The Loh Down On Science

Let it Run

What's going on in there?

Diarrhea -- friend or foe? Only your gut will know!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We’re all familiar with the woes after some questionable dinner. A stomachache, coupled with those frequent and not-so-pleasant trips to the toilet. But is diarrhea a side-effect of food poisoning? Or could it have a higher purpose? 

Jerrold Turner at Harvard University and his international team took a run at the question. They started by studying gut infections. Infected guts leak too much water from our body to our feces. Meaning diarrhea is a sign of a bigger problem: gut infections. 

Turner discovered the biochemical signal that opens the floodgates! If your body doesn’t send this signal, then you don’t get the runs! Exciting, right? But wait, there’s more. Without diarrhea, the bacterial infection lasts longer! 

Acting as our body’s first line of defense, diarrhea flushes out bad bacteria. Before it settles in and makes you even sicker.

Next time you can’t hold it, hold back on the Pepto, and bring on the water works! Over the porcelain throne, of course.

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