Okay, I could have possibly said “fecal transplants” are the future of mental health care. But poop is just so much more catchy, SEO & mind friendly … Anywho, I haven’t lost my mind. But the sad fact is that many individuals are suffering with mental illness these days ~ more so than ever.
And here’s the thing: Gut health is now being acknowledged (even by the traditional medical community) for it’s MASSIVE impact on mental health. Here’s an interesting TED Talk by Elaine Hsiao on “Mind-Altering Microbes”:
And here’s the other thing: Fecal transplants can be far more effective at reinoculating the gut with healthy microbes than probiotics or dietary/lifestyle changes. Obviously you wouldn’t want to get a fecal transplant, throw away your probiotics and reach for a bag of dorritos. But what the fecal transplant does is quickly take care of bacteria business… It gives an unhealthy gut a quick, fresh start. Here’s a video on the process:
Clostridium difficile infection (“c. diff”) is the main disease that fecal transplants appear to be addressing at the moment along with crohn’s and other gastrointestinal disorders (IBD, IBS). But is it too far-fetched to assume that one day (maybe very soon) fecal transplants could be used as a critical aid in the treatment of mental heath issues like schizophrenia, OCD or severe depression/bipolar disease ? Definitely not.
As Dr. Charles Raison discusses here in this article, a 2011 discovery on mice revealed that transferring (sharing) gut bacteria does change mental/emotional health status in the donor:
Raison says: “The opposite occurs when gut bacteria from calm strains are transplanted into juvenile mice from highly anxious strains: the formerly anxious mice become calm and confident. Thus, in a very real way who the mice are depends not on the mice themselves as we commonly think of them (or their genes), but rather, and to a large degree, on the composition of their bacteria…”
SIDENOTE: For anyone familiar with autism and the Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS diet), the above information doesn’t seem too striking or odd… Gut bacteria has become a huge player in battle against autism. But fecal transplants for autism? Apparently so according to this mom…
Don’t disregard poop. It’s clearly a part of life. And maybe it’s more essential to life than we thought (at least in a medical setting)… I just would have never thought that the idea of “sharing is caring” would apply to that particular body process. Would you?
PS: ↓Bill Murray on his career. What could that possibly have to do with this article? “It’s no big deal!”
FURTHER READING FOR YOUR DOODIE PLEASURE