Poop to the rescue

PoopToTheRescueResearchers are in the process of developing new medications based on human feces.

But not just any old feces will do; it must be a particular type of poop.

It’s like this: According to a Time report on new health discoveries, Clostridium difficile infections are among the most difficult and frequent bacterial bugs to treat in hospitals, affecting about half a million Americans a year and causing 14,000 deaths. Since common antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, they may do more harm than good as more beneficial bacteria are needed to counteract the bad ones causing the illness.

So scientists have found an answer in the people who are much better at fighting off C. difficile than others–thanks to the good bacteria that live in their gut. And for  severe cases of the infection, which can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, doctors have been performing fecal transplants; giving sick patients some of the good bacterial microbiome, as it’s called, from healthy folks who are able to fend off the bug.

Researchers are now developing improved pills that concentrate the good bacteria from feces, minus the digested food and other contaminents, into gel capsules that patients can swallow more easily. Time notes that since bacterial cells outnumber human ones by 10 to 1, “We may not be far from the day when treatments are focused on boosting populations of good bacteria rather than wiping them out (as antibiotics do).

But we can  start boosting our beneficial bacteria ourselves– by eating nutritious whole food and staying away from the processed junk and fast food that cripples our body’s ability to heal itself!

As Hippocrates advised thousands of years ago, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

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