Gutsy New Ways To Become Healthy?

      130 Comments on Gutsy New Ways To Become Healthy?

Two articles about inserting foreign substances into our intestines to achieve better health both happened to arrive in my email inbox today.  We’ll start with the one that won’t make you lose your appetite.

Intestinal Device Mimics Bariatric Surgery’s Antidiabetic Effects

Improved glucose parameters, substantial weight loss, and increased incretin hormone levels can be achieved by the insertion of a novel, minimally invasive, intestinal device in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Hmmm … must be something that vaporizes refined carbohydrates as they come down the tube.

The use of a duodenal-jejunal bypass liner (DJBL) not only improves hemoglobin A1c and aids weight loss, but also appears to increase levels of glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and peptide YY while in place, according to the findings of a small study presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes.

Although the effects may be temporary, they could offer patients a reversible alternative to bariatric surgery that helps to kick-start weight loss and self-management of diabetes, said study author Dr. Charlotte de Jonge of Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. “Not all patients want [bariatric] surgery, as it is permanent.”

I’d rather see someone with diabetes choose a reversible alternative over gastric bypass any ol’ day.  But if the goal is weight loss and management of diabetes, why not try a reversible low-carbohydrate diet first?

The DJBL (EndoBarrier) is a 60-cm impermeable sleeve that is inserted and removed endoscopically, and which effectively blocks the duodenum and proximal jejunum in a manner similar to the Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass procedure. It is thought to work by creating a physical barrier between ingested food and the intestinal wall, and perhaps alters the activation of incretin hormones in the gut.

Good lord … so the key to treating diabetes is apparently to eat what you’ve been eating, but prevent your body from absorbing it.  Right.  And the key to avoiding headaches is to keep pounding your head on your desk, but put a pillow on the desk first.

Within 1 week after implantation, fasting and area under the curve (AUC) glucose concentrations were improved (11.4±0.5 mmol/L vs. 8.9±0.4 mmol/L and 1,999±88 vs. 1,535±53), respectively. In addition, AUC concentrations of GLP-1 increased from 2,584 at baseline to 4,112 at removal and PYY from 4,440 to 6,448 (P less than .01 for all comparisons with baseline).

When the device was removed at 6 months, a significant mean weight loss of 13 kg (P less than .001) had been recorded, with a mean loss of excess weight of 30% (P less than .001), said Dr. de Jonge. Importantly, mean HbA1c decreased from 8.4% at baseline to 7.0% at removal (P less than .001) and there was a reduction in the use of antidiabetic medication in all but one of the study participants.

Well, when you prevent much of what people eat from being absorbed, I’d expect their glucose levels to drop and their need for medication to drop with it.  But Dr. Eric Westman and others have achieved the same result with diet.  In one of his studies, 95% percent of the subjects who adopted a low-carb diet reduced or eliminated their need for diabetes medications.

If this procedure mimics the effects of gastric bypass, then I’d be worried that the people who have it done will become vitamin deficient and end up with brittle bones and other negative health effects.  That’s what often happens with gastric bypass, as I wrote about in a previous post.

And now for the second article about intestinal invasion – if you haven’t eaten dinner yet, you may want to read this later. (To read the full article online, you need to register with MedPage Today.)

Fecal Transplant Flushes Insulin Resistance

Obese patients with a constellation of symptoms known as the metabolic syndrome improved insulin sensitivity with a fecal transplant from healthy thin donors, researchers here reported.

Recruiting those healthy thin donors must’ve required a clever sales pitch.  I don’t even like to pee in a cup.

After six weeks, peripheral insulin sensitivity significantly improved in 18 patients who received feces from lean donors compared with those who received an autologous transplant (P<0.05), said Anne Vrieze, MD, of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues. There was also a trend toward improvement in hepatic insulin sensitivity but it wasn’t significant, they reported at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Meeting.

“This confirms the potential role of gut microbiota in the disturbance of glucose and lipid metabolism in obesity,” Vrieze said during the presentation. “The challenge is to use this knowledge to develop therapies.”

Yes, it’ll be interesting to see how much Merck and Pfizer end up charging for skinny-guy poop.  On a positive note, this could provide a whole new career for naturally-thin unemployed guys.  As it is now, most of the people paid to create s@#$ are in government.

John Buse, MD, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, cautioned that the researchers didn’t yet present data on actual differences in gut bacteria after transplantation, but the idea was promising.

“It’s interesting,” he told MedPage Today. “There’s little data, so it’s hard to tell. But it’s a cool idea.”

Um … cool idea?  No, a Victoria’s Secret model using coconut oil as an all-over moisturizer is a cool idea.

Animal studies affirmed an association between obesity and gut microbiota, as animals given bacteria from the feces of obese mice had a significantly greater increase in total body fat than those colonized with a “lean” microbiota, Vrieze said. But data on a clinical roll for gut microbiota are scarce.

I’m not sure what a clinical roll means.  Perhaps they’re referring to those little round bread-like things you get in the hospital if they’ve put you on a heart-healthy low-fat diet.

Vrieze and colleagues enrolled 18 obese men ages 21 to 65 with metabolic syndrome who weren’t taking medication for their condition and who hadn’t used antibiotics in the last three months. All of them kept a food and exercise diary over the study period.

All patients had jejunum biopsies and a bowel lavage to clear their own native bacteria. They were then randomized to either allogenic transplant of feces from lean male donors or autologous transplantation.

I’m guessing the original proposal called for 500 patients, but only 18 didn’t run screaming from the room when the investigators explained, “Well, what we’re going to do is clear all the poop out of your bowels, then we’ll either insert some skinny guy’s poop in your bowels, or we’ll re-insert your own poop.  No, sorry, we can’t tell you whose poop you’ll get.  That would violate the double-blind protocol.  What?  No, you can’t ask the skinny guys to avoid spicy foods.”

Fecal transplantation programs — while far from common — actually are already in place at a few centers in the U.S. based on some evidence suggesting efficacy in tough-to-treat gastrointestinal infections with the bacteria Clostridium difficile.

Since the gut plays an active role in regulating hormones that impact both obesity and diabetes associated with obesity, the focus has expanded to bacteria in the gut.

If the procedure turns out to produce significant weight loss, I’m guessing fecal transplantation will become much more common.  I’m also guessing that pretty much everyone who loses weight that way will lie about it.

“Oh, thank you.  Yes, I’ve lost 60 pounds.  Excuse me?  Uh … well … I started doing Pilates every day.”


If you enjoy my posts, please consider a small donation to the Fat Head Kids GoFundMe campaign.
Share

130 thoughts on “Gutsy New Ways To Become Healthy?

  1. Ari

    I’ve heard of fecal transplantation used for other things other than just obesity. The Freakonomics guys had a podcast on that topic.

    Furthermore, our own low carb guru Jimmy Moore interviewed the “Cooling Inflammation” guy. He discussed the promotion of healthy intestinal flora as a way to combat disease. He believed gut flora to be VERY important. I don’t remember if he discussed fecal transplantation, but it is relevant to the topic.

    I’m not sure if fecal transplantation can be dismissed quite so quickly. But I could be wrong.

    I also believe gut flora are important. But what a way to go about it.

  2. Underground

    Wow.

    It’s like someone is paying these folks to avoid the subject of low carb and high fat.

    Oh.. wait.

  3. timmah

    Low carbohydrate diets are dangerous and unsustainable for the long term. Have someone’s poop inserted into your rectum instead.

    Well, when you put it that way ….

  4. Deborah M

    I’m pretty sure that one of my friends was on a clinical trial with the EndoBarrier. He suffered agonzing stomach pain for days if not weeks, lost a bit of weight at the beginning, then nothing else. And this is someone who has spent years low-carbing and not seeing results – he didn’t go into it lightly. But it turned out to be a waste of time for him, and worse, because he suffered a lot of pain. He had it taken out a couple days ago.

    The article on the study suggested only some mild pain and stated that none of the patients wanted the device taken out. So I’m guessing we’re seeing yet another study in which they managed to play down the side effects.

  5. Jennie (the gf-gf)

    I recently read Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig, and she said specifically that obesity is a symptom of poor nutrition. Whoever invented the “intestinal device” mustve decided that the best way to treat poor nutrition is with … no nutrition!

    As for the second … ew.

  6. Nick

    Do you think when it’s marketed you will be able to flip through a book to pick your poop donor?

    “Oooh i ike the look of Michael, he’s a rocket scientist, ran 3 marathons last year and spends his free time building hospitals for unfortunate bunnies. Nnot so keen on Sam though, he looks like a loser”

    LOL. Could happen.

  7. Ari

    I’ve heard of fecal transplantation used for other things other than just obesity. The Freakonomics guys had a podcast on that topic.

    Furthermore, our own low carb guru Jimmy Moore interviewed the “Cooling Inflammation” guy. He discussed the promotion of healthy intestinal flora as a way to combat disease. He believed gut flora to be VERY important. I don’t remember if he discussed fecal transplantation, but it is relevant to the topic.

    I’m not sure if fecal transplantation can be dismissed quite so quickly. But I could be wrong.

    I also believe gut flora are important. But what a way to go about it.

  8. anand srivastava

    I guess fecal transplant is the fastest way to fix the microbiota. Other option is to eat a lot of fermented foods which can take a very long time. Gut flora is not only for weight loss. It can work there, but possibly its not the basic reason for weight gain. I am pretty sure the weight loss will stall for these people as well. The diet improvement will be required, after the transplant otherwise the gut flora will revert back. Diet and fecal transplant together can fix some very complex problems. I guess there is still lot to be studied in this field.

    It does sound gross, but the world is made up of gross things. It depends on the each persons threshold. Many people can’t even think of eating meat, it is very gross for them. Most hunter gatherers eat stomach contents of animals. Do we find that appetizing?

    It’s gross, but actually the results of the study are interesting. At least these people recognize that hormones produced in the gut have an effect on weight gain and weight loss.

  9. Underground

    Wow.

    It’s like someone is paying these folks to avoid the subject of low carb and high fat.

    Oh.. wait.

  10. timmah

    Low carbohydrate diets are dangerous and unsustainable for the long term. Have someone’s poop inserted into your rectum instead.

    Well, when you put it that way ….

  11. js290

    You know the establishment has lost it when they’re talking about fecal transplants. You can regain your gut flora simply by eating fermented foods. Fecal transplant sounds like a mad academic scientist experiment.

  12. Jean

    It’s enough to put anyone off their dinner! Ah! That’s how they lose the weight.

  13. Ben

    You mock fecal transplants, but I think there are some very promising applications for it. I agree that using it to lose weight is a joke, but I’m thinking about people who have trouble recovering from antibiotic treatment, or someone with a clostridium difficile infection that doesn’t respond to treatment.. It’s also really cheap and rather low risk.

    The clinical applications mentioned in the article did sound legit … but what a way to get treatment.

  14. Anna @ Fair Flavors

    I wanted to say so much about these studies, but all I can do is just shake my head in disbelief. I really wonder: Who was the first person to come up with the poop transplantation idea….?

  15. Nowhereman

    See, if they go down the low-carb, no wheat route first, as true healers, like Doctors Su and Williams would do, then there’s no complicated procedures, like the ones outlined in your blog, nor dangerous drugs that require huge bucket loads of cash to perform or administer.

    These should be the methods of very last resort when all else has failed.

  16. Michael Cohen

    The older i get, the more the world around me seems like one long continuous skit from “Saturday Night Live”.

    Only funnier.

  17. Deborah M

    I’m pretty sure that one of my friends was on a clinical trial with the EndoBarrier. He suffered agonzing stomach pain for days if not weeks, lost a bit of weight at the beginning, then nothing else. And this is someone who has spent years low-carbing and not seeing results – he didn’t go into it lightly. But it turned out to be a waste of time for him, and worse, because he suffered a lot of pain. He had it taken out a couple days ago.

    The article on the study suggested only some mild pain and stated that none of the patients wanted the device taken out. So I’m guessing we’re seeing yet another study in which they managed to play down the side effects.

  18. Jennie (the gf-gf)

    I recently read Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig, and she said specifically that obesity is a symptom of poor nutrition. Whoever invented the “intestinal device” mustve decided that the best way to treat poor nutrition is with … no nutrition!

    As for the second … ew.

  19. Nick

    Do you think when it’s marketed you will be able to flip through a book to pick your poop donor?

    “Oooh i ike the look of Michael, he’s a rocket scientist, ran 3 marathons last year and spends his free time building hospitals for unfortunate bunnies. Nnot so keen on Sam though, he looks like a loser”

    LOL. Could happen.

  20. Bex

    Faecal transplant? So this is like a colonic irrigation with someone elses poo?

    Wow……

    So the government would rather sanction that than admit that eating fat is good, and grains not good? How desperate are they? (Or how desperate do they think we are?)

    It’s not April 1st, so I’m actually slightly disconcerted. Poo transplants? Seriously? ANd a bariatric essure too – excellent. Overmedicalisation and unecessary invasive treatments at their very best!

    Faecal transplant? I actually really want my dinner now. Veg soup and some beef for me…if that’s what it takes to avoid a rectum full of some elses waste products *boak*

    Yes I’m squeamish! 😀

  21. anand srivastava

    I guess fecal transplant is the fastest way to fix the microbiota. Other option is to eat a lot of fermented foods which can take a very long time. Gut flora is not only for weight loss. It can work there, but possibly its not the basic reason for weight gain. I am pretty sure the weight loss will stall for these people as well. The diet improvement will be required, after the transplant otherwise the gut flora will revert back. Diet and fecal transplant together can fix some very complex problems. I guess there is still lot to be studied in this field.

    It does sound gross, but the world is made up of gross things. It depends on the each persons threshold. Many people can’t even think of eating meat, it is very gross for them. Most hunter gatherers eat stomach contents of animals. Do we find that appetizing?

    It’s gross, but actually the results of the study are interesting. At least these people recognize that hormones produced in the gut have an effect on weight gain and weight loss.

  22. js290

    You know the establishment has lost it when they’re talking about fecal transplants. You can regain your gut flora simply by eating fermented foods. Fecal transplant sounds like a mad academic scientist experiment.

  23. Ben

    You mock fecal transplants, but I think there are some very promising applications for it. I agree that using it to lose weight is a joke, but I’m thinking about people who have trouble recovering from antibiotic treatment, or someone with a clostridium difficile infection that doesn’t respond to treatment.. It’s also really cheap and rather low risk.

    The clinical applications mentioned in the article did sound legit … but what a way to get treatment.

  24. Tammy

    Who comes up with this stuff? Who is paying for this research? Unbelievable.

    GI dynamics funded the first study. I assume they make the inplant device. No idea who would fund the poo study.

  25. Anna @ Fair Flavors

    I wanted to say so much about these studies, but all I can do is just shake my head in disbelief. I really wonder: Who was the first person to come up with the poop transplantation idea….?

  26. Lauren

    Wait, wait – you take poop from one person and inject it into another, and that’s legitimate medical science? Ew. Just ew. I thought we all figured out poop is not a viable medicine, like, 200 years ago? ~ L

    We may have to re-think our position on that one.

  27. marilynb

    I care for 22 dogs in my home and would be happy to donate some poo. Bring your own shovel.

    Are they naturally lean dogs?

  28. Nowhereman

    See, if they go down the low-carb, no wheat route first, as true healers, like Doctors Su and Williams would do, then there’s no complicated procedures, like the ones outlined in your blog, nor dangerous drugs that require huge bucket loads of cash to perform or administer.

    These should be the methods of very last resort when all else has failed.

  29. Michael Cohen

    The older i get, the more the world around me seems like one long continuous skit from “Saturday Night Live”.

    Only funnier.

  30. Denny

    My wife has MS and says she would have a “transpoosion” in a heartbeat if it would cure her.

    LOL.

  31. Beowulf

    I had to exercise self-restraint while driving yesterday. I wanted to hit my head against the steering wheel after hearing on the radio about the growing market for diabetes and cancer drugs in developing nations. Market growth here is slowing, but the more we export our lousy way of eating to the rest of the world, the more we can export our drugs too. Looks like most of these studies are about new, expensive treatments to offer when a cheap alternative (hey, try low-carb!) is available to all.

    First we send them our sodas and our wheat. Then we send them our drugs.

  32. Blanche

    They can always come up with a way that will mean more medical business.
    This means that they can have more patients using one or more money making treatments.

    The first idea of something temporary sounds like a kick start to yo-yo dieting. The fecal implant may bring with it more than weight loss. Just like transfusions have brought problems, so could this procedure.

    The simple no profit way isn’t what the powers that be see or want. Getting off junk (crap) food isn’t very popular with the medical or pharmaceutical industry. Now, they found a more expensive way to put higher quality crap in.

    I like this blog it keeps me motivated enough to want to avoid anything pharmaceutical or medical. That is done by eating well.

    Bingo. My goal is to avoid doctors as much as possible for the next 50 years.

  33. Jen

    I think you are unjustly poo-pooing (groan) a fascinating line of research that holds great promise. The results show that the gut flora exerts powerful influence over metabolism. How? What are the mechanisms? There’s much more to this than “disgusting new weight loss treatment.”

    By the way, fermented foods and probiotics contain only a few species of bacteria, none of them common among the hundreds of species to be found in a healthy adult gut.

    I don’t totally poo-poo the poo research, but I’m not signing up for a clinical trial either.

  34. Debbie

    Who ever thought of this must have fecal matter instead of gray and white matter. Oh brother, what next???

  35. Andrea Lynnette

    I have no doubt that the device worked as well as bariatric surgery. I just know that the gastric bypass doesn’t work very well. Every time you hear someone talk about the benefits of bariatric surgery, you need to remember and say aloud in response: “five years!” Because that’s how long you lose and keep off weight with a painful, dangerous, invasive surgery. After five years (roughly) you start gaining weight back and after ten, you are just like someone who went on a long-term diet and then went off it. I’ll find and link to the study if I can. I know it was in the International Journal of Obesity a few years ago.

    Also, the second part (or should I say, part #2?) is beyond disgusting. If the crap these doctors are shoving at their patients is “good” because it contains gut flora, aren’t there better, less-horrifying ways to get it? Can’t you just take some pro-biotic pills, or eat some super-yogurt? Why would anyone do that?

    I’ve hard of people regaining all the weight after gastric bypass but haven’t seen data on the percentage. If you find that article, definitely link to it.

  36. Angelyne

    Stop pooping all over the idea 🙂 It’s rather an exciting new avenue for research. Someone said, I forget who, that we are entering the age of the gut biota, which might prove to be as important as the age of the antibiotics. Think of this. A human body is about 10% human cells and 90% bacteria. Some bacteria can actually “talk” to our body, using the same chemical signals our cells uses to communicate with each other. This might be why candida can induce cravings for carbs.

    So yeah poop is yucky. But that’s just our modern sensibilities at work here. The idea of eating insects, or for some people organ meat, produces almost the same revulsion. It’s a cultural aversion, yet million of people eat this daily.

    I’ll admit, however, that I can stay objective so as long as it’s just a theory/therapy. Having to undergo that particular therapy, would be a different thing. But I guess you could say the same thing for maggot and leech therapy, which are both very valuable, if also rather icky.

    Some researchers refer to the gut as a second brain. Interesting area of research, but … YUCK!

  37. Peggy Holloway

    I needed a pillow on my desk last night during the evening news. The teaser was the discovery that a common drug used in diabetics could be the key to treating Alzheimer’s. The upshot was the growing belief that there is an association between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Since diabetics have high blood sugar levels, researchers were surmising that lowering blood sugar could help Alzheimer’s patients. The solution – inject Alzheimer’s patients with insulin.
    Bang head hard on desk. Ouch.

    Oh, lordy.

  38. Bex

    Faecal transplant? So this is like a colonic irrigation with someone elses poo?

    Wow……

    So the government would rather sanction that than admit that eating fat is good, and grains not good? How desperate are they? (Or how desperate do they think we are?)

    It’s not April 1st, so I’m actually slightly disconcerted. Poo transplants? Seriously? ANd a bariatric essure too – excellent. Overmedicalisation and unecessary invasive treatments at their very best!

    Faecal transplant? I actually really want my dinner now. Veg soup and some beef for me…if that’s what it takes to avoid a rectum full of some elses waste products *boak*

    Yes I’m squeamish! 😀

  39. Galina L.

    I remember reading about fecal transplants in the blogs”Cooling inflammation” and “Evolutionary Psychiatry” a while ago. As I understand, the potential donors suppose to be thin, allergies free, happy individuals. I remember thinking that I knew actually no one with such set of qualities. Many naturally thin people are somebody with neurotic kind of personalty and can’t eat when they are stress-out.My son is naturally thin with multiple allergies. What if such rare people indeed exist and would be in a future carry a movie-star status? Imagine a photo on a cover of some popular magazine with famous and rich fecal donor, or interview with him or her about how such perfect fecal quality was achieved. What about premium material obtained from famous Kitovans? Sounds fanny, but what do we know about the future? Better than Prozac or Lipitor, at least.

    Prozac and Lipitor are already s@#$ as far as I’m concerned.

  40. Joe Lindley

    Tom,

    Hilarious – and sad that folks are going to such extremes.
    Well, it could be worse… I used to be in the hyperthermia field (using heat to treat cancer). Using heat was experimented with back in the 20s by some researcher, who, to treat syphilis, gave his patients fecal matter (to eat) which caused infection and very high fever. For the ones who survived, it cured them of syphilis because of the high fever. Desperation leads to desperate acts.

    Yikes.

  41. Gal @ 60 in 3

    I got the local gut bacteria just fine when I drank tap water in India, no fecal transplant necessary…

    And I’ll bet you lost some weight afterward.

  42. Judy B

    So the choices are a colon condom or a poop transplant? I agree, it sounds like a SNL skit!!

Comments are closed.