A 'Grueling and Grotesque' Biohacking Experiment; Would you eat your friend's poop to get better?
I came across this article/video and thought I would share it with you for so many reasons. Whatever you do, if you do watch this short 12-minute documentary I would not be eating any food, especially if you are squeamish.
The video and story are about former NASA scientist Josiah Zayner who checks himself into a hotel, sterilizes his body, and embarks on a 4 days journey to completely replace all of the bacteria contained in his body. This doesn’t sound too bad right?
Ugh! I had a hard time watching Josiah Zayner swallow another man’s poop (friend or not). I actually paused the video to collect my wits.
Zayner has made headlines for pushing the boundaries of do-it-yourself genetic experimentation from this documentary on changing his microbiome, to injecting himself with CRSPR gene-editing technology to modify his muscle genes to give him bigger muscles. Worse, he is selling his “DIY Human CRISPR Guide” online and selling $20 DNA that promotes muscle growth. Is he ethical and of sound mind?
The activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards, or for criminal purposes
Biohacking body modification
Why does he do these so-called biohacks? In his opinion, cutting-edge biology tools like CRISPR should be available for people to do as they wish, and not be controlled by academics and pharmaceutical companies.
Back to the video; Why did Josiah Zayner decide to embark on this experiment?
It was because he had suffered a lifetime of intestinal problems (AHA! ) including ulcers—another big AHA! We know that ulcers usually indicate an overgrowth of H Pylori and possibly their virulence factors. I wonder if he knew this?
Unfortunately, like many institutions in our understanding of health care only look at one aspect of health. They do not look at the entire picture;
• how a child is born and fed during its first year of life
• antibiotic use
• outlook on life
• and others
There were some clues in the video. Zayner grew up on a farm; could there have been viruses, pathogen bacteria and parasites at play that are not easily detectable? What if he had worked with someone who understood the environmental connection to the microbiome. Perhaps this video of extreme recklessness would not have been made.
For the experiment
Zayner checks himself into a hotel, scrubs himself clean and the hotel room and takes antibiotics to eliminate his gut bacteria. He then swallows poop and injects bacteria into his skin from his friend over a 72 hour period and waits 8 weeks.
After 8 weeks, through bacterial sequencing, Zayner’s gut bacteria changed to that of his friends. His digestive problems diminished and according to Zayner he developed a sweet tooth. His skin microbiome did not change.
Do not attempt this on your own
Although Josiah Zayner did receive positive results I cannot stress enough that this experiment did not have enough controls. And, I would not recommend doing this yourself (even if you can get past the ick-factor of eating your friend’s poop).
Doctors now have access to faecal transplants and are often used in the case of trying to control Clostridium difficile when antibiotics fail or with severe Crohn’s disease. However, faeces used for faecal transplants have been thoroughly cleaned and monitored for parasites and viruses. In this experiment Josiah Zayner did not do this, it was unfiltered friend’s poop.
What it did show is that we can change our microbiome. There have been studies taking a sterile skinny mouse and transplanting the bacteria from a fat mouse and the skinny mouse got fat. The same thing happened with a fat mouse injected with a skinny mouse bacteria; it got skinny. Zayner’s experiment helped showed this is possible; that we can transplant another’s bacteria and take on the characteristics of the donor’s symptoms (the sweet tooth he developed).
We do not have to go to these extremes, we can alter our gut bacteria by eating the right foods and this has been documented in numerous studies.
Prebiotic foods; vegetables and low glycemic fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and some starches. We can also eat fermented foods and some fermented drinks like kefir and komchuca. We can also take multi-strain probiotic supplements and prebiotic fibre to help boost our intestinal flora.
I know I keep saying this, and I will say it again; we can get a DNA picture of our colon with the GI MAP stool test. A great tool to let us know what is going on, what is overgrown or present that should not be such as
• Pathogenic bacteria overgrowth
And then we have a baseline to work with to help rebalance our intestinal microbiome without having to eat a friend’s poop.
Why did Josiah Zayner develop a sweet tooth?
Oh, and one more observation, I think I know why Zayner developed a sweet tooth; his friend's poop was more on the yellowish side instead of a nice brown chestnut colour. Brown or chestnut brown coloured poop (think milk chocolate) usually indicates the person is eating good protein sources and there is a rich mixture of bile, iron and protein.
A caramel colour or very light brown (kind of brown-yellowish) indicates more grains and dairy were eaten (which is going to feed the bacteria that ferments sugars) And, this may be why Zayner developed the sweet tooth. In a study done with fruit flies, researchers found that Acetobacter and Lactobacillus could suppress the flies’ protein cravings and increase their appetite for sugar.
Just a little more food for thought
we seriously are what we eat
Would you eat your friend’s poop for better health?
Constipation Relief Is Not Rocket Science
You colon works optimal when it is full of water and indigestible plant fiber. This means lots of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds that create bulk and decrease the chances of constipation. In fact, the best remedy for constipation are high fiber foods, water and probiotics.
Did you know that the average North American transit time (having a poop) is 72 hours to 1 week when it should be 12 – 24 hours? What this means is the average North American is suffering with chronic constipation!
You should be having 2-3 easy and formed bowel movements per day that does not require any straining or a ton of toilet paper. Essentially the meal you put in your mouth today once it has gone through the digestive process should be plopping into the toilet bowl about 12 -24 hours later!
Are you pooping more than once a day? If not you too could be constipated!
Best Remedy For Constipation Includes Fiber
What is Fiber?
Fiber is considered a complex carbohydrate. It is the part of the plant material that cannot be digested, instead it is broken down into nutrients. There are two types of fiber; insoluble and soluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber retains water and turns into a gel in the digestive tract which, slows digestion aiding in nutrient absorption in the small intestines. Insoluble fiber speeds the passage of foods and adds bulk to the stool. Where does the fiber come from? Vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit.
Fiber for Health
What is really interesting is the fact that we humans lack intestinal enzymes to break down the fibrous parts of vegetables on purpose. These undigested fibers make their way down to the colon where the commensal bacteria squirted out by the appendix breaks it down and creates nutrients, lactic acids to keep the environment happy for good bacteria and creates positive colon-immune system communication.
Fiber is important because it will clean mucus along the colon, pull and bind toxins, and aids in balancing hormones by binding to and removing excess estrogens in your body.
Research has shown that inulin and oligofructose creates a bifidogenic shift in the composition of the colonic microbiota and its function. Inulin-type fructans may reduce the production of potentially toxic metabolites while inducing important immune-mediated effects. In other words prebiotic fiber has the ability to increase gut microbiota thus boosting your immune system.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are non-digestive fiber found naturally occurring in carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. When fibrous material are digested by microorganisms in your gut it promotes an environment that will allow for the colonization of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus to flourish while strengthening colon cells. If you are getting your daily recommended amount of fiber you are going to feel renewed less bloated, less irritable, fuller longer (which may help you to lose weight), full of energy and want to make it a part of your healthy lifestyle.
You need to replenish and build up with the right bacteria that are going to keep you healthy. A healthy intestinal microbiome provides a barrier from opportunist bacteria and fungi like Candida setting up shop and making you ill. Strong diverse numbers mean your good bacteria can fight off invading bacteria so that you do not get sick. You need good bacterial diversity for the synthesis of some vitamins such as B12 and produce enzymes that aid in helping your liver to work better. Let’s face it, without a good strong healthy microbiome you are setting yourself up for symptoms that may lead to other problems down the road. Your microbiome when in a healthy state keeps your immune system healthy and protects you from illness.
What Are The Best Probiotics?
Along with foods to eat to avoid constipation you need to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle probiotic supplements that are cultured from human strains, resist stomach acid and bile salts and are capable of colonizing the digestive tract. You want to make sure you are taking top rated probiotics from companies that have a quality assurance management system. Quality assurance guarantees that quality, type and numbers of microorganisms stated on the label exist when you get the product.
You also want to make sure you are taking a multi-strain probiotic supplement so that you get a variety of good bacteria. If you take the same probiotic supplement with just one strain you are not going to help keep a healthy intestinal diversity. Remember we are made up numerous types of bacteria fungi and other microbes. In fact bacteria out number human cells by a ratio of at least 10:1 in the human body.
You can also incorporate probiotic strains from fermented foods. Fermented vegetables such as cabbage and kimchi have multiple beneficial probiotic strains. You can also incorporate kombucha and Jun; a type of fermented tea. There are also fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir and other fermented foods such as Poi and Umeboshi plums that can all help with digestive symptoms like gas, bloating and constipation.
What Happens When Probiotics and Fiber Make you Feel Worse Instead of Better?
A word of caution when it comes to fiber; please consult with your healthcare practitioner before implementing fiber. Do not take medication or supplements within 1 hour before or after taking fiber. Sometimes the medication will not be absorbed because it gets bound to the fiber.
If you decide to take a fiber supplement, start slow, especially if you have never taken fiber before. For now, do not follow what it says on the label, which is the full dosage. Instead start with a ¼ teaspoon in an 8 oz glass of water and increase every 3-5 days until you have reached the recommended dosage on the label. Be sure to drink at least 8-10 8 oz glasses of water throughout your day to allow the fiber to work properly.
The same goes for incorporating fruits, vegetables and other high fiber foods. Start slow. Your bowels are not used to having to work for a living. In the beginning they will protest with gas and bloating and should subside in a couple of days.
If you find that after incorporating probiotics, fiber, fruits and vegetables and you are still gassy, bloated and are having a hard time pooping you may want to investigate your symptoms with me. Sometimes there can be bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines that can lead to a host of miserable symptoms.
When your friendly bacteria migrates into the small intestine it can cause a host of tummy troubles including acid reflux, fatigue, skin issues, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation or a combination of constipation and diarrhea and generally feeling awful. This is where a stool test can come in real handy. It is a matter of ordering the stool test, scooping a little poop into the specimen jar and mailing it back to the lab.
I have included a snapshot of the GI MAP that my clients get done. Notice how many different microbes are being tested for? When these are not in the right numbers they may be part of the culprits causing your constipation symptoms. When you get your stool test report back it can tell you what bacteria is overgrown, the levels of your good bacteria, inflammation and much more. When you are working with me I can then put the right foods and supplements in place (right down to the perfect probiotic supplement) so that you can poop with ease!
If you try these tips and you still can not get constipation relief it may be time time to explore your symptoms a little bit more in depth. I have suffered both ends of the scale; major diarrhea and constipation so bad that you are praying through tears to end the suffering!
It could be time for you to invest in what is really going on with your never ending symptoms. Order your stool test, get in touch with me and I can help you interpret your results and get you on the right plan of action so that you can eat healthy and feel healthy and get back to enjoying your life! Are ready to end the constipation madness? Click here and let’s get started.