FMT stands for fecal microbiota transplant and it's a hot topic in the health world right now. While different clinics have different methods, the idea remains the same: take fecal microorganisms from a healthy person and implant them into a sick person. For those suffering from chronic Clostridium Difficile (C. diff.) infection, FMT is life-saver, in many cases offering almost immediate recovery from a potentially deadly overgrowth.
It turns out that gut health is critically important to a whole bunch of the diseases of civilization and many--if not all--of these diseases involve some dysfunction of the immune system. (I'm looking at you, colitis, Crohn's, celiac, heart disease, thyroid conditions, cancer, MS...) Because most of our immune system resides in our guts, FMT has shown promise for treating many of these conditions and is being actively studied in the US and abroad.
As someone who has lived with ulcerative colitis for many years, I realize the importance of food on my health. Why is The Specific Carbohydrate Diet so effective for those with active inflammatory bowel disease? Because it modifies the microbes that live in the gut. Why do antibiotics often trigger C. diff. infections? Because they dramatically skew the microbial balance in a patient's gut.
...of disease management. I learned a ton over the past several years: I got off of my prescription medication, I returned to my old fighting weight, I got much of my energy back, I figured out how to enjoy my food again.
But health is more than the absence of symptoms. The type of health I want isn't the kind where I worry less about where the bathroom is. I want to be fully present and engaged with the people around me. I'm more than willing to live a pizza-less life but I am not willing to settle for less disease.
If you follow health trends, you may have heard about sequencing the human gut microbiome. The microbiome is the community of bacteria, yeasts, viruses and more that live inside of us. It turns out most of our immune system lives in our colon in the form of microorganisms and my organisms are out of whack.
Just as only weeding my garden won't grow me a melon (I have to actually plant melon seeds), diligently weeding my microbiome won't grow me the health I deserve. I must plant the seeds first.
The Taymount Clinic, Hitchin, UK
So, why am I heading to England? I don't want to wait for a new trial to open up in my neck of the woods. Thanks to the diligent oversight of the FDA, human feces is categorized as an experimental drug and I'm not cool with a black market therapy. The Taymount Clinic seems to present the lowest risk and the highest chance of success. During my initial consultation, I was duly impressed with the clinic founder, Mr. Glenn Taylor. He is a microbiologist, researcher and super-knowledgeable guy when it comes to human gut health. I'm looking for a solution, not a crapshoot (couldn't help myself), and I'm all in. Stay tuned for updates!
So, here I am: bags packed, oyster card in hand, ready to ship off to the airport. I could never quantify how much my experience with ulcerative colitis changed me so I don't think I will even try.
I am optimistic about this next step in my journey. Maybe I will come home a new man, maybe just a man with fewer food sensitivities. In either case, this is something I need to try. Thank you to everyone supporting me on my journey.
With Love and Gratitude,
I'm Ethan, a guy whose life used to be controlled by ulcerative colitis. As I systematically tested diets, treatments, and all types of health advice to heal my colon, I learned a lot about my own biology and also how to cook without compromise. I'm here to share the best (and sometimes worst) of that journey with you.