Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Absorption and poop ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Absorption and poop
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: perrenialstudent-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Dec 2005 05:25 PST
Expires: 10 Jan 2006 05:25 PST
Question ID: 604325
I've heard that the color and density (float vs sink) of a person's
poop can indicate something about the vitamins and minerals that are
absorbed or not absorbed by the body.  I'd like to find a website that
addresses this specifically.
Subject: Re: Absorption and poop
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 11 Dec 2005 11:09 PST
Hi perrenialstudent,

Thank you for your question.

The Bowl Truth

"Experts disagree on two other stool characteristics: the number of
pieces and their buoyancy. Each bowel movement preferably should be in
one piece, about the shape and size of a banana and tapered at the
end, according to Melanie Ferreira, a nutritionist and instructor at
the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health in New York City.
Others, however, object. "Stools don't have to be well-formed logs,"
Donovan says. "They can disperse in the toilet water; they can break

As for "floating versus sinking," one school argues that stools should
float. Ferreira says buoyancy is a sign that the body has absorbed the
minerals in the food and that these nutrients are not contained in the
waste. Another camp believes healthy bowel movements should touch
bottom because of their bulk and fiber content. Loftness is not
impressed with either argument: "Most stools will sink," he says.
"Whether it floats or sinks really doesn't seem to make any


If Your Stool Looks...   

It Could Mean... Malabsorption--your digestive system isn't getting
the full nutritional use of food.

Same article can be found at:


The Scoop on Poop 

Why is poop brown?

"A friend of mine just sent me the link to your website for fun. I
really enjoyed the ?Survival Guide for Taking a Dump at Work?.
However, I believe that there is an error among your explanation for
the color of feces. The brown color is a result of broken down red
blood cells, but I don?t think that it?s a result of iron. Most of the
iron that is released from the breakdown of heme is reabsorbed by
cells in the bone marrow for incorporation into new red blood cells.
That?s why we don?t have a large daily requirement for iron in our
diets. Anyhow, what remains of the hemoglobin is then called
biliverdin, which is converted into bilirubin and is excreted. This
compound can build up in some people and cause jaundice. The colors of
these molecules are due to their complex structures, which contain
rings of carbon and nitrogen atoms. Intestinal bacteria further modify
bilirubin to produce urobilinogen and stercobilinogen. If I remember
correctly, the red color of blood is also due to the porphyrin ring of
heme and not iron.

So, you?re absolutely correct to say that it?s a complicated
explanation and it has to do with the breakdown of red blood cells,
but I don?t think that iron has anything to do with the brown color of
poop or the red color of blood."


"Why does some poop float?
Floaters are turds that have an unusually high gas content. Sometimes
the gases produced by bacteria in our gut don't have a chance to
collect into a large fart bubble, but remain dispersed in the feces.
The poop then comes out foamy, and has a lower density than water."


You can find a discussion on the subject matter at
Floating And Sinking Poop


Eat Fiber and Avoid Constipation  (cached page)

"How do you know when you are starting to get plenty of fiber in your
diet? When you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet, your stools
weigh less and float in your toilet water. So if your stools sink in
water then you need more fiber. This is just a general rule. If you
eat excess fiber your stools may sink, but I doubt any of you fall in
this category."


a combination of the various keywords were used for my research:

fecal float or sink absorption vitamins minerals stool color bowel poop


Best regards,
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy