Could a poo transplant help treat autoimmune conditions?
Dr Robynne Chutkan has revealed the benefits of having a “poo transplant”.
The gastroenterologist is the author of book The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.
While she understands the concept of a faecal microbiota transplant is somewhat stomach turning for many, it has already proved beneficial for sufferers of the intestinal infection Clostridium difficile colitis.
And Dr Chutkan believes it could be a revolutionary new way to treat autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
“Farmers have long known that feeding a sick cow the intestinal contents that have been sucked out of a healthy cow's stomach can successfully treat illnesses in cattle,” Dr Chutkan wrote for the Huffington Post.
“Coprophagia, or eating stool, is common in the animal kingdom: baby elephants, pandas, koalas, and hippos eat the faeces of their mother or other adults in their herd in order to acquire vital gut bacteria required for digestion.
Consumption of fresh camel faeces has been observed among certain tribes, including the Bedouin, as a highly effective treatment for infectious diarrhoea, and in medieval times it was not uncommon for physicians to taste their patient's stool to aid in diagnosis.”
While Dr Chutkan acknowledges there is still a lot of research that needs to be done into the effectiveness of a faecal transplant, she believes it could be a revolutionary new way of treating diseases that scientists have struggled to cure for years.
“We've come a long way - from being disgusted by our own poo to contemplating consuming other people's,” she continued.
“Faecal microbiota transplant represents a fascinating and logical way to tackle severe microbial discord by increasing rather than decreasing our bacterial load.
“There's still a lot we don't know about it but the answers are coming at breakneck speed as clinicians, scientists, and patients embrace and explore the concept of the poo transplant.”