Canadian researchers have discovered that using stool bacteria in capsules can treat patients suffering from Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infections, a method significantly less invasive than faecal transplants. C.diff is an infection that mainly affects the elderly, and causes severe digestive problems such as cramping, diarrhoea and nausea. It affects up to half a million Americans each year, of which around 14,000 cases will be fatal.

bacteria
C.diff bacteria can be helped by 'poop' pills

Recent studies have demonstrated that faecal implants from healthy donors can restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, but it involves expensive and invasive procedures and results have been variable. Read more about faecal transplants here.

The less invasive and seemingly more effective method of using stool bacteria in a capsule was devised by Dr Thomas Louie, a specialist in infectious disease at the University of Calgary. The procedure involves extracting bacteria from a health donor, usually a relative, which is then cleaned in a laboratory and packed into triple-gel coated capsules. This ensures that the capsules will not dissolve until they reach the intestines. Dr Louie clarifies that “There’s no stool left – just stool bugs. These people are not eating poop”. This particular study was carried out on 27 patients and cured all 27 of them, despite strong antibiotics not being able to help.

The patients are firstly given antibiotics to kill the C.diff, followed by an enema so the bacteria are introduced to a ‘clean’ environment. The bacteria are contained in as many as 24-34 capsules, which the patients swallow and the pills then colonise the colon with a variety of bacteria.

The work of creating stool bacteria capsules has been praised by Dr Curtis Donskey of the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, who has carried out faecal transplants through colonoscopies. Doctors are now testing ways in which to store the bacteria without killing it, such as freezing to enable it to be stored and shipped to anywhere that a patient required it.

These studies have shown the potential for stool bacteria pills to support those with severely imbalanced gut flora, such as those resistant to antibiotics. Dr Donskey summarised the exciting research by saying, “This approach, to me, has wide application in medicine. So it’s not just about C.diff.”

You can read our previous blogpost about faecal transplants here.

Reference: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2442891/Poop-pills-feces-healthy-people-guts-patients-infections.html

Image source: www.darthperkins.wordpress.com

www.news.com.au

Comments

  • Can these capsules be bought now. Are they available to the public? Thank you

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Dear J Honeysett

    Thank you for your comment. We do not have these capsules in the OptiBac Probiotics range – and if they become available to the public it would most likely be through a hospital or university, as bespoke capsules taken from family donors are required for each individual. The concept is not a million miles off our daily products – <a href="/shop/for-every-day">For every day</a> and <a href="/shop/for-every-day-extra-strength">For every day EXTRA Strength</a>, because they contain a variety of different types of friendly bacteria which have been shown to survive stomach acid when taken with a meal, and to colonise in the gut to give beneficial effects. They also contain strains which originate from the human gut. However to address C. difficle we recommend a specific probiotic called <a href="/shop/saccharomyces-boulardii">Saccharomyces boulardii</a>, which has been shown clinically to help remove C. difficile and other pathogens from the gut. For more information on this see our blog post <a href="/live-cultures/articles/probiotics-and-clostridium-difficile">here</a>. I hope this helps to answer your question.

    Wishing you the best of health, Megan

  • Dear J Honeysett,

    Thank you for your comment. We do not have these capsules in the OptiBac Probiotics range – and if they become available to the public it would most likely be through a hospital or university, as bespoke capsules taken from family donors are required for each individual. The concept is not a million miles off our daily products – For every day and For every day EXTRA Strength, because they contain a variety of different types of friendly bacteria which have been shown to survive stomach acid when taken with a meal, and to colonise in the gut to give beneficial effects. They also contain strains which originate from the human gut. However to address C. difficle we recommend a specific probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii, which has been shown clinically to help remove C. difficile and other pathogens from the gut. For more information on this see our blog post here. I hope this helps to answer your question.

    Wishing you the best of health, Megan

  • Thank you for this valuable information and your phenomenal research. Back in November 2014 the capsules were still not available to the public, as you mentioned. Do you know if they now are? and where they may be purchased?

  • Are the capsules mentioned in that research available to the public yet?

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Dear Robert,

    Thank you for your question.
    I can certainly advise you that OptiBac Probiotics does not yet offer this type of supplement!

    I believe that faecal capsules are now commercially available, however, though I would not be able to recommend a particular brand.

    Best wishes,

    Kerry

  • I have a foster child, who is 16 years old, and weighs 104 kg! She can hardly walk. She eats what her family eats, and yet when she eats, she gains wight, when they don't. I am desperately trying to find an answer. Could these capsules possibly help? We live in South Africa. How would I get them?

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Hello Marguerite,

    Thank you for your comments.
    This is fascinating stuff isn't it? However, I would doubt that the capsules will become commercially available until more research has been done.

    If you are concerned about the health of your foster child in the meantime, I'd first ensure that any underlying medical conditions that might lead to unexplained weight gain are ruled out by your doctor. Then, you might find it helpful to get the advice of a nutrition professional who can look into her history in detail, and recommend a diet and supplement protocol that might be helpful.

    I'd recommend finding a therapist via a professional body - try http://www.nutritionist.co.za/about

    You might also be interested to take a look at our FAQ: Can probiotics help with weight loss?
    https://www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk/faq/can-probiotics-help-weight-loss

    I hope that this is helpful, and thanks again for taking the time to leave your comments.

    Kerry,

    Nutritional Advisor



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