Here’s a headline I thought I would never see…
“Your Poop May Hold the Secret to Long Life.”
Not because I don’t believe it—I do. After all, I wrote a book about gut health long before it was popular.
But I am shocked that the mainstream is actually considering this as a possibility.
Let’s take a closer look at the details…
Erase and restore
As we age, our bodies change. And that includes the makeup of our gut microbiome.
Many other factors influence gut health over the years, too—like diet, stress, antibiotics, and more. And these changes often increase disease risk.
That’s because around 80 percent of our immune system’s cells originate in the gut. And the bacteria that reside there play a critical role in mediating your body’s responses to all sorts of threats.
So, scientists wondered if we could ERASE that damage by restoring the balance of our gut from earlier, healthier years.
Well, eventually, people might be encouraged to provide a sample between the ages of 18 and 35. The only criteria would be that you’re free of a chronic condition. (So, you can imagine how crucial timing will be.)
Then, down the road, if you suffer from a condition like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), heart disease, or Type 2 diabetes—or undergo a procedure that wipes out your microbiome, like a course of antibiotics or chemotherapy—treating physicians could use a tailored approach…
They’d use your preserved sample to help restore your gut to a healthier state (rather than a random bottle of probiotics).
Many possibilities on the horizon
Truthfully, this isn’t such a far-fetched idea.
Fecal transplants are NOT new; they’ve been used in complementary medicine for quite a while now. And stool banks already exist.
The only difference is—current stool banks are not reused by the donor. They’re stored to be used on sick patients hoping to recover from an illness.
And while research shows these transplants can be effective for IBDs, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, there’s still a lot to be learned.
Animal studies suggest transplants could help with the ill-effects of obesity, perhaps lengthen longevity, and more. Plus, some clinical trials are studying its effect on cancer.
I envision great potential, with much more to be discovered. And that’s exciting!
Just keep in mind that I’ve been using probiotics and talking about gut health for 30 years… and the mainstream is only now starting to catch up.
I fear we’ll have to wait another generation to come to any conclusion on this newest fecal transplant idea. But, hey—at least the conversation has started.
In the meantime, you can support your gut by taking a high-quality probiotic each day. Look for one that contains multiple, live strains of good bacteria. (Diversity of strains matters over quantity.)
Beyond that, a good probiotic should also have its own food supply (known as prebiotics) and postbiotics (such as bacteriocins) to help to kill off the bad bugs in your gut. I always recommend Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics.
You can also learn more in my book, Boost Your Health with Bacteria.
Until next time,
“Your Poop May Hold the Secret to Long Life.” WebMD, 09/13/2022. (webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20220913/poop-may-hold-secret-long-life)