Does being a vegetarian, or an athlete, or those with allergies, affect the microbial makeup in the intestinal tract and thus overall health? Researchers are beginning to study how differences in diet and lifestyle affect the friendly probiotic bacteria in the intestines.
Through the American Gut project, participants can contribute money to help the effort. Twenty-five dollars gets you a T-shirt. Twenty-five thousand dollars buys you a detailed map of your gut microbiome.
A $500 option gets you in a "Week of Feces," which directs donors to collect and submit a stool sample every day for a week along with detailed dietary information.
The project is headed by researchers at the University of Colorado. The local newspaper detailed the research plan in greater depth.