The Poop Post

Oh yes, this is the post about poop. Or rather, doing fecal transplants. While it is a gross topic, your waste products say a lot about the health of your entire body system. Trillions of bacteria and yeast cells colonize your large intestine, skin, mouth, air ways, and vagina. They not only interact with your immune system, but they respond to the foods you eat, the soaps and lotions you use, and the environment you’re in. There are more foreign cells on/in you than your own cells, which perhaps, means that we should all re-evaluate what it means to “be human”.

fecal transplant

The Microbiome

The first thing that determines what bacteria species grows on you is the way you were born. Vaginal-birth babies have more lactobacillus colonizing their intestines while C-section babies have more skin bacteria. It takes a while before C-section baby guts normalizes to having more lactobacillus. Back before the discovery of antibiotics and vaccines, children died early and often. Now, the antibiotics that are used to treat their infections also cause long term disruptions to the gut microbiome. While research on this topic is still in the early stages, disturbances to our commensal bacteria friends means we, in turn, suffer from various intestinal inflammatory diseases and infections.

The Transplant

Fecal transplants are a different way of treating inflammatory bowel diseases. It even has implications in treating and/or relieving the symptoms of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. How does one do a fecal transplant? You’ll first need a healthy donor to poop on command in a bucket. The screening process is extremely difficult, harder than say, getting into Harvard. Places like OpenBiome will pay you $40 for each donation (yes, you get paid to poop). Then, that poop undergoes more screening and if all goes well, it is placed into the colon of someone suffering from an intestinal ailment via a colonoscopy. The hope is that your healthy poop flora will give them the jump start needed to develop their own balanced bacterial colonies.

So there you have it. Modern problems such as Clostridium difficile infections due to antibiotic use, IBS, and Crohn’s disease, require modern solutions. In this case, the modern solution is poop.

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