Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine

Why is poo always brown, no matter what we eat?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Asked by: Peter Spicer, Gloucestershire

By the time it has been through your intestines, most of the natural pigments in food have been digested away (the red from beetroot being a notable exception). The brown colour is due to a chain of processes, which begins with the breakdown of old red blood cells to produce a chemical called bilirubin. This ends up in the liver, where it mixes with bile. The bile travels into the gut, where bacteria metabolise the bilirubin into another chemical called stercobilin, which is brown.

Advertisement

Read more:

Advertisement

Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content