Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat stores than the mouse on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From September 4th an interesting research study but transferring the results from mice to humans might prove a conceptual challenge.  You are what you eat, they say!



You think it’s never too late.
You want to lose weight
and you’ve tried all the diets around.
But you’ve simply found
that they just don’t work.
You persist, you don’t shirk;
there’s short-term success
and you start to weigh less
but it’s long-term commitment you lack;
and the weight then starts to creep back.

You’ve done all that you can –
Slimmers’ World, the Dukan;
to Weightwatchers you go,
or you go with the flow –
the Atkins, the Mayo,
Lighterlife, GI, the ‘five-two’.
But it’s all a big game,
the results are the same;
is there anything else you can do?

More or less.

I know this sounds crazier,
but the theory’s no hazier,
you could try coprophagia
but not any old faeces will do.
My mind is quite blown
by a study that’s shown
by consuming a thin person’s poo
their Bacterioides
hold the key to avoid
putting on weight and making you slimmer too!


I am daily so scorning
of H&S warnings
(Health and Safety for those who don’t know).
But please don’t suppose
in this verse I propose
you go off and start to eat shit.
Not a bit of it. NO!
It’s just that one day you’ll go
to a vending machine
and there will be seen
a carton, eco-green
of strange-looking ‘colloids’
(or Bacterioides)
packed through and through
with extract of thin people’s poo.

4th September 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity, study finds.”  The claim follows a series of experiments which found that the different populations of bacteria that live in lean and overweight people caused mice to lose or gain weight.  The findings build on a growing body of work that gives the millions of microbes that live in the gut a major role in weight control.  The scientists found that mice stayed slim when they received faecal transplants from slim women, but put on much more fat when the samples came from an obese twin. Tests revealed that one type of bug, called Bacteroides, was more plentiful in slim women and protected the animals from putting on too much fat.  In a follow-up experiment, mice with microbes from the slim women shared a cage with mice that had microbes from obese women. Because of the animals’ proclivity for coprophagia – that is their habit for eating each others’ poo – this caused a mixing of the animals’ gut microbes.  After the mice had spent 10 days as cage mates, the obese ones had become more lean.

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