Poop: The Ultimate Probiotic

Poop: The Ultimate Probiotic post image

There is a new treatment modality on the horizon that is gaining momentum in the medical community. It is Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT). This is a procedure where donor feces are transplanted into the colon of a person suffering from a bacterial infection. While using poop may be off putting, it works and has been used to CURE infections from the dangerous Clostridium difficile bacteria.

Clostridium Difficile

These infections can be recurring and deadly. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times,  Christian John Lillis, executive director of the Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation, an advocacy group devoted to preventing C. difficile infections wrote,

Estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that yearly deaths from the disease exceed 28,000… rivaling the number of Americans killed every year by guns and traffic accidents.

Clostridium difficile is rampant in nursing homes, rehab centers and hospitals. In the United States, more than 300,000 patients in hospitals contract C. difficile each year, and researchers estimate that the total number of cases, in and out of hospitals, may be three million. I personally know of three elderly people who died of C. diff. infections, which they caught while in the hospital or as a result of taking antibiotics. In recent years there have been several virulent strains appearing.

This study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, January 2013, found that 15 out of 16 people who were suffering from recurring C. diff infections were cured after FMT. They compared this group with two other groups of patients who were given antibiotics. The antibiotics cured 3 out of 13 in one groups and 4 out of 13 in the other group. The study was stopped after an interim analysis. Clearly the FMT group was benefiting from the treatment.

The researchers concluded that,

The infusion of donor feces was significantly more effective for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection than the use of vancomycin.

History of Success

Back in 1958, doctors in Denver administered feces by enema to patients with fulminant, life-threatening pseudomembranous enterocolitis. The goal of this infusion of donor feces was to “re-establish the balance of nature” within the intestinal flora to correct the disruption caused by antibiotic treatment. They reported “immediate and dramatic” responses and concluded that “this simple yet rational therapeutic method should be given more extensive clinical evaluation.” Sadly, it did not take hold at the time.

Antibiotics — the Cause and the Cure

Since then, a clear association between C. difficile infection and pseudomembranous enterocolitis has been established — as well as the association of C. diff and the use of antibiotics. The main treatment modality has been antibiotics — both the cause and the cure — or the attempt at a cure.

C. difficile has become the most common cause of nosocomial (acquired or occurring in a hospital) infectious diarrhea in the United States. During the past decade, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence and severity of this disorder, with associated increases in cost, suffering and death.

Sadly, many people with C. diff infections  suffer through round after round of antibiotic treatment only to have a recurrence of the problem time after time.

Fecal Transplants are Effective

This new research is the first to provide the solid scientific evidence that medicine requires. Even the Food and Drug Administration had taken notice. They have recently begun to regard stool used for transplant as a drug, and to require doctors administering it to apply for permission — something that could hinder treatment (no surprise there).

Next thing you know some pharmaceutical company will start to manufacture fake poop and charge exorbitant fees for it… Fortunately poop cannot be patented — but there are probably some companies rushing to figure out which bacteria are the “good” ones in order to find a way to patent something to make oodles of money. As it is, if this becomes the standard of care for serious intestinal diseases like Crohn’s or colitis, pharmaceutical companies stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars from the dangerous and toxic medicines they push for these diseases.

For those who have received a fecal transplant after suffering from recurring bouts of C. diff. — they report that the next day they were 100% cured. I’d say that’s a pretty powerful treatment modality.

The Procedure is Simple

Simply put, stool is placed in a blender with saline (salt water), and poured into a syringe. The sick patient is then given the freshly homogenised human stool via a colonoscopy, which is done through the rectum.

The donors theoretically come from a select group of Super Donors – people who did not have antibiotics as children, who are healthy, and who will be able to donate their stool. I bet there are some Real Foodies out there that would qualify.

Fecal Transplantation in Australia

There has been much discussion on the web about the use of fecal transplants for other bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease as well as metabolic issues, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons.

Fecal Tranplants are being used very successfully by Professor Thomas Borody, at the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Five Dock, Sydney. He uses them to treat gut bacterial conditions such as colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as Clostridium difficile.

Dr. Barody predicts that there will be Stool Banks in hospitals much like Blood Banks and Sperm Banks. According to Dr. Barody,

It’s only a matter of time before donors are more common. And soon, we hope that all hospitals will have filtered, frozen stool which will be able to be used in emergencies… Contrary to popular belief, stool has no waste in it – it’s a mass of good bacteria… the incoming bacteria are capable of killing bad bacteria and recolonizing your gut, restoring your body’s balance and leading to a resolution of your symptoms.

I can get behind this procedure. We know how important gut bacteria is to our health. It makes a lot of sense to use good poop to cure what conventional medicine can’t.

Would you use this procedure if you had a digestive disease? Leave a comment and let me know!

For more information about this topic:


Fecal Biotherapy

This post is shared at: Creative Juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Barnyard Hop, Meatless Monday, Hearth & Soul Hop

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Leave a Comment

  • Lisa January 30, 2013, 10:52 pm

    If I knew of a super donor right now I would ask them for their poop. I’m working very hard to get my 5 yr old healthy. If there was a poop shortcut, I would take it!
    Know of any super donors?

    • Heather January 31, 2013, 9:17 am

      I’m right there with you Lisa! Myself and my two daughters have gut issues – if we could get this cured by a poop transplant – I’d go for it! We’ve been working hard on diet, cutting all the food intolerances out – it’s very hard work! It’s pretty incredible though, to hear about poop banks just like blood banks! Will the donors be screened? Sure wouldn’t want to pick up another disease from infected poop! Thanks for sharing the article Real Food Forager 🙂

  • Linda January 31, 2013, 9:25 am

    I have read about this before. Interesting but gross. I think if I needed it I would go for it. I read about a guy who was terribly ill and in a lot of pain. After he had it done he was fine. Still, when I read about thinks like this I can’t help feel disgusted by how messed up we are with the SAD diet, antibiotics, all those vaccines that are out there now, and how sick our children are!

    • Jill January 31, 2013, 10:29 am

      Hi Linda,
      So true — but at least some researchers and doctors are looking into the gut connection to health and it is exciting for the future — hopefully the near future!

  • Noelle January 31, 2013, 9:33 am

    I would absolutely do this!

  • Tina January 31, 2013, 10:54 am

    I am really glad this treatment is working and becoming available. But, I keep thinking we might be “cutting butter with a chain saw”. I would think raw milk kefir enemas and kefir grains inserted rectally while increasing your intake of raw milk kefir and fermented veggies would do the trick.

    • Allie January 31, 2013, 11:23 am

      I was wondering about this as well. Why not use probiotic enemas? Water or milk kefir? Powder from capsules?

      • Jill January 31, 2013, 12:37 pm

        There are some groups that use probiotic enemas but I think they do not have the diversity of bacteria poop has — or the power.

      • Tam February 9, 2014, 3:59 pm

        Probiotic enemas can be helpful. So can eating foods like keifer and sauerkraut. However, probiotics have, at the most 30-50 varieties of bacterium. Poop has thousands of varieties. We haven’t begun to research most of them. We have no idea what they all do and how they work together.

        Those 30-50 probiotics may only work optimally if they have other friendly bacteria that help them. Poop in a healthy person may not just have lot’s of different strains, but may also have bacterial systems that work synergistically to maintain the health of the gut.

        Finally, bacteria in poop are already acclimated to the living conditions inside the body. They have been shown to adhere to the walls of the intestines better than the synthesized probiotics that you get in a pill and even from food.

  • jeron hanson January 31, 2013, 4:51 pm

    I had a conversation with a motel owner up in Canada about 7 years ago . He had a child that had been born premature by about three weeks or so. The child couldn’t keep any food down. They went to doctor after doctor with no results. Then they went to a naturalpathic doctor. He took fresh feces from a newborn baby who was a full-term baby and gave the baby with the problem an enema….AND the problem was cured! He said the last two weeks before a full term fetus is born is when they get the microbs from there mother. I think that perhaps the best people to donate feces are the newborns, simply because they have “the good stuff”. Nice to see some people have “their poop in a group”.
    Now that you have come this far, Why not go a little further? Do some reading on Urine Therapy. Urine is the medicine NOW in several countries and it is the medicine of the future. I’ve said a great bumper sticker would be, “Urine – Our Best Medicine, And We’re Pissing It Away!”
    Jeron Hanson

    • Jill February 1, 2013, 2:44 pm

      @ Jerod
      I remember years ago hearing about drinking your own urine — I can’t remember why. But try getting people’s minds around that one!

  • alyse January 31, 2013, 5:07 pm

    What do you know about recolonizing with probiotics (instead of super donor poop) introduced in this method? At my ND’s advise, I recently did this process every night before bed for 3 days. It has helped radically. But I can’t find much on this method.

  • Corinne February 1, 2013, 12:18 am

    Tee-hee…you said, “I can get behind this procedure.” Was the pun intended?
    Actually, I would get behind this procedure too, and so would several of my family members. Oh, to have a healthy gut…

    • Jill February 1, 2013, 8:55 am

      Hi Corinne,
      Yes — pun intended — thanks for picking up on it! lol

      @Loretta — amazing your hubby has donated — he must be super healthy!

  • Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen February 1, 2013, 12:36 am

    I recently learned about this and at first, thought it was pretty bizarre, but my hubby has ‘donated’ and I know I would if I had to. I’d also have the procedure done if needed. I’m no longer squeamish about that stuff. Thankfully, I’m incredibly healthy!

    Just when I thought I had heard it all 🙂

  • Taymount Clinic February 1, 2013, 1:05 pm

    Jeron, your motel owner was nearly right, except that up until the amniotic sac bursts, a baby is sterile and it is the mother gives the baby its’ first innoculant in the transit period of birth where the birth canal microbiome and the vulval/rectal microbiome are transferred across to the child. This why babies delivered by C-section are immuno-compromised (see many studies). It then takes a further two years for the infant’s microbiome to gather the rest of the 40,000 or so (Prof. Glenn Gibson – Reading Uni) different species and subspecies that inhabit a human gut.
    “Coached” donors are best, we test our donors monthly by PCR DNA Sequencing and supplement if our donors are “off the mark”.
    Elie Metchnikov published the first paper on this in 1908 and it was roundly ignored by the establishment, and again in 1958 when Ben Eiseman et al wrote their paper on FMT and Ulcerative Colitis the establishment (probably led by the nose by the pharmaceutical industry) did its’ level best to stick their collective fingers in their ears and sing la-la-la loudly.
    It is 2013 and I find it utterly amazing that we still appear to be the only clinic in Europe to be offering FMT treatment for more than just the “easy” C. Diff treatments.
    Glenn Taylor
    Food Microbiology and Clinic Director
    The Taymount Clinic

  • Jill February 1, 2013, 2:50 pm

    @ Glenn
    Your clinic looks awesome! I wish it were in NYC! I like the idea that you test the donors. I suppose this is for pathogens as well as the good stuff?

  • Debbie February 2, 2013, 1:45 pm

    This is super interesting Jill, thanks for sharing it.

  • Lori February 2, 2013, 1:47 pm

    I would try a healing diet first. That would be the very last alternative for me.

    • Jill February 2, 2013, 10:38 pm

      HI Lori,
      I would always recommend a healing diet first but some people also need treatment and this one seems so logical.

  • Alison February 8, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Great article Jill, I shared it on Healthnutnation FB page! BTW, I just joined VGN and have “seen” you at the WAPF conferences. Next time, I’ll have to stop and introduce myself!

    • Jill February 8, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Hi Alison,
      Thanks for sharing! Yes I hope to meet you next conference!

  • Rachel C. May 3, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this Jill!! I had read about this method briefly before but had not really thought much about it being a possibility to help with Crohn’s Disease until reading this post.

    I have suffered tremendously from Crohn’s Disease, and my seven year old daughter has had many of my symptoms off and on for the last four years. I would try this for both of us in a heartbeat!!! We have been on a gluten free diet. We have cut out all grains. We have cut out all sugar. And, we have taken some incredible supplements that have helped tremendously. Even with all that we have done thus far, we have still both had issues and I still have to remain on lots of meds in order to keep going. So, if there were something that could help, gross as it may be, I would jump at the chance!! I will ask my gastroenterologist about this next month. Thanks again!!