October 24, 2021

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Fit And Go Forward

Paying for poop, UC Davis study gets smelly for science

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    DAVIS, California (KOVR) — Donating your stool could get you a shopping spree. UC Davis is paying for poop for its latest study.

The smelly study is giving 20 volunteers a $75 Target gift card for their trip to the golden throne.

“I think ew, like that kind of stool? They are going to give me $75, naw, I’m good,” said Target shopper, Malik Bynum.

The study by UC Davis Foods for Health Institute will test how different types of fiber found in food influence the growth of healthy gut microbes found in stool samples from adults.

“We feel like poop is invaluable and if people don’t want it, we will take it,” said Dr. Jennifer Smilowitz, who is leading the study.

Smilowitz and her team are launching a five-year program where their number one priority is number two.

“We are seeing a rise in all these diseases, so it is really important that we understand how to eat to support not only a healthy body but a healthy gut microbiome,” said Smilowitz. “Eventually we want to know what foods everyone should eat to guide their gut microbiome.”

The research is looking for ways adults can receive similar benefits to those that babies get from unique carbohydrates in their mother’s milk.

“There is this idea of matching food, with the microorganism that you want to grow and take care of things in your gut. Now we are extending that into adults. Because adults don’t consume breast milk, they consume plant foods. Now, we are trying to identify which plant foods do we match with the right microorganism to make our gut healthy,” said Smilowitz.

The university put out a request for volunteers on social media and already have received 50 people willing to participate. Shoppers at Target say they will gladly cash in for the study of stool.

“I love Target, so yeah. If it was Walmart, probably not, sorry Walmart,” said shopper Savannah Thomas. “If it helps somebody with their health, then sure why not?”

To qualify, you have to be 18 to 65, in good health and eat fruits and vegetables at least 5 days out of the week. Participants cannot qualify if they have used antibiotics within the last six months.

During the up to four-week study, participants are required to collect samples that total 300 grams or the size of a large banana. They will be asked to fill out daily logs regarding gut health and diet along with the collections.

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