Poop is a taboo subject although it provides "a lot of information" about our state of health. Its color, consistency or smell gives clues that something may not be working well, which is why nutritionist Angela Quintas emphasizes the importance of observing stool and talking about it.
This was stated in an interview with Efe on the occasion of the publication of his book "The secret of good digestion", in which he dedicates a chapter to poop, from its "ingredients" to what is the best posture to go to bathroom with ease.
"It gives us a lot of information" and, although it is difficult to appreciate it in the toilet, "we should do it to see how our state of health is, depending on the color, shape or consistency," says this expert in nutrition and a graduate in Chemical Sciences.
Poop has not always been such a private matter as now. Thus, Quintas recalls that between the 16th and 18th centuries the kings of the British Crown had a person "very close" to them, who was in charge of looking at the bowel movements to, if he considered it necessary, deliver them to the doctors for analysis.
The so-called Bristol Scale classifies since 1997 the poop into seven types according to its consistency and the best is the one that has the shape of a perfect banana, which is easily ejected and almost without a trace on the paper.
How many times do you have to go to the bathroom to have a healthy organism? It depends on the person, says Quintas, although "from twice a day to three times a week it is normal."
To defecate is the last step of the digestion, a process, sometimes, very unknown that affects organs like the skin, the brain or the nervous system.
"It is true that we relate to a digestive malfunction a flatulence, a swelling after eating or a reflux", but not other pathologies that are also linked to a failure of our digestive system such as, for example, mucus, eczema or pain in the joints
Within the digestive system the intestine plays a fundamental role, hence the importance that, according to Quintas, has a "happy intestine", that is, the one in the "you eat the food, you nourish yourself, your analytics are perfect, because you don't have deficit of no vitamin, of any mineral and you feel good, you don't have any pain, inflammation, gas, diarrhea or flatulence. "
This nutritionist points out that the intestine is "the second brain." In fact, we have as many neurons as a dog's brain (about 200 million) and in addition, 90% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter of happiness, is produced in it.
Quintas points out that "there are many studies that are beginning to show that by having neurons in the intestine, suffering pathologies such as anxiety and depression are closely related" with alterations of the microbiota (the set of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit our body).
As Quintas explains, the microbiota "is like our barcode" and is unique and individual for each person.
"It is found throughout our digestive system and has many functions, such as a barrier so that they do not cross pathogens through our intestines," he says.
Babies "begin to colonize" of the mother's microbiota at the time of delivery, vaginally. Quintas aims to increase the number of caesarean sections in our country as one of the reasons why food intolerances in children are increasing.
Also the fact that breastfeeding has decreased, through which the mother's microbiota is transmitted to the baby, is another factor that influences the increase in these intolerances, he says.
Modifying an altered microbiota, "today" can only be done through probiotics, which are live strains of human origin that can be introduced into the body, although "there are still no clear studies on what type of strains we have to use ".
A step further are fecal transplants, which have been performed for years in countries like China. "What is done is to remove healthy microbiota from the stool and is introduced into the body through a probe or through capsules to restore an altered microbiota."
"There is a bit the future, stool banks are already appearing in which you will be able to store your microbiota when you are young to be able to use it when you are older and it is altered.
In Spain, fecal transplants are only authorized in one type of colitis, but there are studies in mice to see how it can influence obesity.
"Who knows if in the future, thanks to these microbiota changes, we can all be thinner. A world opens up ahead of us," says this expert.
Teresa Díaz and Celia Martínez