If you’ve read my book Fire In The Belly (you should have and if not I’ll drop in a link at the end), you’ll know that fecal transplants have moved towards center stage.
Never mind the hygiene and esthetics; fecal transplants have now saved thousands of lives. These are now edging into the mainstream in medicine!
Let me explain the problem in one short paragraph: the microbiome is vital for health and if it gets damaged you are in trouble. With extended antibiotic abuse a growing number of individuals have such a damaged microbiome, they have been easily colonized by BAD microbes, raising hell. Notable among these is Clostridium difficile: Clostridium means it is in the gangrene, tetanus and botulism family (ugh!) and difficile means difficult. Well, it’s a real bitch if you get it.
[Note: C. difficile was moved into a separate new category in 2016: Clostridiodies, but… what’s in a word!}
One of the best and most effective treatments for C. difficile, it has emerged, is fecal transplants. That’s just a way of saying putting back healthy bowel content or sh*t. Of course we don’t EAT the stuff, it’s in capsules. But healthy intestinal content from (obviously) healthy donors is now catching on.
It’s also called stool transplant, bacteriotherapy, human probiotic infusion and more commonly fecal microbiota transplant (FMT).
There’s a whole website dedicated to this therapy and they have a register of healthy donors: The Power Of Poop (www.thepowerofpoop.com).
As their website explains:
As children we grow up believing that poop is bad; that it’s a nasty, embarrassing by-product of our food. It smells foul so we shun it and call it ‘waste’. Poop and fart jokes are the mainstay of schoolyard humor and generate a ready snigger among adults. We are warned from a young age that poop is full of germs that apparently have no function other than to contaminate areas where they aren’t allowed and make us sick. However …
All living creatures including human beings rely on their microbiome, a community of ‘good’ bacteria living in harmony with us, on the skin, mucus membranes and in the gut. When the intestinal microbiome becomes unbalanced through antibiotics or illness it is called intestinal dysbiosis, which can lead to debilitating physical and mental symptoms, including the development of auto-immune conditions.
So we need the “right” poop and it’s not dirty and nasty. It smells gross but that’s your own liver at work, releasing substances into the gut called skatols, which smell.
So Why Is Prof Telling You All This Stinking Stuff?
I’m glad you asked that and the answer is much closer to home than you think.
It may be that fecal transplants will be effective for COVID and long-COVID. A study from Poland suggests that this is a valid approach, though not the only one.
It makes sense because, I have explained, a healthy microbiome is essential to good health and restoring a damaged microbiome is an effective therapy in a remarkable range of conditions, not just C. difficile.
A vigorous, healthy microbiome actually protects us against infections. That’s why “sanitizing” your hands as a protection against microbes is a very dumb idea. “Sanitizing” kills the good guys, as well as potentially bad guys. It lowers your safety, not increases it.
Alcohol hand sanitizers: a BAD idea
The Polish study was very short—only 2 patients—but it definitely worked. Both patients were male, one 19 and one 80 years old. The trial now just needs to be scaled up.
FMT was effective for the two patients, who were in hospital receiving the treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections, when they subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, reported Jaroslaw Bilinski, MD, PhD, of the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland, and colleagues.
Both patients had risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as comorbidities and immunosuppression, yet quickly recovered. So the question becomes: could FMT be a valid treatment for COVID-19 cases?
We know the coronavirus tends to interact with cells expressing the ACE2 receptor, and the gut has a LOT of these receptors, so it’s logical.
Ironically, during the pandemic, the FDA initiated a moratorium on fecal transplants, which was due to the concerns of bacterial infection via stool transplants.
They missed the point entirely, which is that FMT has the potential to change the immune response to the virus, or any other infection, and under the right conditions, could mitigate the effects of the virus.
I haven’t talked about virus “shedding” before but it’s something patients with any virus will do for a time.
They drop live (viable) viruses into the environment, which can then infect subsequent individuals. Shedding was obvious in both these Polish patients but it disappeared much quicker than usual. Both cases, as I said, had a severe form of COVID and a fever which lasted for two days but then all cleared up, which is remarkable in itself. There was shedding but that too rapidly disappeared.
Viral shedding is normally seen for a month or more, but in these two patients, it was seen for less than 2 weeks.
The 80-year-old was hospitalized for pneumonia as well as sepsis. The patient’s fever resolved and pneumonia subsided just two days after FMT.
The 19-year-old patient had ulcerative colitis and immunosuppression and was admitted due to a relapse in C. difficile infection. He developed a COVID fever, along with increased markers of severe inflammation. But right after FMT, the patient’s temperature stabilized and lab values returned to normal. He received no COVID-19-specific therapy.
Addressing the generalization of the findings to Americans, “It is fully generalizable. Although the gut microbiota of the American people is a bit different than that of Europeans,” said Dr. Bilinski, while adding that the results should proceed in a similar fashion.
“We faced great obstacles in attempting to conduct this study, since FMT is not formally approved by the Polish government as a medicinal product,” he explained to MedPage Today. He hopes a solution from the Polish Ministry of Health will be available soon to allow him to continue his research in this area.
So: here we have a possible dynamic new (and rapid-acting) treatment for COVID-19 and other viral infections. Again, it is harnessing Nature’s awesome power and ability, instead of relying on the limited “skills” of doctors.
You can read more about FMT and many other aspects of microbiome and gut hygiene in my masterwork Fire In The Belly. Learn more here.
Here’s to a healthy gut everybody! It works wonders, as Hippocrates reputedly said: Most diseases start in the intestines!
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
Source Reference: Bilinski J, et al “Rapid resolution of COVID-19 after faecal microbiota transplantation” Gut 2021; DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-325010.
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