In another “housing” experiment, lean mice were found to transfect obese mice with their healthy microbiota — “converting” the obese microbiome to a lean one which led to weight loss. But here is the catch. In order for this to happen the obese mice had to be eating a high fiber low saturated fat diet to help support the colonization of the healthy microbes form the lean mice. These findings were published in Science September 6, 2013;vol 341:6150.

There have been interesting preliminary human trials using fecal bacteriotherapy (FBT) — the transfer of intestinal flora from one individual to another to establish a healthy guts microbiome in the recipient. In other words, these “poo transplants” take the feces of someone with a healthy microbiome and introduce it into someone who lacks one.
Most of the FBT studies so far have been conducted to determine whether this intervention would be an effective way to fight recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) which is usually seen after the use of antibiotics. Once successfully treated with antibiotics, CDI has a high recurrence (>25%) since these antimicrobials generate dysbiosis that is characterized by a reduced diversity of the microbiota which favors the growth of pathogenic species. CDI is a highly contagious diarrheal illness that is increasingly common in hospitals and can be lethal. Of the more than 400 cases of recurrent CDI that have been treated with FBT so far, the cure rate is over 90 percent for those with a potentially life-threatening infection that that is resistant to all other aggressive medical therapy. This is a powerful model for showing how dangerous dysbiosis can be and how rebalancing the gut ecosystem by infusing a healthy mix of gut microbes can produce dramatic results.

The million-dollar question: Are poo transplants an effective intervention for weight problems? Though they’re not a cure for obesity, they appear to be capable of shifting one toward a lean metabolism. In 2010, a double-blind randomized controlled trial on the use of FBT for diabetes and obesity was conducted in 18 male subjects. Half received fecal material from lean male donors; half were implanted with their own feces. After 6 weeks, those who received fecal transplants from lean donors saw a marked reduction in fasting triglyceride levels and significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. (Vrieze A, Holleman F, Zoetendal EG, de Vos WM, Hoekstra JB, Nieuwdorp M. The environment within: how gut microbiota may influence metabolism and body composition. Diabetologia. 2010;53(4):606-13. El-Matary W, Simpson R, Ricketts-Burns N.). This is a small test group, but the results were replicated in a similar follow-up study by the same researchers, so the science is promising.

Does that mean you’ll be able to walk into your doctor’s office in the near future and ask for a poo transplant to improve diabetes or lose weight? Not likely. The safety of fecal transplantation has never been formally investigated long term, and clinicians have expressed concerns about FBT “opening up a can of worms” after 4 of 77 patients developed a de novo autoimmune disease after FBT. (Fecal microbiota transplantation: are we opening a can of worms? Gastroenterology. 2012;143(2):e19; author reply e-20.) Furthermore, the FDA limited the practice of FBT to those with CDI-associated diarrhea that failed conventional medical therapy provided donors are properly screened and patients are informed that fecal transplants are still experimental.

This is an exciting area of research. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its dean, Dr. Paul Rothman, have formed a microbiome interest group led by Drs. Cynthia Sears and Glenn Treisman to set priorities and to collaborate and pool resources. I’m ( Dr Mullin) fortunate to be working with this distinguished team of investigators. Dr. Linda A. Lee, leads the Johns Hopkins FBT program. Dr. Lee is a pioneer and leader in the field of integrative gastroenterology and director of The Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center and is Clinical Director for the Division of Gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Research on FBT may pave the way for more targeted, safer interventions for obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel problems, metabolic syndrome, and more.

Night time binges and weight—my thoughts

Do you find yourself binging at night? You are not alone! . Millions other suffer from this devastating problem and that can lead to depression, fibromyalgia, obesity, fatigue, rashes, migraines, food allergies, high cholesterol, digestive problems etc
If you eat late at night just before bed, you will gain weight. Your body will store the extra calories as fat instead of processing and burning them. How does this happen? Why even after a big meal, we crave more food, more sugar, dessert, chips, and other unhealthy foods?
It is not psychological or emotional problem alone. (For some, night eating is triggered by emotions, stress of any sort). One of the underlying causes is an imbalance of the hormones that regulate appetite. These appetite hormones are insulin, Ghrelin, leptin, peptide YY and cortisol (the stress hormone.).

Insulin</FONT COLOR>

Insulin is a very important hormone that our body produces to process carbohydrate and sugar in diet. After meal when blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up and helps glucose up take in the cells, thus normalizing blood sugar. Insulin is appetite suppressor in our brain.

Ghrelin</FONT COLOR>

Ghrelin is a peptide produced by cells in the gastrointestinal tract (1, 2.) It regulates hunger, increase gastric acid secretion and gut motility. When stomach is empty it is secreted making us feel hungry, when stomach is full and stretched its secretion stops giving us feeling of full stomach.


It is a peptide that in human is secreted by cells in small intestine and colon in response to eating. In the blood and gut, PYY acts to reduce appetite, inhibit gastric motility which increases the efficiency of digestion, increases water and electrolyte absorption in the colon.


Leptin is a hormone made by fat cells which regulates the amount of fat stored in the body (3). When there is set amount of fat in the cell, leptin is secreted, which works on hypothalamus to inhibit hunger. This is a very complex process involving multitude of other hormones (4, 5, 6)

Cortisol</FONT COLOR>

When we are stressed, cortisol level goes up, which makes us hungry, blood sugar and insulin level rises. This sets the stage for insulin resistance and prediabetes.
So it is important to pay some more attention to balancing our hormone and help stop cravings and nighttime binges.


*Eat breakfast–when you eat late at night, you will not be hungry in the morning for breakfast. We need to break this cycle, so start with good protein breakfast. You can have whole free range pasture fed egg in any form you like for portion of protein (which helps balance blood sugar), or have protein shake, as I do, with hemp seed, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almond butter, frozen blueberries, strawberries, apple skins, with almond milk, with 10-15 gm of Rice, pea or whey protein. Put them all in a blender and get your morning shake.

*Avoid drinking empty calories in form of sodas, juice, sports drinks, iced tea etc. This spikes the insulin and blood sugar levels and finally results in cravings.

*Eat regularly, have breakfast, lunch and dinner and if you need small healthy snack in between, but eat at regular time.

*It is important to have protein and good quality fat at every meal. Seeds, avocado, olive oil, walnuts, are good sources of fat. Quality protein like free range chicken, wild fish, grass fed meat, plus lots of multicolor organic vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans.

*It is important to pause during the daytime, to reduce stress. Choose a method like yoga, abdominal breathing, meditation, or gentle exercise or a book you like to read, or listen to soothing music. Any of these methods that bring you back to Center, reduce stress, balance brain chemistry, and brings hormone in balance.

*It is important to have good sleep habit and have a good night’s sleep. When we deprive ourselves of sleep, Ghrelin goes up making us feel hungry and, Peptide YY, the hormones which make us feel full, goes down.

*It is very important to find food sensitivities, people do not realize this, but we often crave the things we are allergic to or sensitive to. Gluten and dairy are the biggest triggers for food sensitivity and leaky gut.

*If you are deficient in vitamin D, it needs to be checked as vitamin D helps regulate hormones.

*While following these suggestions, do not forget the Center of your being is your mental, emotional, and spiritual make up. Do not forget to nurture your own self.
Bringing hormones in balance, by attention to our life style choices, we can curb our cravings. We can bring improvement in chronic conditions like depression, diabetes, obesity, fatigue, high cholesterol, muscle aches and pains and much more.

Let us all be well.