Faecal transplants or Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) is a treatment for bowel disorders linked to problems with the microbial balance in the gut, that is, the health of the biome.
A stool sample is taken from a healthy person and introduced into the bowel of the patient.
Among the benefits are improving insulin sensitivity in diabetics and treating chronic diarrhoea.
The bowel contains a vast range of species of bacteria which vary in the different environments along the length of the intestine, also varying greatly from the lumen in the centre through to the mucous layer along the wall and deep into the crypts between the villi. Deficiencies and imbalances in this diverse and complex population of beneficial microbes are remedied by replacing lost species.
Faecal transplants don’t “hold” well. The bacteria species populating the stool is from the colon at the lower end of the gastro-intestinal tract, it lacks the great diversity needed to maintain a viable population throughout the bowel.
Of course the viability of transplanted bacteria can be supported by adding fermented foods, a wide variety of fibre to the diet plus ample exposure to the natural environment.
Effective natural alternatives
Naturopaths have supported and supplemented the biome for a long time and have a wide range of well researched probiotic supplements.
Prebiotics are bacterial food – various fibre and resistant starch. The biggest factor in microbiome diversity is the range of fibre available to it, as in lots of different vegetables.
Biome top-ups come from the natural environment – animals, plants, soil. A few capsules of the newly available ‘soil-based’ supplements can be added.
Avoid antibiotics if possible.
Sadly, prescriptions for anti-biotics are written with no idea or intention of repairing the damage they are going to cause. Some of the new antibiotics are very dangerous, such as fluoroquinolones.
A faecal transplant is the medical option to remedy havoc wreaked by a course of anti-biotics.
Faecal transplants! Imagine what they’d say on television if a naturopath came up with the idea!