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Need a wearable tracker for your gut health? There’s a *pill* for that


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Photo: Well+Good Creative

By now, you’re probably aware that your gut health affects your overall well-being—but figuring out exactly what your body needs in order to keep your microbes happy can be tricky. Thankfully, a new tracker may be able to help.

Unlike the fitness tracker your wear on your wrist to get stats about everything from your heart rate and the number of steps you’ve taken on a given day to how well you slept last night, this revolutionary new gas-sensing device that’s about the size of a vitamin is swallowed; think of it as wearable tech for your digestive tract. Once ingested, the capsule’s sensors detect and measure your gut gases—hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Yeah, things could get a little messy as the device passes through you, but a small trial study found that swallowable sensors have the potential to tell you a lot about your gut health.

“We found that the stomach releases oxidizing chemicals to break down and beat foreign compounds that are staying in the stomach for longer than usual. This could represent a gastric protection system against foreign bodies. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before.” —Dr. Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, capsule co-inventor

“We found that the stomach releases oxidizing chemicals to break down and beat foreign compounds that are staying in the stomach for longer than usual,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, PhD, study lead and capsule co-inventor, in a press release. “This could represent a gastric protection system against foreign bodies. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before.”

Dr. Kalantar-zadeh added that in addition to measuring microbiome activity in the stomach, the tracker could also provide researchers a better understanding of how different “disorders of the gut, from food nutrient malabsorption to colon cancer,” manifest themselves, he said.

“It’s good news that a less invasive procedure will now be an option for so many people in the future,” Dr. Kalantar-zadeh added.

The device has officially passed human trials, according to the press release, and the research team is now working on trials for patients and medical professionals. So, who knows? Your doc might prescribe a tech-y pill for you to swallow instead of opting for a more invasive procedure sooner than you think.

This fitness–gut-health connection could take your workout to the next level. But first, take a deeper look into how working out could be sabotaging your gut health.