One Poo-Shake, Hold the Fries

I read an interesting article in online magazine Slate about fecal transplants on Thursday and have been thinking about it ever since.

Fecal transplants, also known as bacteriotherapy, are becoming a common treatment for Clostridium Difficile (also known as c. diff.), a bacterial intestinal infection. The procedure works like this: stool is gathered from someone close to the patient. It’s then screened for bacteria and pathogens, mixed with saline, and pumped into the patient’s colon, or siphoned into their stomach via a nasogastric tube. This procedure is repeated over five to ten days.

There’s even a do-it-yourself version if you’re the handy type. Check out this doctor’s guide.

While it’s been proven to work for C. Diff., there is also evidence that it might help obesity, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and Celiac disease. This 2008 article from Celiac.com says, “The Bifidobacterium research done by the Spanish researchers suggests that fecal bacteriotherapy might be an option to treat or cure celiac disease in adults, replacing gut flora causing intolerance to gluten with a healthy mix of gut flora that encourages tolerance to gluten.”

So, if this therapy is so helpful, why haven’t we heard more about it? The Slate article does a crude but accurate analysis: “A single pill of vancomycin—one of two antibiotics used to treat C. diff—costs about $55, and the average dose is four pills daily over a two-week stretch. A glass of shit, on the other hand, costs very little.”

You can bet your poo-shake that the drug companies who are spending millions of dollars in research on gluten blockers to help Celiac patients would rather that we spend our money on that, rather than testing out this low-cost treatment. If you’re interested in giving it a try, talk to your doctor and keep an eye on the news. It’s possible that this poopy concoction might just give you some relief.

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  1. #1 by Totally not John on March 22, 2012 - 9:11 am

    Exciting (if a bit odd) news! yay for a low-tech and local treatment.

    (FYI, “a glass of shit” is already a registered trademark of the Budweiser Brewing Company.)

  2. #2 by Totally not John again on March 22, 2012 - 9:16 am

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