That's One Way to Do It
Fecal microbiota transplantation. FMT has a nice official and scientific ring doesn’t it? What it means, in layman’s terms, is taking fecal matter (poo for those us of under 12) from one person and transplanting it into another person. I don’t know about you but my first reaction (and pretty much my second and third reaction) to hearing about this new, exciting, and wildly effective procedure was a resounding yuck!
However, FMT has proven itself to be a successful way of treating Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection when endless courses of antibiotics (which lead to the condition in the first place) can’t get rid of this highly unpleasant and life-threatening infection. In studies on patients who’d been dealing with c.diff for an average of 11 months (of unsuccessful antibiotic treatments) 92% were cured of symptoms in three days. After one transplant.
What’s behind (no pun intended) the success rate of this unsavory treatment? It’s simply taking fecal matter teeming with beneficial bacteria (“pro” biotics) from a healthy person and placing that fecal matter, and those great bacteria, into the bowel of someone who no longer has healthy bacteria colonies as a result of antibiotic treatments. The good bacteria colonize their new home and get to work removing the bad ones. Presto, your health begins to improve.
Well. Isn’t that awesome?
Great doctors and researchers have known for many years that taking probiotics before and during antibiotic treatment leads to far fewer secondary issues (like catching c.diff after a course of antibiotics needed for some other issue). If you’re taking antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria it’s important to remember that our essential good bacteria are being killed too. It’s vital to replace those bacteria as soon as possible. Probiotics are sometimes called the foundation of good health. (They are always called that by me.) They help with nutrient absorption and they manufacture some of our required vitamins and minerals. They “train” our immune system and keep it functioning properly. Moreover, study after study is showing that the type of bacteria we carry around in our gut has a direct and immediate impact on our mood and stress level.
Think about those statements for a moment: if you can’t absorb good nutrition how much benefit are you getting from it? If your immune system isn’t functioning at its optimal level how many illnesses can that impact? How many times are depression, stress, anxiety, and attention syndromes related to bacterial levels in our gut?
How many health issues in our life are not directly or indirectly related to one of these three major health areas?
So, you can wait until you’ve gotten an illness or infection and consider having someone else's poop transplanted (most times performed via colonoscopy, which has its own risks) or you might consider taking high quality probiotic supplements to improve your overall health to begin with. I’m all for avoiding problems rather than fixing them later; most especially when it comes to my health. Fecal transplants later or better health today? Yeah, I know what I’m choosing. Every time.
Mona Sims, CNPA