Poop: the cure of the future?

Poop has been all over the news lately. (And no, I’m not talking about the recent election.) I’m referring to fecal transplant, the process of transferring a healthy person’s stool into a sick person’s colon in order to restore the bacterial balance. It sounds bizarre, and even a little crazy, but doctors and scientists all over the country are discovering just how effective fecal transplants can be.

Just last week, the Chicago Tribune wrote a story predicting that stool banks may one day be just as common as blood banks. Human stool transplants have been found to consistently cure up to 90 percent of patients who have had multiple episodes of C. difficile, an infection which causes serious diarrhea and affects about 3 million people per year. Typically, these infections are treated with antibiotics such as vancomycin, which can actually make the infection worse by killing off beneficial bacteria and allowing the resistant C diff. to survive. This recurring infection can be fatal, killing an average of 14,000 Americans every year. It’s especially dangerous for young children and the elderly who are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes the colonic inflammation and diarrhea.

Could poop save your life? Tweet This

Use of the procedure is simple and shockingly effective for patients with serious bowel infections. CNN recently reported on a young girl who nearly died from the infection, and was cured immediately by a fecal transplant using stool donated from her mother. This recovery was after nine rounds of antibiotics failed to eliminate her life-threatening infection. While the idea of receiving a fecal transplant may disgust some, the sickest patients aren’t fazed by the “ick factor” of the procedure. If it helps them recover from their serious illness, they’re willing to try it.

Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of the procedure on treating not only C. difficile, but other conditions as well. (1) Various studies have shown fecal bacteriotherapy, to be effective in colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and some neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease. (2, 3, 4, 5) Researchers in Amsterdam are even running a clinical trial to see if fecal transplants can help treat obesity. (6) I’ve written before that the composition of the gut flora is one of many factors that affects weight regulation, and fecal transplant could very well be a future obesity treatment. (7) There may be countless other conditions that could be helped by this simple, effective, and safe procedure.

I’m fascinated by fecal bacteriotherapy and have read all the studies on it. It’s a miraculous treatment in certain conditions, and we have yet to tap into its full potential in treating a number of gut-related illnesses. I’m excited to see how this therapy develops, and wouldn’t be surprised to see the creation of stool banks in a few years. Fecal transplant may be a disgusting concept to some, but who knows – one day it could save your life!

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

  • I hate spam too. Your email is safe with me.

Comments Join the Conversation

  1. JP Sand says

    FECAL TRANSPLANT DIY (Do It Yourself)…

    Hello Chris and readership,

    The information base on fecal transplants has expanded considerably in the past couple of years. By way of UPDATE: it should be stressed that fecal transplants DON’T require the services of medical personnel, nor does it require sophisticated equipment. It is a simple procedure that can be done at home by any lay person. Please see the following references for complete details.

    1) News article from Med Page Today: “Endo Type: DIY Fecal Transplant” (http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/GeneralEndocrinology/45141). This article has a link to a 30 minute YouTube video by Michael Hurst: “DIY Fecal Transplants to Cure Yourself of Digestive Disease” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEMnRC22oOs).

    2) Research paper from the medical journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: “Success of Self-Administered Home Fecal Transplantation for Chronic Clostridium Difficile Infection (http://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565%2810%2900069-8/fulltext).

    Hope this helps. Best to all.

  2. RoxyinSF says

    Does anyone even know of a board certified MD in the San Francisco Bay Area who will even talk about a fecal transplant for conditions other than CDif? I have suffered from small bowel fungal overgrowth for 18 years and have not been able to get rid of it. It keeps coming back and it is awful. I go on antifungals and feel better and when I go off of them it comes back. If anyone has a resource, I am willing to travel anywhere in the SF Bay area. Thank you.

    • Marjorie says

      Maybe you have an autoimmune disease or leaky gut or even a parasite. Do you have food allergies?
      I have Biofilm issues too where the fungal infection is hard to get rid of.
      It sounds like your body is fighting off some other infection as well. Do you have blastocystis hominis? I would have a stool test done by Genova Diagnostics or Metametrics to rule out a parasite. Hope this helps in some way.

    • says

      Since the U.S. FDA put a block on FMT for anything other than C diff, you are going to have to go a lot further than the Bay Area to get a treatment. We are entering into a joint venture in the Bahamas which will bring the treatment a lot closer to the U.S. than our primary facility in the UK, but it is still not mainland US.

      • Sita says

        Hi Mr Taylor, I was wondering when the clinic in the Bahamas will be opening? I’ve been hoping and planning to come see you in England from California (I have a consultation in a few weeks), but the Bahamas would be so much easier!

  3. Ivan Pakenstool says

    so, this is what them fellers in San Francisco have been up to all these years? who knew they were just taking core samples to maintain colon health….

  4. Marjorie says

    Does anyone know how Blastocystis Hominis affects the immune system and colon?
    Also, I was told that I drank model airplane fluid at the age of 5….how would this affect my immunity, endocrine, neurological, etc. systems?
    I was never breast fed, was one month premature, and an incubator baby at 4 pounds. My mother smoked and drank while I was in her womb.
    How would expect a child to grow up with these things…would they have health problems?
    Please help with this…I am really sick these days and see many practitioners. I just wanted your unbiased feelings on this.

  5. Deborah says

    At this point, I’m tired of the new FDA regulation and want to start a clinical trial. Using Medstartr to investigate FMT as a treatment for PI-IBS and IBS-D. First need a clinician and researcher to work with me on a proposal. fecalmicrobiotatransplant.blogspot.com

  6. Marjorie says

    Alix,
    Did you take any probiotics or eat any fermented foods after taking the Antibiotics? Did your doctor tell you to take anything to replace all of the good bacteria the antibiotics wiped out?

    • Alix says

      Marjorie,

      I wasn’t told about probiotics back in 2007. Since then I’ve taken lots of different brands of probiotics without any benefit. I wish someone would have told me about fermented foods then because I am unable to have them now. I have a severe rash when I eat fermented foods.

  7. Marjorie says

    It seems as if there are many things that have been treated with antibiotics that we eat. Also, be careful not to take supplements that have magnesium stearate in them. As this will suppress the T cell function of your immune system. I can see how the magnesium stearate hasn’t help me at all with the leaky and inflamed gut to improve as it suppresses the immune system.
    It sounds like for sure you have intestinal dysbiosis brought on by antibiotic usage. You need to talk with Beatrice and an IM physician. You need a supportive team helping to address the issues. Food allergies are a result of candida and bacterial imbalances in the digestive tract.
    I hope that I have been able to help you. My problems came on after I came back from Mexico and picked up Blastocystis Hominis, I got candida, plus I was given a megadose of CIPRO by a very stupid MD for a virus. I had cytomegalovirus, epstein barr virus and chronic fatigue around the time I got the parasite The partner I was with ate the same thing but was not affected. I had terrible cramping in my digestive tract.
    Right now my diseased colon is leaking the products to knock down the candida and bad bacteria in my intestines….not sure how much time I have left….I am very ill…you can’t imagine how upset I am at the medical professionals who kept ignoring me when I kept telling them something was wrong in my digestive tract. I need a Fecal transplant and not sure how I am going to get one! Please pray for me!

  8. Marjorie says

    Also, Integrative Medicine Gastroenterologists are very rare in the US. I know of only three. There should be more of them because they understand leaky gut. Mainstream medicine is so far behind in their technology its not funny. A holistic MD told me their textbooks are 30 years behind. Amazing isn’t it! Gee I wonder why there are so many sick people with Intestinal dysbiosis. Probably due to over prescribing antibiotics and people eating foods that have been treated with antibiotics! My guess! Man has really messed things up….hasn’t he!
    Most people can only afford to go to doctor’s that accept their insurance. Can you see how corrupt the system is??
    Out with the old and in with the new….If holistic medicine was affordable more people would be healthier. But instead people are stuck and brainwashed into believing that Mainstream has all of the answers. That’s what happened to me….and why I am so ill! The doctor’s kept telling me that nothing was wrong with me and my problems were mental.
    You can get the picture I am sure.
    I am so sad because I am trying to get my parents to change and they are so locked into their doctor’s….they don’t understand why they have terrible joint pains, arthritis, allergies, etc. I keep trying to help but you can’t make a horse drink water, but you can bring them to it! Both my parents have leaky gut and don’t get it! I just give them ideas of eating pasture raised meats with no hormones. But they are on a fixed income and where they live (in a retirement community) their clubhouse serves regular foods, not organic, sustainably raised animals!
    Oh well, some day when this is all over, we won’t have to worry about sick any more…I am looking forward to this day!

  9. Marjorie says

    Alix,
    Have you been checked for parasites?

    Also, there are specific Integrative Medicine Gastroenterologists that may be able to help also.
    Dr. Gerard Mullin at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I saw one in California by the name of Farshid Sam Rahbar. I did a “Skype” interview with him. He had a game plan to heal my gut due to my specific health history.
    Eating 100% grass fed meats has helped me. Local farm raised, no antibiotics were used.
    When did your problems begin?

    • Alix says

      Marjorie,

      My problems began after I took antibiotics for a few weeks back in 2007. I lost about 20 lbs in a few months after the antibiotics and had digestive issues, fatigue and joint pain then. Then I moved from Canada to Australia and my condition slowly worsened to where I am now.

      I only eat lamb and need it to be very fresh due to my histamine sensitivities. I live in a very small village and I don’t think I can get grass fed lamb all year. Maybe only during a short period in fall.

  10. Marjorie says

    I basically am on the paleo diet without eating fruit as I have a systemic fungal and bacterial infection in the intestines that went bad 4 years. ago I basically eat 100% pasture raised grass fed meats. Beef, chicken, lamb and goat on a 4 day rotation other wise I would have anaphylactic reactions to them. It’s pretty sad. I have been working really hard to heal my colon that has blastocytis hominis and my stomach and small intestines from candida. The candida is everywhere basically.

  11. Marjorie says

    Also Alix, if you haven’t guessed already you have what sounds like a leaky gut and you need to heal it with the GAPS diet.

    • devona says

      Hi, I agree that you most likely have leaky gut. But just FYI GAPS didn’t help me, however the Autoimmune Paleo did and I’m mostly healed.
      If you want more info, I’m happy to give it to you and share what’s helped me. I know how hard it all is!!
      Best of luck!!

      • says

        Sorry, put the kettle on, this is one of my long responses.

        One of the most common co-morbid events that we are witnessing here at Taymount BioResearch (The Taymount Clinic) when addressing gut bacterial dysbiosis is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Recognising it’s importance, it is something that we have been discussing with Professor Jonathan Brostoff, Britain’s leading allergy specialist

        Patients arrive for treatment to rectify their dysbiosis, surviving on a range of specialist diets that they have refined in order to reduce their increasingly allergic responses to foods. Patients say that prior to their condition these foods were never a problem. They report that these allergic responses have have developed over a period of time that is consistent with their dysbiosis condition.

        Once the patient’s dysbiosis has been “normalised” by the introduction of a normal healthy gut microbiome via the use of FMT, they report that their allergic responses begin to moderate over varying periods of time.

        This has led us to the proposed conclusion that the colon is primarily an organ of the immune system and secondarily an organ of digestion. I recently talked to a large group of physicians at the world’s premier children’s hospital; Great Ormond Street Hospital specifically on this concept and it was hugely encouraging to witness this proposal generating considerable positive debate amongst medical professionals.

        It is our belief that gut microflora are our primary regulation control for immune responses and our research is now concentrating on this subject.

        Chris (Kresser) would you like to weigh in on this subject?

      • Alix says

        Devona,

        My diet currently consists of lamb, carrots, turnip, lettuce, cucumber, coconut oil and fish oil. From what I can tell from the Autoimmune diet there are no foods that I am eating that are not allowed.

        One of the complicating factors with me is that I can’t tolerate any fermented foods. Even minuscule amounts with make my skin break out in a rash.

        I will check out the contact given to me by Marjorie but do any of you know of any more practitioners specializing in digestive issues and allergies? I’ve already been to many naturopaths but I need someone that has successfully treated people like me.

        Thanks again.

  12. Alix says

    I am currently suffering from a multitude of food allergies/sensitivities, joint pain, digestive issues, fatigue, eczema and others. My diet is limited to 6 different foods. Stool tests have shown that my gut flora is sub-optimal and my IgE levels are above the measurable range. I eat lamb, carrots, lettuce, turnip, cucumber, coconut oil and fish oil. I am very sensitive to histamines and nightshade vegetables.

    I am looking into fecal transplants but would like to have it done in a clinic setting rather than do it myself. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada but would travel anywhere in the US or Canada. Does anyone know where I can go to get a fecal transplant done? I have not been diagnosed with C. Diff. or Colitis but suffer from various digestive issues forcing me to blend all of my food and limiting me to an unhealthy number of food options.

    • says

      Dear Alix, we are an FMT research clinic in the UK. To the best of our knowledge the US FDA has placed a total prohibition on the use of FMT for anything other than the treatment of Clostridium Difficile infection, and Health Canada has obediently toed the political line. Sorry for the bad news.

      • Marjorie says

        Dear Alix,
        I wanted to give the name of a brilliant naturopath. Her name is Beatrice Levinson. You can look her up online and also call her.
        Have you had much success with the GAPS diet or taking a soil based probiotics?
        I assure you that Beatrice will be able to guide and help you.
        Her number is 831 642-0202 She lives in Monterey, California and practices in both Monterey and Meno Park, California She is from France!

        • Alix says

          Marjorie,

          I have been searching for a naturopath that has extensive experience in treating digestive issues and allergies. From what I can see from her website it looks like she has this. Thank you. I will contact her.

  13. devona says

    Hi Sue,
    I had rosacea, also had ezcema, had severe gut dysbiosis, had hair loss, had thyroid issues, and major hormonal issues that set me into early menopause (which I’m out of now). I reversed my chronic disease issues through the AutoImmune Protocol, sometimes also called the Paleo AutoImmune Protocol, or the gut healing diet/protocol. It is a radically restrictive diet that you must be totally committed to. It took me 6 months to a year, but I’m completely well. Totally worth it. If you would like more information on it, I’m really happy to share. Just email me at devonabell (at) hotmail (dot) com.
    Best of luck with your healing!!
    Devona

  14. Sue says

    I have rosacea (which anyone who has it – its based in the gut. We know this but our Drs refuse to even look at the facts) which is tied to bacteria in the intestines. My immune functions are a mess as a result – severe sun sensitivity, histamine intolerance, I have malabsorption issues such as hair loss etc. I am pretty convinced that the cure for rosacea is merely a fecal transplant. Simple, right? Not a high risk procedure at all. Unfortunately most Drs want to put people on antibiotics for life rather than attempt to fix the problem, so I will likely need to pay out of pocket to treat myself.

    • Tim says

      Sue – I would seriously love to see you try this for a couple months:

      But some Unmodified Potato Starch. It’s cheap and easy to find. Every day, mix 1-2TBS of this into a cup of yogurt or kefir. If you can’t do dairy, mix it with water. After 2 weeks, up it to 3-4TBS a day.

      As far as I’m concerned, this is just as effective as a fecal transplant…it will completely flood your large intestine with resistant starch and force your gut bacteria to adapt to the new food source. Beneficial bacteria are all that can feed on resistant starch, when given enough food, they will take over the large intestine and crowd out pathogenic/non-beneficial bacteria. In addition, this resistant starch has a very unique property in that the microbes found in the yogurt or kefir–or any fermented food–will latch on to the RS granules and in this fashion, they can better survive the trip through the stomach and small intestine so they can do their magic in the large intestine. Most probiotics eaten end up dead in the small intestine–RS changes that.

      Good luck!

      • Sue says

        Interesting. I will give it a try. I am not sure whether it will do the job as effectively as a fecal transplant – as it seems that some good bacteria may be damaged or missing, such as with acquired celiacs (which a Dr in Australia has reversed with a fecal transplant). But it seems a sound theory. At the very least it might lessen my reactions which would be fantastic.

        Thank you :)

          • says

            Have you tried raw potato starch? All of the allergens are filtered out in making it, it’s nearly pure starch and is not digested at all in the small intestine like cooked starch or a potato.

            That said, easy alternatives are really green bananas, air-dried plantain chips or slices (you need to make your own), and mung-bean noodles eaten hot or cold.

            Hope this helps!

            • Paola says

              Hi Tim! Lovely hearing back. OK, So I can’t have potatoes due to an intolerance (I follow Paleo AIP, and I cut out all nightshades). I don’t know if I can tolerate raw potato starch. In the past when I have tried a derivative of something I’m intolerant to, I have regretted it. For example, I am intolerant to wheat/gluten. So I sprouted the wheat and cut it and made a nice little wheat grass shot. When I drank it my autoimmune disease flared for a week (I have interstitial cystitis)!

              I’m a little leary of trying the potato starch, raw.

              Maybe I can try really green banana or the plantain chips/slices. I can make my own. Would I do that in a dehydrator? Or do you want me to chop the banana into slices and let them sit on my counter for several days?

              Finally, I’d love to read more about this approach. Could you refer me to an article I could read?

              Paola

  15. Lisa Being says

    People are always saying we should get back in touch with nature and this is NOT natural! It’s a good example of perversity caused by disassociation with our roots.

  16. Adina says

    Last year after a several of hospitalizations for ulcerative colitis did a series of DIY fecal transplants using my 6 yr old nephew as a donor. He has never been on antibiotics and is healthy by all accounts. I couldn’t find a doctor to support me in the matter so I took my chances. The very next day after the first transplant I had more energy. I was extremely underweight and malnourished. While I am not perfect, for over a year I have had blood in my stool only once and my hormones are much more balance. My mood is more stable and my bowl movements are mostly regular with occasional loose stool. I no longer have seasonal allergies which were incapacitating in and of themselves. After every previous flare I would gain weight and would bounce back to my former overweight self (I didn’t this time and it seems my body has a new healthy set point). For almost a year I had no PMS symptoms and cycled painlessly, which was a life long problem. I don’t know what this connection is, only that my cycle was closely linked to my UC flaring. I have recently been experiencing more frequent mood swings with PMS and more frequent loose stool. I may repeat the treatment soon.

    • Adina says

      I should add I had been doing SCD/GAPS for 3 years without control of my symptoms (straying only to experiment with other protocols for a month or 2). One thing I found is I tolerate starches much better than fibrous vegetables. I am just now reading more about FODMAPS and I think there was/is an issue with some of these, fructose for sure. I was tested for SIBO (breath hydrogen test) and it was negative. I want to understand all of this better!

    • Gelly says

      Adina – If you do it again (or even don’t) I can highly recommend increasing the resistant starch in your diet to about 10-20g or more per day. I have had really bad intestinal troubles my whole adult life, short of IBD/Crohn’s–but doc said it was coming. Last fall I had my third colonoscopy–they found nothing…again. Doc mentioned more fiber and resistant starch. I had gone the high fiber route before with disastrous results, but had never heard about resistant starch. I did some googling and came across this guy on a website called Free the Animal doing a lot of research on resistant starch.

      You can get resistant starch from easy foods like green bananas and cold potatoes, but since I didn’t like those very much, I started just using potato starch, which apparently has about 8g per tablespoon. I take 2-3 tablespoons of the stuff every morning with my breakfast smoothie. I can say for the first time in years that my intestines have never felt better and I think I may finally by doing something that is making a difference.

      In the 4 months I have been doing this, I have not had diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn like I used to have almost every day. I think my last colonoscopy prep wiped out all my gut bacteria and eating resistant starch as they repopulated caused the good bacteria to grow faster than the bad stuff, that seems to be the theory anyway.

      Maybe you would benefit from more resistant starch, too.

      Not everyone likes the guy who runs this website, he’s kind of ‘out there’ on social issues, but his stuff on resistant starch is all rock-solid and research based, not just a crappy diet he’s trying to sell. Here is a link to latest article, follow the links and be sure to read all the comments.

      http://freetheanimal.com/2013/08/how-resistant-starch-via-potato-starch-and-beans-helped-a-type-2-diabetic.html

  17. says

    For someone who has a serious digestive illness, being able to avoid taking large doses of antibiotics and other types of prescription medication is definitely a huge plus!

    I’m happy for those who are benefiting from such a procedure, but my fear is that it will become just another one-size-fits-all approach that prevents people from making the necessary diet and lifestyle changes. With all the research being done on the microbiome (you recently shared an article from the Atlantic, and there was one in The NYT), there is growing awareness that there is a strong relationship between the health of the soil our food is grown in and the health of the digestive system and our overall wellness. We can replenish the beneficial bacteria and give our bodies and chance to detoxify and heal, if we choose to eat food from farmers who are using biodynamic, organic, pasture based farming methods.

    My daughter healed herself from a serious digestive illness by first using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and then transitioning to the Paleo. Most of symptoms disappeared within three weeks of removing all grains and refined sugars from her diet. Food wasn’t the only piece of her health puzzle, but had a lot to do with it, even though I thought I’d been giving her healthy, home cooked foods since she was born. I had been led astray by the plethora of conflicting nutrition misinformation that’s out there, as I’m sure many parents still are today.

    So, even though this is exciting news, and certainly a step in the right direction, I think we all need to keep in mind that the food, pharmaceutical, and health care industries are seeing dollar signs because of the recent microbiome research that’s confirming that there is a significant link between the health of the soil our food is grown in and our gut/overall health.

    Probiotic yogurt (with pasteurized dairy) is being touted as a superfood, and I’m sure we’ll see many more products with health claims. There is talk of tinkering with the microorganisms so that we can replenish already depleted soil. And, of course, medical procedures like these, that are promising for certain patients, might end up being overused like prescription drugs have been for so many years.

    I just hope that physicians who are doing these transplants will refer patients to qualified nutritionists as well. If patients don’t clean up their lifestyles too, it seems unlikely any such quick fix will provide lasting results.

    All and all, I agree with you though, that there’s so much potential here! When conventional medicine and holistic healing methods collide, anything is possible.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Missy says

    Are dogs ahead of the game? You know how some of them seem to have a need to ingest poop in the yard. Are they instinctively doing this to meet a digestive need?

  19. says

    A fecal transplant healed me from ulcerative colitis in October 2012 after 3 1/2 years of suffering.

    Read my blog -http://healed-from-uc.blogspot.com

    It WORKS!

    I am symptom free and drug free!!!

  20. Corl says

    Journal of New England Med just published another case of a patient near death with C diff after all allopathic treatment failed who immediately began recovery after such treatment. Ongoing gastric banding research is revealing significant changes in the brain’s response to food after Banding, when MRI’d, giving pause for thought that the enteric nervous system undergoes significant hormonal changes and its not just about reducing stomach size.

    Apologies if this is already well known.

  21. Edward says

    This makes me wonder if administering probiotics the back way might also be useful. A kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut water or kefir enema, perhaps.

    Also, obviously, bacteria do survive the acidity of the stomach, or we wouldn’t have any gut flora in the first place.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Yes, probiotic implants are effective and I recommend them in my practice for patients who don’t do well with oral.

  22. says

    Thank you very much for this article.
    It was very useful.
    The most important thing, that our guts need probiotic bacteria to stay in health state.

  23. says

    I also forgot to mention that my colon is real sick….and I believe it’s from the chronic candida infection along with a blastocystis hominis parastic infection I’ve had. What’s real sad is that I was treated by being put on a candida diet in 1991 but the doctor never checked my stool for parasites as to why I had the candida. I didn’t know I had a parasite even after coming back from Mexico with intestinal cramps, which I saw a GI doctor for who said I had IBS! The doctor who treated my candida was an orthomolecular MD. I thought after the candida diet I was cured but little did I know what was happening! I feel so sad…as I will probably lose my life because of the many errors that were made while I was under the care of many specialists back then in and around 1991. Coming down with Cytomegalovirus, wow! How could that happen? And where did I get that? So the candida and leaky gut I believe were both contributing factors! As well as drinking alcohol for 10 years…I don’t touch it now. I have had chronically elevated liver enzymes for the past 5 years and the doctor’s believe the liver is an innocent by stander. But lately the ALT is in the 80’s so they think I may have fatty liver disease, but the ultrasound shows negative for this! Very strange! I sure hope that I don’t have Cirrhosis now!

  24. says

    Dear Doctor I too find this information very helpful to know. I have blastocystis hominis, unknowingly for 20+ years, along with nutritional deficiencies, candida/fungal systemic infection, severe leaky gut and now believe autoimmune issues. 7 years ago I saw 2 naturopaths who never checked for BH or leaky gut and I have a history of not being breast fed, terrible childhood allergies (hayfever) and tomatoes (food allergy). I came down with cytomegalovirus in 1991 and was treated with Cipro (I don’t know why as I had a virus). I was in Puerto Vallarta in 1987 where I believe I picked up the undiagnosed blastocystis. I was told I had IBS and I believe this was from the parasite and leaky gut. I drank wine for many years, 2-3 glasses per day. I had Mitral Valve prolapse and was always given amoxicillin prior to dental appointments! I am now extremely ill and need help….can you help me or know of someone in the bay area that can help me on an ongoing, real close basis. I dont know what to eat anymore as I am allergic to pretty much everything I eat, I just don’t know what to do and my husband is real tired. We had been to doctor after doctor after my gall bladder went south and I was told I had SOD which I still have due to an undiagnosed fungal bacterial overgrowth in 12/08, as my sphincter still spasms. The doctor’s just told me my inflammation inside was IBS and I was a psycho and needed counseling. The inflammation was from the leaky gut as I know now. I have one of the gluten genes, I can’t remember which number, I am missing a folate gene., a glutathione gene, 1A1,1B1, 2CYP2C19 gene synpettes. and have poor acetylization and methylization. I have spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what was wrong and it all relates back to not being breast fed and having a leaky gut from the moment I was born! Can you please help me? If not I need help from someone right away! I have skyped with an Integrative Medicine Gastroenterologist in L.A. but need to have a doctor where I live to implement a treatment plan either his or yours. I am really sick! Thank you so much!

  25. ss says

    Hello Kriss,
    I am planning to administer FT due to UC. I couldn’t find a clinic in NY that would perform it.
    So I decided just to go for it , since symptoms do crush my life!
    My husbend went through screening. His stool is great!
    Blood has shown that he had in the past Epstein Bar Virus and Cytomegalovirus antigens.
    Is it safe to use him ad a donot for FT?
    thanl you soo much for all great information on your blog!

  26. Amy says

    If gut flora may effect allergies, is it possible that this poo transplant could be used to treat allergies as well? Or am I making some inaccurate assumptions?

  27. says

    Hi Ursula-

    It’s interesting that you ask that. I think there is a connection between eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and food intolerances or gut issues. People don’t eat (anorexia) because it feels bad when they do, maybe not physically but mentally. Same with bulimia- people sometimes binge-eat the foods they are sensitive or intolerant to, but then purge because they feel bad, either physically or emotionally. The physical and emotional reasons behind abstaining from food, or from binging and purging can certainly be linked to gut flora and the body’s reaction to foods. I know I have read about this link somewhere but can’t remember right now where… it’s certainly a possibility to be explored :)

    • Megan says

      Natasha Campbell-McBride addresses some aspects of eating disorders in “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (I just finished reading it). Though some of the research she references has since been discredited, most of the research I’ve done on her research (yes, I know) seems to hold up well.

  28. says

    The body’s ecology is so diverse that you often can’t get the probiotics you need in the right doses from simply eating yogurt or fermented soy or veggies. This treatment has been under wraps for years because of the gross out factor but it is definitely going to be a common, household treatment in the future. And poop is cheaper than pharmaceuticals!

  29. Sita says

    I just wanted to chime in here because I did home FMT after becoming very sick with infectious colitis from taking a six week course of antibiotics. This was definitely a last resort for me after trying everything herbal and diet-wise and not being able to turn around my chronic diarrhea and pain. Although it took some trial and error, this is a manageable process to do at home, and I think preferable to doing it in clinics as you can do the transplants regularly over a long period which specialists are beginning to think is preferable to doing a lot of them in a row at a clinic and then stopping. As long as proper screening and testing is done, there is no reason why people can’t do this on their own. I’m not saying there aren’t advantages to doing FT in a clinic, but if because of location or finances you can’t do that, there are still options. I have read of so many long-term cases of colitis being turned around by this procedure.

    And honestly, for me FT has not been a “quick fix.” I have had to still manage my diet extremely carefully and continue to take other medication, and the process alone was challenging in many ways and required a lot of planning, organization, and research, but it has brought me from feeling completely helpless in the face of my symptoms, to having another really helpful tool for healing.

    I also talked to a GI doctor recently who told me that research at the Mayo clinic has found that as far oral probiotics are concerned, kefir is the best source with the most strains.

    • Bill says

      Sita,
      You have blown this wide open with your home administered FMT. Can you explain your fecal matter source, preparation and method of administering? This is fascinating and totally logical. I hope you can provide links to information on this.
      I realize that this is not a quick fix.
      It must have made a difference to your health. I hope you can help us all with more information.

      • Sita says

        Hi Bill,
        To answer your questions, my fecal matter source was the three and a half year old son of some acquaintances. Since I don’t have a spouse or family nearby, I asked pretty much everyone I know about their digestive health and if they would be willing to be a donor. Many of my friends were willing but I discovered that very few of them have good digestive health. I moved on to asking people I didn’t know as well, and a family I know who is involved with WAP were very kind to offer to let me use their son as a donor.

        Luckily my doctor was on board with this although he isn’t a GI specialist, just a homeopathic MD who had heard of FMT and was willing to talk things over with me as I went along. We tested my donor’s stool extensively through Genova labs (and normally a blood test would also be recommended to rule out infectious diseases but because my donor was so young and I knew his parents we didn’t do this).

        Once we had the stool tested my donor’s parents would collect the stool, text me, and then I would go pick it up and prepare it. It would take me a really long time to describe the preparation and administration details on here, but there are some really good resources out there. http://www.naturaldigestivehealing.com/ – This is Matt Robinson’s website and he does coaching on FMT and chronic illness and the information I got from him was invaluable. Also if you go to healingwell.com and type in “fecal transplant” you will find a world of information and personal accounts on the subject of home-administered FMT.

        I did five home transplants and they were very helpful, but I had a couple of issues. Number one my donor, with the capriciousness of a three year old, decided he didn’t want to participate after the first couple of collections, and it became a real struggle for his parents to get him to go in any kind of receptacle. As well, he was very irregular so I had to be pretty much on call to do the transplants and that was really difficult. So after I did the five spaced out over about a month, I realized I needed to find a new donor who was an adult and knew what they were getting into, and I’m in the process of having my new donor tested. The five transplants I did were very helpful, and I have gone from having diarrhea every single day and spending half my life crouched up in a chair with pain and nausea, to having good days with normal stools alternating with days where I still have diarrhea, but a lot less pain. I’m hoping if I continue to do the transplants for a few more months, more of my symptoms will resolve.

        So yes, the whole process has been complicated and not a magic bullet, but it has really turned things around for me and given me hope that I can heal my gut. If you have more questions about the procedure you can email me at [email protected]

        • Bill says

          Sita,
          Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply.
          I hope Dr. Kresser will give some input to what you have said.
          I would imagine that if the prepared matter was syringed into the bowel via the rectum, that there is minimal risk of complications.
          Once again thanks for your reply. Best wishes for optimal health!

          • Sita says

            Hi Bill,
            I realized after I wrote my reply that you possibly weren’t asking for in-depth instructions about preparation and application, just to know what method I used. So basically, I blended the stool in a blender with saline, and used a jimmied fleet enema to administer rectally. Hope that helps! Sita

    • Michelle says

      One issue with the DIY approach is that some of the bacteria that we require are anaerobic and die rapidly when exposed to the air. In a clinical setting this can be accounted for but at home it can’t so that may explain why home transplants aren’t as effective.

      • Sita says

        I’ve heard that as well, Michelle, although I’ve also heard stories of people who have had FMT done in clinics and not gotten better, and people who have had amazing recoveries from doing home-administered FMT. I think it probably depends on a lot of factors, and hopefully this treatment will continue to be researched so there will be a better understanding of the best protocol.

    • says

      Answer: ………from the donor who has been carefully coached with dietary choices, who has had full blood and stool pathogen and disease screening, who has undergone PCR DNA sequencing for microbiome construct, and has has bacterial supplementation where necessary to make up the shortfalls. In other words from the donor whose stool has been modified to be the most beneficial with all the right bacterial groups, species and sub species. That would be totally irrespective of age, colour, religion, gender, race or celebrity. Which Kevin, is the direction you were going – celebrity.

      I believe that you were trivialising a life changing/saving procedure for a cheap gag. You should apologise to all those people suffering from life-shortening, painful and serious gastro-intestinal diseases, to whom, this treatment might be their only chance of survival.

      • Kevin says

        Wow if you can’t joke about poop what can you joke about? I was thinking more along the lines of some of the super healthy paleo celebrities like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, or maybe Chris Kressor. If these guys practice what they preach I’m sure they have great bacterial flora. I believe in this therapy and think it can and will help many people in the future but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humor about it.

    • says

      I was wondering about this as well! I don’t have a colon anymore, and I still have digestive issues and I’m certain I have some serious gut flora imbalances. I’m honestly not even sure how many bacteria are SUPPOSED to be in the small intestine! I haven’t had any success so far with dietary or probiotic measures to improve my gut health, so fecal transplants really intrigue me.

  30. carolyn says

    also, what about the huge spread of infection that occurs when say they didnt clean thier scopes for colonoscopy propery in new york yrs back and all of those people got like hepatitis?

  31. carolyn says

    funny that when they were doing this research at northshore long islannd jewish hosp on long island…a dr bernstine, i believe, the whole floor had c-diff and also a few wks later, while at thier sister hospital, mt sinai, everyone there also had it…hmmm

  32. says

    Hey Chris,
    Great article. Quick question somewhat on topic… I have a healthy 3 month old who is exclusively breast feeding. Mom eats close to 100% organic, grass fed, ec. I catch his poops in the potty (via EC) a lot through out the day. Would using it by taking it as an enema be beneficial to improve or even recover some gut flora? Your thoughts would be very welcomed and valued for this unusual idea? Thanks

  33. Mark B., MD says

    As a urologist dealing with very resistant urinary infections in complex patients, I can also see a day when we will have no alternative but to super-infect the urinary tract with virulent, but sensitive organisims, that will crowd out the resistant ones, but be very amenable to antibiotic treatment. This is done routinely in water treatment facilities, where over growth of resistant pseudamonas species can only be managed by overgrowing and crowding out the resistant organism with strong, but antibiotic-sensitive species. We are losing the antibiotics battle. This defeat will have to be met with manipulation of the infective agents. It’llbe a new field: “Infectious Disease with Bacteriotherapy Specialization.” We’ll be able to use penicillin again!

  34. Suzanne says

    Great article Chris. My son has ulcerative colitis. I had found a clinical trial in Canada that is using stool from screened donors as a treatment for UC – my son met the requirements and was accepted but had to defer participation because he wanted to discontinue his Remicade treatments and so had to sit out a required waiting period for any medication changes. He plans to rescreen after the holidays. We have high hopes for the treatment – he has been keeping his symptoms under pretty good control with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (and has been med-free for 3 months after 2 years of expensive, but ultimately useless, pharmaceutical intervention), but has yet to achieve remission and finds the diet hard to follow because he is not in a position to cook for himself due to his living arrangements (a college dorm). My expectation is that the fecal transplants will speed the healing process begun by the diet and get him over the hump so that he can finally experience remission.

  35. says

    Chris, as a practicing FMT clinician in England, I wish to thank you very much for raising awareness of this very effective and totally natural procedure. Can I correct one or two things; Alex Khoruts is achieving total remission for Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection in the region of 98% and Tom Borody is close to that also. My own clinic has carried out so few RCDI treatments that my sample is hardly representative. We have treated for many neurological conditions as well as gastrointestinal and we never fail to be surprised at number of conditions where FMT treatment appears to make a significant difference.

    Secondly, what we infuse, can hardly be call “poop” anymore; after careful selection of only the fittest, and healthiest of donors who have passed a long string of stringent tests and after clinical agitation, filtration, and centrifuging we have a small concentrate of almost pure active and live beneficial bacteria – believe me, it ain’t poop no more. So get the idea completely out of your heads that we are sticking raw sewage into sick people. By the way, that probiotic yoghurt you just ate, those probiotic capsules you just swallowed ….. you DO know where the bacteria they use came from don’t you?………..

    In 10 years time, Fecal Microbiota Transplants will be the treatment of First Choice and not of Last Resort. There should be an FMT suite in every hospital and they should all be funded by the national purse. The cost savings to public health would be literally huge, but a word of caution – do not expect any enthusiasm from the drugs industry.

  36. says

    I am a huge proponent of this procedure! I have not had it done, but I used to work at a clinic that served autistic children and it was widely discussed. I think that, as a culture, we need to overcome our fear of talking about poop and consider the ways that poop can teach us so much about our health.

    I recently wrote a letter to the editor of the New Yorker after they printed an article (“Germs Are Us,” October 22, 2012) about the human microbiome that referenced fecal transplant but dismissed it as as “extreme” treatment, despite its low cost and clear benefits. The article instead lauded the option of developing drugs to mimic the effects of human gut bacteria… a huge waste of money when we already have the cure! Here is my blog post with the letter’s full text: http://paleolizzard.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-letter-to-editor-of-new-yorker.html

  37. Lynn says

    I have been hearing about this procedure on various podcasts for some time now, so thanks Chris for writing about it and bringing this info to a wider audience. I want to invite everyone to join the American Gut Project, an effort to discover the diversity of bacteria that are in us and on us much like the human genome has been mapped. I just donated $99 to get a kit to find out what critters live either in my feces, my mouth or on my skin, whatever I choose to have tested. I’m going for poop. As an avid fermenter, I am curious to find out the variety of bacteria I am hosting. Must be quite the polyculture in there!
    Go to: http://www.indiegogo.com/americangut/x/1870646 to learn more about the American Gut Project.

  38. Rebecca says

    My brother and his flatmates used to sell their poo! About ten years ago they would poop every morning and deliver it to a specialist in Sydney Australia. They made $100 a week for doin what comes naturally. He loves telling that story, lots of great potential joke lines such as my first job really gave me the *****. One of his flatmates couldn’t join in tough cause he’d lived in PNG growing up so didn’t have good enough poop to sell! Specialist was Dr Borody if anyone is in need in Sydney…. he’s been doing this transplant for a long time.

  39. says

    Have they considered fecal transplants from animals? I would imagine it is much easier to find healthy candidates from say goats versus humans. Thoughts?

  40. says

    I’m wondering if fermented foods and high quality probiotics could help people who don’t qualify for the fecal transplants / aren’t in life threatening situations. Anybody know anything about populating the colon by starting in the mouth?

  41. says

    I had human Faecal implanted in my bowel for IBS. Very reputable clinic in Sydney,Australia.
    Didn’t work. Perhaps because I was told to eat lots of soluble fibre to feed it. One thing the ‘wrong bacteria’ like is soluble fibre. Spent of $2000 getting it done.
    The only think that has worked for me for IBS is a strict low carb diet with no caffeine or alcohol of any sort.

    • Allison says

      I’ve also heard that it may not work unless a longer period of treatment is done, however the cost is definitely prohibitive. Many are now turning to home transplants (with guidelines from the CDD) either as a standalone treatment or as a “top-up” after treatment at the CDD.

      I’m considering going to the CDD but not sure I qualify as my issues are mental health and fatigue, more so than any severe digestive complaints….even my issues are absolutely tied to gut dysbiosis (confirmed with stool testing for bacteria levels and antibiotic treatment)

      • Jackie says

        Hi Allison,

        My son has experienced headaches for many years. A year ago we started trying to find the route cause. He has modified his diet and was treated for parasites (Blastocystis Hominis and Diaentomeba Fragilis), while this helped his brain fog, digestive issues and joint pain, he has had chronic headache (everyday) and has missed a year of school. His fecal testing showed a severe dysbiosis, so like you we are looking at FMT to resolve non-gut issues. Did you go down the FMT route? Was it successful in your quest to resolve non-gut issues. We are talking to the CDD in Sydney about this treatment. Any comments would be greatly appreciated, we are besides ourselves with our 15 yo going through all this.
        Also Chris and other, if anyone has knowledge of FMT to resolve chronic headaches/migraine, we’d appreciate your input. Thanks.

    • Chuck says

      So how long did it take for you to feel better after you got the “strict low carb diet with no caffeine or alcohol of any sort” diet established? One thing I dispair is managing to stay on it long enough for effect. My cravings are overwhelming unless I have some carbs and when I do there it goes, gone down the drain.

  42. Bill says

    My wife who is now 70 years old has COPD and for the last 6 years has had regular courses of antibiotics with steroids to treat chest infections/exacerbation’s. Her gut flora must be seriously compromised. I am sure that here in England, I could not convince her GP to contemplate a fecal transplant.
    I’ve been “archevore” in my diet for more than 6 years and have not had antibiotics in that time. My stools are and have been through this time optimal. Is there a way that I can self administer a transplant, possibly by a rectal enema that could help improve her gut flora?
    She’s on a downward slope, now on full time oxygen. Would it do any harm to try this? Surely it would improve her immune system and help the overall situation.
    I recently discovered that she was vitamin D deficient, even though she’s been taking 2,000 iu per day for 10 years. I upped her dosage to 10,000 iu per day for 6 weeks which raised her level to 55 ng/ml. She’s now on a maintenance dosage of 5,000 iu with another test next month.

    • Allison says

      Hi Bill
      There is a clinic in the UK called Taymount that may be able to assist. Glenn Taylor is the contact there.
      All the best,
      Allison

      • Bill says

        Thank you Allison, I’ll contact Glenn.
        I would however like to hear what Chris has to advise. COPD is a massive problem and I’m sure that the conventional treatment could be improved.

  43. says

    First, I will say that I am not averse to this because of some sense of revolt or disgust.

    I am averse to this because of one single reason: short cutting.

    Short cutting is for lazy people – these are the same people that get gastric bands fitted, that take the “magic pill” for weight loss.

    Short cutting is someone else doing all the right things, all the hard work and then other benefit from it. I find that, in itself, revolting!

    Want something? Save! Work! Strive towards! Ultimately, get it.

    Got poor digestion? Stop eating crap (there’s an ironic joke in there somewhere) and eat real food. Boost your own gut and benefit from a new life well fought for.

    • Allison says

      Paul you clearly haven’t read the article or engaged your critical faculties. Tell that to the people that contracted c.difficile in hospital or developed ulcerative colitis after antibiotic use. Count yourself lucky.

        • Michelle says

          Paul before you judge anyone get your facts straight!!!! Not everyone who has a gut problem eats badly- I have gut issues and I’ve eaten healthily my entire life unfortunately severe food poisoning, from a RESTAURANT meant multiple rounds of antibiotics as I had also contracted a parasite, ever since then I’ve had gut issues. Did I ask for them- NO! So unless you have anything of benefit to say then don’t say anything at all!!!!! And by the way I do work and yes luck is involved- I’d say getting food poisoning was beyond my control!

          • says

            I am sorry … I do hope you are on the path to full recovery and can benefit from a normal and healthy life soon.

            I am not talking about how this procedure can resolve issues for people who are sick and can benefit from it; I am talking about all those people who, quite self-destructively and serially abuse themselves with poor lifestyle choices and then, rather than invest the same time and effort into righting themselves simply take the shortcut.

            I envisaged those self-same people who get so far there’s no turning back and have liposuction, gastric bands and so on. I envisaged that the wide(r) spread use of this procedure might well wind up quite simply being a “quick fix” for people who will not take the choice to actually eat right.

            That is what I was speaking about.

            • Michele says

              Apology accepted. I’m sorry for the angry response but I’ve literally struggled for almost 5 years to turn my digestive issues around with no luck so for me a fecal transplant is my last option and certainly not a short cut. I’ve tried everything else- SCD, GAPS, raw food. I don’t tolerate probiotics at all they make me worse so a fecal transplant may be my last hope.

    • Tracy says

      Oh if only it were so simple. I do eat well. I eat no grains. I avoid sugar. I use grass fed butter and ghi. I mostly eat organic vegetables. I eat grass fed and pastured meat and wild fish. I eat bone broth. take collagen, take probiotics, and ginger. I eat drink kefir from raw milk and drink kombucha tea. And my symptoms have gotten a lot better. But they have gotten a lot worse since recovering from the flu. Not as bad as when I ate grains, but bad enough that sometimes I have to go to the bathroom 5 times in one hour because of liquid diarrhea.

      I have had numerous antibiotics over my life for many bladder infections and childhood illnesses.
      I would take the shortcut at this point.

      Tracy

    • Rachel says

      This is easy to say for someone that doesn’t have a life long, chronic illness through no fault of their own. This treatment could be used for people with autoimmune disorders like MS, which I have. I don’t eat crap, I do crossfit 3-4 times a week, even when I lose so much strength in my hands that I can barely hold on to the bar. Look someone like me in the face and tell me I am taking the easy way out! I am willing to do almost anything to be able to walk into my 60s and be able to hold my grandchildren someday.

      People like you INFURIATE me. Did you even read the article and what this treatment could mean for people?! Go scratch.

  44. Allison says

    For those interested, a support group has started up on Facebook with a specific focus for supporting those that, for some reason or another, need to source their own donor. Details here: http://thepowerofpoo.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/fmt-hits-facebook.html

    Some of the stories of those who have done this treatment, either via official channels or from sourcing their own donor (using strict screening process) are just incredible. Here is just one: http://thepowerofpoo.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/genevieves-success-story.html

    For all the naysayers, before you criticise, just be thankful you haven’t had a life threatening condition that has not responded to any other treatment.

    Thank you Chris for covering this treatment. It is something I am considering myself since I had panic disorder that responded to treatment with erythromycin – turned out the panic disorder was caused by a streptococcus overgrowth in the gut. I do not want to be on an antibiotic+probiotic merry-go-round for the rest of my life.

  45. Ira Edwards says

    My neice had 80% of her colon removed because of Crohn’s disease. The other 20%, the distal segment, is still painful. If the doctors used fecal transfer, which is not new, but was used 50 years ago, all this could have been prevented. Even now, it could help her if it were available. So far, doctors don’t think about it other than last resort for C. difficile. It should be first therapy for bowel problems.
    Weston A. Price principles are also very useful.
    I use the term “endobiome” for the ffunctional gut contents, in place of the less specific term “microbiome.”
    Ira Edwards author of HONEST NUTRTION

    • Chris Kresser says

      Please do not try this without supervision. It’s potentially dangerous without the proper screening of the donor ahead of time.

  46. jamie says

    I was at the point where I needed a fecal transplant. I was taking VSL#3 which is the strongest probiotic you can get in this country that I’m aware of. The VSL#3 helped so much but it was never quite enough. Eventually after eating a high fat diet and incorporating fermented foods, bone broths, basically a mixture of GAPS diet/Weston Price/ high fat (lots and lots of good butter) my gut finally healed. I no longer need to take VSL#3 or any store bought probiotics. I eat kimchi, fermented pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, raw milk… bone broths and lots of fat.

  47. devona says

    Chris,
    Can you please review the process for how the transplant happens? I had heard of this a few months ago, and have had severe IBS-d for decades (started in my teens with Giardia) and was diagnosed with Celiac recently (3 decades later!). I eat really clean (a la Nourishing Traditions) and would want my donor’s poop to be, well what to say? high quality/clean — all sounds ridiculous, but I think you get the jist. So, I prefer for my donor to be someone I know and know their diet. Also, are there other things that need to be considered? Can anything be transmitted or cause a reaction in the immune compromised person? So, for Celiac, would it matter that the donor eats gluten/corn?
    Many thanks for all you do!!
    Happy holidays,
    Devona

  48. Alicia says

    I had a C. Diff infection as a complication from the antibiotics I took to treat Lyme Disease and I diagnosed myself. I was really surprised that my self diagnosis was actually correct though because really, when does that ever happen? I am glad my doctor listened and confirmed the diagnosis with a lab test. Fortunately the Vancomycin did cure my C. Diff but at the time I wanted the fecal transplant because I have such a compromised gut due to Celiac disease and long term candida infestation. My question and also my naturopath’s question is where can healthy donors be found? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t taken antibiotics, steroids or OCP. Will there be people who can actually become suitable donors? I would still like to do a transplant for healing of my gut from the years of abuse it has suffered.

    • says

      I did a little research on this subject. My information could be wrong, of course. A healthy infant over 6 months of age who is currently being breast-fed. That would be a good donor.

      • Allison says

        Actually I have heard that infants have different gut profile to adults and so they are not ideal donors for adults.

        • Sherry says

          Really? When I did the research, I wasn’t looking at real peer-reviewed research. I was merely browsing through some of the experiences shared by some who have chronic ulcerative colitis. Of course, there is nothing to stop anyone from trying this if they had a family member who fit the profile.

          • Allison says

            That’s the info I’ve been given be someone who has had the transplant both by a clinic that has a donor bank and also has sourced her own donor stool using strict screening. I haven’t delved into this aspect any further though. I had asked her whether a child was suitable as you would assume they have a better gut profile but she said that the species are somewhat different between infant and adult. Since she has the personal experience, I trust what she is saying….though it restricts the possibilities!

      • Chris Kresser says

        Allison is correct. The Center for Digestive Disease in Australia that developed this procedure recommends that donors be >18 years old. The gut flora is not fully developed until then, according to them.

        • Debbie says

          I keep reading that mothers pass their gut flora to their children at birth. Does that mean my 18-year-old son who has good digestion would not be a good donor? He has never taken antibiotics and has been low sugar all of his life. All because of my anti-candida and later paleo diet.

  49. Emily says

    As a person who ten years ago contracted C. Diff was in the hospital for two weeks, had to have my appendix removed because of the infection and was ultimately given vacomyacin as treatment….I would to this day have a fecal transplant without a second thought. After being released I had symptoms and suffered angonizing intestinal issues for years before everything eventually leveled out. But it didnt level out before I had tried everything out there to alleviate my symptoms. It interfered with my work, and my life. Not fun for a person from years 19-21. To this day I am speptical of antibiotic use unless I am on the verge of death, and I feel like that part of my life has impacted my health in ways I will never fully understand. That is why a fecal transplant is still appealing to me…perhaps it could help with the past trauma. It might be gross to some, but Chris you make a stellar point at the end of your post when you mention seriously ill people being willing to look at other angles. Pain and suffering like what comes along with c diff is enough to make you do whatever it takes. Thanks for the awesome posts and continued info Chris!!!!

  50. Staci says

    Wow! I had heard about this but didn’t realize it was this big of a deal! It sure is making waves! I’m so glad so many people are having good results with this. I’ve been sick with stomach issues literally since I was born. I cant’ remember a day in my life where my stomach didn’t hurt. I don’t have a diagnosis at all, which isn’t surprising, since I quit going to doctors after years and years of needle stabbing did nothing but stress me out. This has me wanting to go get a diagnosis so I can possibly join in a test group! I’ve been trying to follow an auto-immune protocol diet, while eating fermented foods and taking probiotic supplements but it’s SO HARD! I keep failing, I feel hopeless.
    Are there any studies out there on fecal transplants and celiacs?! I don’t have a diagnosis of this but I’m almost positive this is what I’m dealing with.

    • devona says

      Hi Staci, So sorry you feel hopeless. It is terrible.
      If you are Celiac, which I am, then I highly recommend that you do not eat any grains whatsoever. I imagine that you’ve done a lot of research and know to never eat gluten: wheat, oats, barley, and rye, but a recent study confirmed that for some Celiacs (like me) corn triggers it too. You likely have a very damaged digestive system if you have been sick for many many years, and then of course have to be more strict until you heal — which will come if you are dedicated. There is so much I couldn’t/can’t tolerate: whey, dairy, eggs, grains, sauerkraut. I eat meat/veges (Weston A Price pastured/organic) and am really healing, normal BMs for the first time in so many years I can’t remember. I also do take a clinical grade probiotic: VSL#3 capsules (not the powder as one of them has cornstarch!) and Vit D3 supplements. As I can tolerate it, I take a little fermented cod liver oil, but I often can’t tolerate it. That plus a glass of homemade kombucha (I use organic decaf black tea) has me healthy. Good luck to you!!!

  51. Joelle says

    I’m a vet, it’s something that’s commonly done in horses to restore the flora after colics and/or antibiotics… just take some stool of a normal horse, dilute it un water and give it through a stomac tube, cheap and easy.

  52. says

    Nice post. I never thought that medical science would “get” the importance of beneficial gut flora but they can’t ignore the avalanche of studies showing just how important they are to health. But as I’m highlighting in my current blog series on gut flora and heart disease, it’s not just about diarrhea and colon disease. The medical community needs to understand what disturbances in our gut flora mean for a whole host of health disorders.

  53. steve says

    i’ve sat in on lectures from one of the pioneers in this field here in Minneapolis. his clinic and lab have devised a way to “purify” the stool from donors into a refrigerated “nugget” that is transplanted during colonoscopies. this eliminates the need to coordinate donations and processing. they’ve moved away from using related donors and now recruit and screen donors that can be used for anyone. the success rates with the refrigerated “processed” stool are equal to fresh donors (for treatment resistant c diff). may be coming to a clinic near you some time soon…

    • Annie says

      Hi Steve — I live in Minneapolis and I have been looking for a functional medicine doctor comparable to Chris Kresser. Do you know of anyone here? Thank you! Annie

  54. Questioner says

    To look at this another way, can you speak to how much people should perhaps be concerned about potential negative effects from this treatment?

    For example, let’s say one spouse has IBS and the other spouse is healthy and a willing donor. Is there any risk of somehow picking up bad or worse bacteria, given a healthy donor?

    (I imagine you can pick up STIs, hepatitis, or somesuch… but that seems irrelevant if the people are already sex partners…)

  55. says

    Chris can you explain as to why the transplant would be better than using hi doses of probiotics?
    This is extremely interesting, however I was just curious about why if it is the healthy flora that is curing the C Diff why they could not just use probiotics? In my opinion as a previous nurse, it’s a shame to me that they do not give probiotics to every patient that is on antibiotics. I am sure soon we will see a prescription for probiotics. It’s a shame that it has taken this long to realize that probiotics are key to many ailments. I have seem my share of death and near death from C-diff….I am happy they are figuring it out.

    • Chris Kresser says

      The highest dose probiotic would not come remotely close to the diversity and quantity of microbiota present in a stool transplant. There are over 1,000 species of bacteria in the gut, and maybe 14-16 species in the most potent combo probiotics.

  56. ReneeAnn says

    Very interesting! I’m glad you are staying on top of this and keeping us informed. I love your blog and podcast. Keep up the great work! :)

  57. CCM says

    We’re in a crazy world: on one end, surrounded by hand sanitizers everywhere we turn (grocery stores, banks, schools,….) , and news of fecal transplants or the miracles of sh*t shakes on the other.

  58. Tracy says

    Are Doctors doing this procedure in the US? Specifically in the California Bay Area? I googled this with no luck.

  59. Loretta says

    I’ve been taking tons of probiotics over the last few years, ones in the refrigerated section at our local health food store – spending $50-$80 monthly. I just recently had a stool profile done with Genova labs to find out that I have no good bacteria in my gut!!! Do you feel Kefir and fermented veggies are the way to go? Not sure a stool transplant would be available for me? Have lots of cyclic diarrhea and it showed no parasites either? Do lower carb paleo to keep Candida at bay? Thoughts please!!

    • grayson says

      Loretta,
      Real food is always the way to go. Chris has a few articles with recent studies showing that re-population on gut bacteria is a long, slow slog. Store-bought probiotics are probably going right thru you (at one point they were giving me *more* diarrhea), so start fermenting some kraut, yogurt, and kombucha! Start with just the kraut juice a la GAPS protocol.

    • says

      Hi Loretta,

      Your experience is all too common. The reason I went with the non-refrigerated process for my probiotics was because there is no possible way to ensure organisms remain viable once in the distribution chain. I explained why in this post http://syontix.com/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-probiotics-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

      I would also strongly recommend a prebiotic to build up populations of bifidobacteria in the colon. I wrote about that here: http://syontix.com/what-are-prebiotics-and-why-you-should-care/

    • Frances says

      That’s really bad news. I also spend a fortune on probiotics as well as have IBS-d.
      I should probably have all of the tests on the IBS page of Genova labs. Which one did you have?
      I am assuming you are not still taking the probiotics from the health food store.

    • Joni says

      Hey Loretta, you should make your own kefir, you can buy the grains for a few dollars on Amazon, and then make it with milk for a life time, the grains just keep reproducing, soon you can sell your own, and help others like you. Just a thought instead of spending all that money on it and other products like it at expensive health food stores.

    • Glenn says

      I recently had a similar test with Nordic Laboratories. They found no growth of Lactobacillus spp. or Enterococcus spp. But being on a dairy and grain free diet I presume the Lactobacillus wouldn’t have anything to feed on?

    • says

      The wonder of fermented dairy and veggies is that they are so easy to do. Sally Fallon’s cookbook Nourishing Traditions has lots of tasty fermented vegetable recipes, it also contains kefir and kombucha recipes. Another great drink is water kefir – especially for the summer. The quantity and the quality of the bacteria available from these traditional means are much better than the supplements. And they aren’t expensive. And they taste delicious!

      Problem is, if you are eating sugars and grains then you are feeding the candida that is creating the gut dysbiosis and diarrhea. That’s where I would suggest you need to start! Cut them out completely and enjoy a paleo diet of real food.

    • Allison says

      Loretta what sort of testing have you had done? Perhaps you have c. difficile overgrowth.

      Probiotics are not a viable option for many people because the bacteria just do not take hold – human bacteria are far superior to probiotics because they are able to latch on.

      There are people who now do DIY fecal transplants because they cannot access the transplant through official channels – there are protocols available to ensure harm minimisation, coming from the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, considered a world leader in this treatment.

    • greg says

      Fermented foods are valuable for the nutrient improvement that fermentation causes;eg,sourdough fermentation of wheat bread makes wheat more digestible,but obviously the bacteria doesn’t survive baking; similarly,the bacteria in yoghurt,fermented veges,etc.,won’t survive stomach acids to augment a colon lacking beneficial bacteria.
      If your colon has had bacteria kill-off from antibiotics,etc.(eg,I had bacteria kill-off from a bowel clean prep,prior to a colonoscopy),then stool transplants may be the only way to resolve the problem.

  60. Debbie says

    Exciting news. Thanks for sharing this article Chris. I ruined my immune system after contracting a rare parasite when I was 23 and now have the gut flora of an obese person. I have IBS-D but would never qualify for help because I am not obese and don’t suffer with the IBS-D as much due to rigid dietary compliance. I do have insulin resistance and test that way even after a year without sugar and starches This help can’t come soon enough. Most people really can’t understand why I can’t have sugar and starches and preach exercise and eating everything in moderation. They think it’s calories in and calories out. It’s not.

    • says

      Absolutely – your gut bacteria and what communities are in the highest concentration.can actually determine WHERE your body holds weight. Calories in/Calories out just doesn’t work for most people. It’s about eating lots of healthy, nourishing food and leaving behind the empty calories that leave you weighed down with depression, heaviness and physical weight.

      • Allison says

        Debbie and Rebecca – which bacteria do you refer to as being linked to metabolism and weight issues? I am very low in bacteroides which I’ve heard may be linked to obesity (at least in rats). Interested to know what the other species are that are known about.
        thanks

        • Debbie says

          I wish I knew more. I have always thought my issue is with Candida. It causes, bloating, food intolerances, and eventually weight gain. But now with all this new research on the gut biome, I think it’s a lot more complicated than that.

    • dan says

      Actually, calories are misunderstood. I took a sports nutrition class that opened my eyes. The typical calories in/out doesn’t work because people don’t understand calories and the body’s requirement. For the body to work optimately it requires 2,000 calories min. You add calories when you are exercising. When you cut calories or don’t eat enough or create too great a deficite in calories from exercie you then gain weight not lose weight. Or end up with a yo yo effect. There is a fine line for the body to work optimately. We have been brain washed for low calorie diets. Most people should be at 2300cal depending on height and muscle mass. Calorie increases with height, muscle mass, and activity level.

      If you have insulin resistance one thing that has been proven to work is anaerobic exercise as well as strength training for the legs.

  61. says

    It certainly speaks to how far away we have gotten as a society from eating proper foods with proper bacteria. The majority of patients and folks I talk to have no Idea that they need to be eating fermented foods to get the probiotic bacteria in their gut, or supplement with them. It is also vital to be eating appropriately. Thanks for the article. It always amazes me how emergency medicine comes about because we simply aren’t living as we should.

    • Frances says

      Although, many years ago I heard a doctor on the radio say to eat sauerkraut for acid reflux nothing was mentioned about the gut flora in that conversation. I have hypothyroidism so can’t eat cabbage on a regular basis, but thanks to the Balanced Bites podcasts, I have recently been made aware of the many other types of fermented foods as well as kombucha.

    • Allison says

      Scott – you are correct, however many people require a transplant because they have contracted c. difficile in hospital having a procedure, not because of their diet.

    • sean omara says

      I read about fecal transplants three years ago and was completely fascinated. When I broached the subject with my physician colleagues they laughed it off like arrogant close-minded school yard bullies. It is so encouraging to see this slowly garnering the serious attention it deserves.

      Like Scott I am also amazed at the both the paucity of people aware of the beneifts to fermented foods and a healthy gastro-intestinal tract. I actually am an Emergency Medicine physician and have come full circle on the approach to medicine to the point that I am seriously conflicted about my role in just treating people when they have a problem rather than adopting a more proactive approach to preventing problems in the first place. I am deeply troubled about the lack of attention, interest and value from my physician colleagues about the need to transition our healthcare system into a more prevention-minded approach begining especialy with nutrition. What a struggle we face.

      • Devona says

        We need MORE doctors (MDs) that think like you do now. Spread the word!! Hopefully MDs will take it seriously coming from one of their own. Sadly though, I have found many MDs lacking in their open-mindedness to even consider the relationship between diet/nutrition and health. Definitely keep it up — shout it out every chance you get! And, thank you for that!!

      • says

        Hello Dr. Sean,
        You are exactly right about the direction of Prevention with Patients you should take. Only Doctors like yourself who become proactive and step out of the old systems can make the difference. I would like to share with you a Physician in Tulsa who is doing just that! Over the course of time, she will change the face of medicine in Tulsa!!!
        Her website is http://www.fmidr.com
        Her office is The Functional Medical Institute.
        Her name is Michele Neil, DO. She is an Internal and Sports Medicine Dr. She is having marvelous success in teaching and lecturing Physicians and patients about Nutrition and health through whole foods, supplementation and integrative exercise. I am in the process of becoming certified to be her Health Educator for her patients, right now and am on the same path…:)
        Lori Lange
        Exercise Physiologist
        Tulsa, OK

      • Kat says

        Hello Sean!!
        I am so excited to read your post! To many Dr’s have no interest in preventive measures as you know. I am so excited about your future. Have you checked out mercola.com? Dr Mercola is a preventive dr with a very informative website. I wish you all the best. Your patients are so lucky to have you and be there for your transition.
        Kat in CO

      • Lori says

        Sean – if we became a prevention minded society where in the world would the money come from? What would the pharmaceutical companies do if they had no drugs to sell for the sick people? Cure cancer – oh my?!? That would never be acceptable for corporate big wigs of these same companies because then how many people would be out of work? It’s all just one HUGE monopoly and a way to keep our population in check. Sounds very cold and conspiracy theory like, but just think about it….how can we send men to the moon but we can’t cure cancer? Really? We are much smarter than that people!

      • says

        Sean, I understsand how you feel regarding the attitudes of your physician colleagues. Wait until you are an FMT practitioner, you will need a tin hat!!

        We at the Taymount Clinic continually face criticism from trained physicians that demonstrate a complete absence of the understanding of fundamental microbiology and are more about their personal dogma and less about researched and trialled science.

        If you want to see the sparks fly, try casually dropping into the conversation at coffee time that you were considering treating a patient with FMT – then duck!

      • says

        Hi Sean.
        If nutrition isn’t your field then I suggest you do what my MD collegues do. Find a reputable nutritional therapist who is experierienced in changing people’s health using therapeutic foods and natural diet plans in the area you work. I don’t try to be a doctor and they don’t try to be a nutritional therapist.

      • steph says

        This is a really thoughtful reply, thank you. As someone researching a cause and cure for dyshidrotic eczema, I am amazed at the lack of information out there that includes looking inside the body, not just to outside triggers.

Join the Conversation

Current ye@r *