Hell, why aren’t you a son? I thought as I stared at the bathroom, desperately trying to figure out why color number two hadn’t deviated from the standard. I did a lot of weird things for the sake of gut health, but deliberately trying to turn my poop into blue had to be there the most. (Even more than the next coolest thing I tried in the name of digestive health, testing a homemade microbiome test kit called Viome, $ 150. What I learned about my overall health from that experience was fascinating.)
Maybe I should make a backup and explain why the hell I was trying to make my poop in the first place. As you may or may not know – depending on how much you are concerned about the health of the digestive system ̵
In the study, researchers tracked the passage time of participants’ intestines by eating muffins painted in a vivid blue hue of Cookie Monster. In this way it will turn their poop into blue and the participants will know that their excrement is specially from the muffins and not something else they have eaten. “We’ve found that by eating a bright blue muffin developed by our scientists and seeing when your poop turns blue, we can generate a basic picture of your gut health based on your gut passage time,” a company publicist sent me a letter. . In fact, Zoe was ready to send me blue muffins to see when my gut passed. Would I like to try?
Cut me as I look at the toilet bowl and stare at my poop. But in addition to doing the experiment, I talked to Zoe’s gut experts and a non-company GI doctor to learn more about what bowel transit time can tell someone about their health – and what the perfect transit time looks like. in the intestine.
Why bowel transit time matters
The blue muffins were mailed to me, ready to eat; no baking required. I usually have oatmeal or a protein bar in the morning, so the opportunity to eat muffins for work was welcome. I cut my muffins, filled each side with butter and put them in the microwave – because blue or not, muffins are meant to be enjoyed.
At 9:15 a.m., I ate my blue oatmeal muffins and set to work. See you on the other side. I forgot about them until 11:45 in the morning when I got a wish, well, you know. I was disappointed to see that my business was not a son. Around 1:30 p.m., I chose a salad for lunch, thinking that fiber could help move things around. At 18:30, alas, a repeat of my performance from 11:45 – no blue. It wasn’t until 8:45 the next morning that I finally saw what I was expecting: poop that seemed to be coming from a smurf. Well cool, mission accomplished. Now I wanted to know: was I normal? How long should the poop take?
“The passage time of the gut is very important because not only the microbes themselves are important, but also the ability of the microbes to move. If the colon is stagnant, [bad] bacteria will accumulate, ”says Dr. Sabin Hazan, author of Lets talk! ($ 15) and an intestinal health expert unrelated to Zoe.
When I spoke with Professor of Food Sciences, Dr. Sarah Berry and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Dr. Tim Spector – they were both working on The intestines I study and work with Zoe – they also explained to me exactly why the time for bowel transit matters and how long it should take. Dr. Spector explained that the importance of bowel transit time had not been recognized until recently; The Bristol stool chart – a poster with different types of poop – has long been used to gather information about what poop can tell someone about the health of their digestion. “We wanted to see if we could take a measure that would give people better information about microbes and their overall health,” says Dr. Spector. And through research, he says, they’ve actually found that transit time is a more informative measurement.
So, what is the ideal time for intestinal transit?
Of the 863 people in the study, bowel transit time ranged from four hours to several days. “What we saw on average was a correlation between faster transit time and a healthier gut microbiome,” says Dr. Spector. “The diversity of [good gut bacteria] was higher in people who had a short transit time and diversity was lower in people who had a long transit time. The correlations, he says, were more accurate than using the Bristol stool chart to determine how diverse the good bacteria in the gut are. This is exactly, they say, why knowing the passage time of the gut is so useful. A microbiome floating with a variety of good intestinal bacteria is not just an indicator of digestive health; this is associated with better overall health, including brain health and lower levels of depression.
Dr Berry says previous bowel transit studies have shown that the healthiest time has dropped between 14 and 50 hours and has found that most people do fall into this range. But Dr. Spector says that based on what they’ve found, a bowel movement time of less than 24 hours should be ideal. Dr. Hazan is a little more liberal with what she thinks is optimal. “Just because you don’t defecate every day doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you,” she said. If you only go up every two days, but you feel good overall, without swelling or discomfort, she says it’s not worth worrying about. “I think consistency is more important,” she said. “If you’re used to pooping once a day, but then you start experiencing diarrhea a few times a day, or you just start walking every few days, that’s something you need to pay attention to.”
Dr. Spector points out that the use of a dye to track bowel transit time is not new; this is done in hospital and clinical settings by gastroenterologists. “Another way doctors track tracking time is with ‘smart pills,’ which you can actually track on your phone or monitor, but they’re very expensive,” adds Dr. Berry. They both agree that eating blue muffins is a more affordable way for people to learn about gut health.
How to improve the passage time of the intestine
But it must certainly be more complicated, I asked, examining the experts. For example, what if, in addition to eating blue muffins, one person eats fiber-rich foods during the day, while someone else eats foods full of carbohydrates and fats. Wouldn’t that affect how quickly the muffins are digested?
That is the question, I was told. “As long as you eat muffins on the day you eat what you normally would, it will give you an accurate picture of bowel health,” said Dr. Berry. “If you eat another blue muffin the next day, the transit time will be the same.”
I decided to eat more blue muffins to see if she was right. (Great, I also wanted muffins for breakfast again.) She was. The time for my bowel to pass was about the same. Since my bowel movement time was also just under 24 hours, this also meant that I could work to improve it. Both Dr. Spector and Dr. Berry emphasize that anyone who spends a few days without bowel movements or, on the other side of the spectrum, experiences diarrhea several times a day should definitely book some time with a GI doctor. But they also hope that even people in the “normal” range of 14 to 50 hours will consider how they can improve their bowel movement through diet. For example, could you eat a wider range of nutrient-rich foods?
Zoe has a tool to help someone improve on this front, which I tried to see what I could put into practice for myself. Anyone who makes blue muffins can take a test where he introduces brief statistics about himself and the passage time of the intestines. They are “combined” with a participant in a clinical trial who has obtained similar results. (The participant’s name changes by coincidence to protect his identity.) Then you can see how many different types of good intestinal bacteria they have. My match had nine of the 15 types of strains of good gut bacteria that study participants were looking for; the logic is that I probably have about nine. Along with the results, I was told to try to eat five new species of plants a week to improve the diversity of intestinal bacteria. It seems reasonableI have been used.
Watch the video below to learn more about the best foods for gut health:
Stress was something else I asked Dr. Berry and Dr. Specter about. Anyone who has ever had a nervous breakdown before a major event can tell you that stress can have a direct effect on bowel movement time. The experts agreed that this was true and that it was a factor in bowel transit time that they hoped to include in their latest research. “The way stress affects transit time is so individual; “There is no simple formula to say that stress doubles or halves transit time, it’s not that easy to understand,” says Dr. Specter.
But knowing the passage time of the gut in general is a useful start. Blue muffins can help you identify it, but Dr. Spector also says there is another food you can eat and easily see on the other side: corn. Either way, you’re done, uh, reddened with knowledge.
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