Transplanting Good Bacteria to Fight Disease?

So a group of researchers have studied the effects of Fecal Transplants, or Transplanting Good Bacteria to Fight Disease!

The team had initially planned to recruit 120 patients in total, but the trial was stopped early because the difference between the groups was so dramatic. They found that faecal transplants were three to four times more likely to cure the infections than the antibiotic. The infusions cured 15 out of 16 patients (94%), whereas vancomycin did the same for just 7 out of 26 patients (27%). The rest relapsed, but were subsequently treated with faecal transplants and cured after one or two infusions.

The patients’ gut bacteria became more diverse after the faecal infusions, and they did not show any adverse side effects, except for some temporary diarrhoea and occasional constipation.

The term Fecal Transplant is a horrible term to market! :)I had first heard of this procedure at a conference a few months ago and was amazed at what I was hearing. Problems like IBS, Crohns disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and C. difficile all treated by some form of this method with success. Now this study comes out in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It is well known that some common antibiotics will cause the bacteria C. difficile to cause a super infection and sometimes death. C. difficile is normal flora in the gut, in some when antibiotics are taken enough good bacteria are eliminated to allow the bad bacteria to over populate causing a nasty infection. In this study 94% with C. difficile infection were cured by a fecal transplant to only 27% with more antibiotics.

While i’m excited about the prospects of this research, I won’t be the first in line to sign up for one. I’m not too excited about the prospects of having a fecal transplant.

The evidence is growing that health is a balance of good bacteria vs the bad bacteria. Balance is better than a hammer on the bad bugs.

Are antibiotics necessary? Absolutely!

Are they used way too much? For sure!

Antibiotics can mess up the balance of good vs bad bacteria.

Since I first heard of these transplants I’ve been thinking about balance. We’ve known for a long time that our cells need a good balance of essential nutrients to do their thing. Do our  bacteria also need a balance of nutrients? How do we maintain the healthy balance of good vs bad bacteria? Do the good bacteria need nutritional supplements as well?

I don’t really know the answer to maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria. But it appears that by providing a new collection of good bacteria to the system can change the flora and help.

There are lots of pieces to this phenomenon and I hope the researchers keep working to find better ways to combat the problems these debilitating diseases. As a dentist, it will be interesting to see how this research leads to further developments in gum disease therapy. What will the role of pre and probiotics play in the treatment of gum disease?

A few things I’ve decided to do is incorporate Fermented Foods along with a broad selection of probiotics into my daily regimen. I’ve tried to include 1/4 cup of either Kraut, KimChee, and non-dairy Kefir to my daily routine. The idea is to rotate fermented foods so that i’m feeding different kinds of good bacteria regularly. Along with my nutritional supplement regimen.

So, do you use probiotics? Fermented foods?

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