If Your Doctor Tells You To Eat Poop – They Might Not Be Joking.

Amazing what technology can do these days.

We especially see this in medicine with high tech scans, laser surgeries and advancements unheard of 50 years ago. Despite the fact that here at OrganicMD our approach generally starts with encouraging your own body to heal itself, we certainly appreciate the good that technology can bring to the practice of healing. In an ideal world, a balance between these two approaches is best.

The challenge with advanced technology is automatically using it to solve a problem before seeing what else might be available. We discard the simple solution to create an alternative with technology that becomes altogether unhelpful. Even harmful. Sadly the examples of this path are endless. Lipitor, Statins and Vampire Facelifts come to mind. (Yes they do exist – this is not a Halloween joke.)

At times it feels like we create inventions for inventions sake. Sadly the result is not utilizing excellent remedies well established and effective. Crazy, I know, but this is the world we live in.

Why am I talking about all this?

Well, there is a recent story in the news that I’m dying to talk about, but it is one of those topics you can’t just bring up casually at dinner. In fact, it’s a topic that is going to make most people squeamish no matter when you bring it up. So if you are easily grossed out, stop reading right now.

Check out one of the articles on the subject: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/poop-transplant-pills-treat-intestinal-infection (there is a nice graphic that was used by most of the periodicals that picked up on this news.)

One of the stranger things that doctors have proposed and experimented with is something called a ‘stool transplant’.

Yes. Stool transplant. I assure you no typos here.

A stool transplant is exactly what it sounds like. You put the stool from someone with a healthy gut into someone with an unhealthy gut in an attempt to introduce more beneficial bacteria. Up till now, doctors tried to deposit the donor stool with an enema, or through an endoscope. Stool has a short shelf-life, so timing was of the essence in these delicate procedures.

The recent story revealed a major breakthrough by these brave doctors working at this frontier of medicine. They found that if you put the stool in capsules and froze them, they could simply have people take the capsules orally. Plus the benefits in the stool could last longer.

Neat!

The people they’re working with generally have a particular ailment. One of the life-threatening complications that comes from the use of antibiotics is the development of a condition called pseudomembranous colitis. The antibiotics mess-up the bacteria in your gut, and you develop an overgrowth of a particular bacteria called clostridium difficile – what’s more commonly known as c-diff. Because the overgrowth occurs while you are already on antibiotic therapy, it should be of no surprise that this bacteria clostridium difficile is often resistant to antibiotics.

So when the drugs no longer work, because of the resistance that has developed in the bacteria, you need to put on your thinking cap. And the inspiration was to transplant stool from (presumably) healthy donors into people with an overgrowth of clostridium difficile. The hypothesis is that the ‘healthy’ bacteria will grow and crowd out the unhealthy bacteria.

As weird as all of this sounds, it is not really a crazy idea. People who work with natural medicine techniques and Integrative Medicine have talked for decades about the health benefits of including fermented foods that contain live cultures, and even probiotic supplements, as a treatment for gut disorders. In fact, for the specific problem mentioned in this recent article on stool transplants with frozen stool capsules, there is peer reviewed research that discusses the use of probiotics with good results. You can check this out yourself by going to Pubmed (link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and doing the search “clostridium difficile AND probiotic”.

There is value in good quality probiotic supplements. Use a product that has multiple species of beneficial bacteria. We use a product from Jarrow Formulas called JarroDophilus AF and there are others on the market as well. The point is there are dozens of products already present in the market that do quite well with these conditions, not to mention the host of fermented drinks now available, like Kombucha and Kvass, which assist in overall gut health.

For the specific problem of overgrowth of clostridium difficile, there is a particular probiotic strain of yeast called Saccharomyces Boulardii that the research showed to be most useful. As always the point is to commit to a life long practice of supporting your gut and assuring that it gets all the help it needs to stay balanced. Many cultures around the world use fermented foods for this very reason. The wisdom is out there.

(Check out our video on Pickling from Karla and Mountain Feed and Supply. She talks all about ways to ferment your own food. (Go here)

In the future when your doctor proposes something that sounds a bit crazy, make sure that they have not overlooked simpler and safer therapies that are tried and true. Probiotics. Try those first. A much better option than a handful of pills filled with someone else’s poop.

Unless they’re Root Beer flavored. Or maybe cherry.

No. Just kidding. It’s poop. That alone should be the giveaway.

Have a great weekend. Leave a comment or a story of your path and successes.

And as always…To Your Health.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Can Stock Photo: meepoohyaphoto  (no…the name is real)

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