basketball basketball At least one sports team thinks analyzing its players' poop might give them a leg up on the competition. (Photo: Brocreative/Shutterstock)

Could studying a basketball team's poop make them better athletes?

New research suggests that analyzing your bacterial makeup could vastly improve your health. And one team is giving it a try.

Turns out it's not so much what's in your body, but rather what comes out of it, that really matters.

That's why some doctors are now taking samples of their patients' poop and using it for a whole range of benefits, from eradicating obesity and diabetes to improving athletic performance.

(You can stop squirming now. It's OK. We were a little skeeved out, too. But give it a minute or two to, ahem, digest.)

It's all based on the idea that our intestinal bacteria – also known as our gut microbiome – affects many of the functions in your body, from how you make decisions to how you process food. Everyone's composition is a little bit different, so a food that may be harmful for you might be just fine for your sister, or your roommate, or your grandfather.

And it could be why so many one-size-fits-all diets end up failing.

An Israeli startup called DayTwo is packaging this relatively new concept of personalized nutrition and turning it into a new outlook on overall health – for athletes, for the chronically ill or for regular people who just want to improve their lives.

The company launched last year after five years of research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel led by Professors Eran Segal and Eran Elinav, who are key proponents of personalized nutrition.

DayTwo has recently made its sample kit available for purchase on its website. For $299, you can send your stool sample in a postage-paid box (think Ancestry DNA), wait a few weeks and receive a customized nutrition profile that includes tailor-made recommendations on what to eat and what to avoid. It all comes together in an app that evaluates thousands of meals and food combinations based on your nutrition score and helps you build and plan meals according to your specific needs, sensitivities and preferences.

And now, at least one professional sports team has gotten in on the action. Israel's national basketball team is using DayTwo to tailor diets for each player based on their gut bacteria.

Omri Casspi played for Israel's national basketball team before joining the NBA.DayTwo is performing gut bacteria tests on each member of the Israel National Basketball Team to determine their ideal diets. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The hope is that the analysis will lead to better performance, higher energy levels and – as is the nature of competition – more wins.

"The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice," Segal said.

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