The Healing Power Of Poop May Surprise You

SAN DIEGO — Last week at the inaugural Near Future Summit, a leadership conference of forward-thinking professionals, tech entrepreneur Peter Diamandis asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they’d been born vaginally.

He then asked them to keep their hands raised if they had also been breastfed and if, in more recent years, they’d avoided antibiotics, Z-Paks and major surgery. In the end, just a few dozen people in the audience of 250 or so still had their hands up.

This wasn’t just an exercise in TMI: Diamandis was hoping to assess the microbiome status of his listeners. All of the aforementioned qualities suggest that a person’s gut bacteria are healthy and undisturbed. Soon after Diamandis’ straw poll, the medical philanthropist Lee Stein walked around handing out feces collection kits to the people who might be in possession of the perfect poop.

It’s unknown how many people at the summit chose to contribute data, so to speak. But any feces that were collected will become part of an in-depth analysis of how gut bacteria can have an effect on the entire body.

The person leading this project is Rob Knight, a lanky New Zealander. At 6’3 and about 200 pounds, he looks like a man who’s never had a problem with his weight. But in fact, Knight was obese for most of his life. Until 2008, he weighed about 60 pounds more than he does now.

If you think Knight lost the weight through hard work, diet and exercise, you’d be wrong. All he had to do was get sick. Knight got severely ill while hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, and after taking antibiotics, he noticed his weight melting away. Knight hadn’t changed his diet and exercise routine, and this wasn’t a case of temporary weight loss due —> Read More