Welcome to the Weekly Find, fellow nerds — and oh boy, is it super nerdy this week! Gut health is a subject that’s fascinated me for a long time. 🦠 Despite all the research and interest in this area, there’s still a ton we don’t know about what goes on in our guts and how it affects our overall health.
One thing we do know? The gasses our gut microbes produce change depending on what we eat and can reveal what, if any, GI disorders could be causing us grief. And that’s what Atmo Biosciences aims to leverage with their capsule technology.
Yes, seriously. Although society tends to view gas as a taboo subject, it’s a pretty big deal when it comes to gut health. Every day, our gut microbes break down the parts of food that would otherwise be indigestible — namely, fiber 🥗 — and create a huge number of byproducts, including vitamins, short-chain fatty acids and, yes, gasses.
Gas may give beans a funny reputation, 😅 but in reality, it’s a serious matter. Especially for the millions of people who suffer from digestive disorders like IBS, IBD and SIBO. Assessing the composition of intestinal gas can help doctors identify and properly diagnose these disorders to develop better, more targeted treatments.
Tiny Capsule, Big Potential for Benefits
In healthy people, the carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, methane and other gasses gut microbes produce doesn’t normally cause problems. It’s a different story if there’s anything wrong in your gut. Imbalances (known as dysbiosis), bacterial overgrowth, inflammation and even autoimmunity can result in painful symptoms that make life unpleasant at best. 😞 Some GI disorders are serious enough to leave sufferers incapacitated or warrant a trip to the hospital.
And that’s what Atmo Biosciences aims to fix with their pilot product. It’s a small capsule, about the size of a regular vitamin, that measures and identifies gasses from the inside. 💊 As it travels through the digestive system, it sends data to a receiver about once every six minutes, which then relays the info to your smartphone using Bluetooth.
You read that right. Sensors inside a capsule inside your body can tell what gasses your gut microbes release and record the data for your doctor. 📱 (Oh, and there’s no awkward retrieval process. The capsule simply goes in, does its thing and goes out. A membrane keeps the gas and temperature sensors inside the device safe from your digestive juices.)
Promising Trials for Better Results
A small clinical trial has already been conducted on the Atmo capsule, showing its ability to detect and profile intestinal gasses. Measuring gas at the source instead of relying on breath tests could offer up to 10,000 times the sensitivity and 3,000 times the accuracy in gas detection and profiling. 👍🏻
Which could, in the words of CEO Mal Hebblewhite, “…provide relief to the millions of patients who suffer daily without targeted therapy to relieve their symptoms.”
As someone who’s struggled with gut health issues — and who knows several people facing significant challenges in this area — Atmo’s work excites me. 😀 I can’t wait to see the capsule hit the market and expand into other areas of application.
Know a gut health guru who needs to hear about this? Share the info! 👇🏻👇🏻