Photo credit: Cleveland.com
Heart, kidney and liver transplants can save lives. But…transplanting beneficial bacterial cells from one healthy human to another unhealthy human sounds preposterous; doesn’t it? Yet, so far bacterial transplants seem to produce favorable health outcomes without the adverse effects of many common conventional medical treatments.
You may just be the perfect solution to your family, friends or neighbors medical ills.
Considering bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1 and we are hosts to an estimated 8 million non-human genes from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that are dwelling inside us. This should come as no surprise; but I must admit, I’m surprised.
As we start to understand more about bacteria or “bugs” (otherwise known as our microbiome or microbiota that are living inside us), that inhabit our bodies and their tie in with the immune system, the brain, the gut, unexplained fevers in children, acne etc…medical science is making huge strides in utilizing these bacteria for medical treatments from human hosts.
For example, fecal transplant or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), http://thefecaltransplantfoundation.org/what-is-fecal-transplant/, also known as “yellow soup” in traditional Chinese medicine is a procedure that has been in practice since the 4th century in China; and for the last few hundred years this same technique has been used in veterinary medicine. During this FMT process, stool is collected from a healthy host “donor” and transferred inside the colon of an unhealthy patient via a colonoscopy.
One purpose of transferring poop from a healthy person into a person who suffers from intestinal issues is to replace healthy bacteria that has been suppressed (typically due to overuse of antibiotics) causing colonization and overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.
Successful transplants have been experienced with those diagnosed with Clostridium difficile (otherwise known as C. diff. an intestinal pathogen normally found in the gut that causes diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon). “The annual burden of Clostridium difficile infections in the United States is 453,000 cases per year, with 29,300 associated deaths,” http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/02/cdc-puts-c-difficile-burden-453000-cases-29000-deaths.”
But because of its winning track record, uses for FMT has expanded and now used for those suffering from digestive or auto-immune diseases (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis) and more findings suggest links between other physical and mental disorders, like metabolic diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders and autism via the gut brain axis, allergic disorders, and tumors, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4284325/.
Have not heard of FMT? Let’s be honest not exactly a topic you might want to discuss at the dinner table. But, as disgusting as it sounds and despite the repulsive thoughts, IT WORKS!
Fecal transplants are safe. Since the 4th century, there have been no reports of any serious side effects and it has a 90% success rate, http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/fmt-demonstrates-consistently-high-success-rates-for-recurrent-cdi.
I’m not just talking sh*t, microbial transplants (MT) from various body regions, and not just the colon, are gaining in popularity. This discovery has expanded the breadth of people bacterial bug transplants are helping.
Next week you can read more about which specific body parts have been studied and learn how body bugs can influence health far beyond conditions related to the gut. In the meantime you may want to meander into some of these links: