A study looking at whether eating healthy people's poo could make you lose weight has had some remarkable, though unexpected results.
While it didn't make participants lose weight, it did reduce a condition that can lead to heart attacks and type-2 diabetes
It was a radical experiment that became the subject of a TV documentary, The Good Sh*t.
Professors Wayne Cutfield and Justin O'Sullivan from the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland set out to discover whether they could find a solution to the world's obesity epidemic in our faeces.
"We want a diverse community, like a little city of bacteria all working together, all helping us, because they basically are the interface between you and your environment," O'Sullivan said.
Participants took 28 capsules containing the gut bacteria of four healthy donors over two days.
Much to the delight of the scientists, the bacteria survived in the gut. But while the bacteria stayed, so did the fat.
"We thought that they would get dramatic weight loss, it didn't happen," Cutfield said.
But what they did find was really quite exciting.
"What we did see was that metabolic syndrome almost disappeared in those treated. Metabolic syndrome is a condition with higher blood pressure, higher blood sugars, higher lipids, too much tummy fat. Major risk for diabetes, major risk for heart disease," he said.
Cassandra Lindsay was borderline pre-diabetic, but after taking the gut bug pills the condition was gone.
"My body was reacting completely normally, like, my blood sugar wasn't spiking as it was at the beginning which is very positive," she said.
Three years later her health risks are still reduced.
There's a lot more research to do before there's a treatment. In the interim, just eating well can support good gut bacteria.
"If you do take care of them, if you start taking care of them, then they will change and that impacts on you, your health and your wellbeing," O'Sullivan said.
The Good Shit, a documentary series exploring cutting-edge Kiwi research that's using faecal transplants to retrain gut microbes, is streaming on Three Now.