Recovered from chronic disease with stool!
Recovered from chronic disease with stool!
Ending more than 40 years of pain and suffering after just a few FMT treatments at the Taymount Clinic
Written by: Paul E. Wanvig, published in English: 2. April 2019
First published in Medium Magazine (Norway) 02.2015
Western orthodox school medicine is on the brink of a revolution. Healing of chronic and incurable diseases is closer than ever before. The breakthrough is due in part to a 'nontraditional' approach, which uses human feces as a probiotic, a method that has proven to be very effective.
The world is on the verge of an extraordinary medical revolution that will come through the understanding of our human microbiome—our intestinal bacteria.
- Dr. David Topping, Senior Chief Researcher at CSIRO (a public institution for scientific research in Australia with more than 5,000 employees)
Western school medicine is on the brink of a revolution in the understanding and healing of chronic and incurable diseases, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). A somewhat "nontraditional" method using human feces has proven to be a very effective probiotic.
I have visited and received treatment at one of the world's premier clinics that does research on the use of the fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) method. The Taymount Clinic outside of London has performed more than 8000 transplants, which is probably the highest number completed by any clinic or hospital worldwide.
As part of my visit to the clinic, I conducted a video interview with the research director and founder Dr. Glenn Taylor, PhD. You may find this interview below (coming soon).
(Statement: I have no financial benefits from the Taymount Clinic. I paid the full price for my treatment. My enthusiasm for the clinic comes from the results, how they took care of me as a patient, and their groundbreaking method for quality, which assures donors about the production of the implants.)
Interview with Dr. Glenn Taylor, PhD.
I recommend watching the video interview I did during my stay at the Taymount Clinic with Dr. Glenn Taylor, PhD, one of the world's leading FMT authorities, responsible for more than 8,000 FMT treatments so far.
Interview with full transcription (coming soon)
Topic: Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)
Here are some highlights of the interview:
- What is the difference between FMT and probiotics?
- Why did taking thousands of probiotics for years not work?
- His philosophy and background
- Security, production, and selection of donors
- How I inherited a part of my digestive problem from my mother
- The consequences of antibiotics
- The danger of using "kitchen mixer" solutions and other do-it-yourself methods
- Why problems with the digestive system have become a public disease
- Why proper food is essential for the health and survival of bacteria
- FMT in the future
A true miracle
Over 40 years of suffering is finally over! In this article, I share my experience of a fascinating method, called fecal microbiota transplant, in which feces are transplanted from a healthy donor to a sick client.
Since I was a child, I have struggled daily with a bloated and painful stomach, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, burping, gassing, and lack of vitality. The commonly diagnosis commonly used for such related problems is called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
As a young and active boy, this was a big problem. My state of health was unstable. This was often a problem at school, when exercising and in sports competitions. One day, I would be in top shape, the next I wouldn’t be able to run due to a stomach ache. Medical tests showed that there were no physical problems, so it was concluded that the cause was emotional, and I was using the discomfort as an excuse not to do sports.
This problem persisted during my upbringing and through my active sports career. Later as an adult, I have had bouts of brain fog, poor concentration, and fatigue. These would come and go without any discernible pattern.
Close to giving up
In July 2015, I was in a hospital for three days to undergo tests on my digestive system. I was treated by an expert of internal medicine in Germany. By that point, I was desperate. The first half of that year was an emotional nightmare after Maria and I lost our son, and physiologically I had brain fog and all kinds of digestive problems. I mustered as much strength as I was able to generate to be able to continue my job as a teacher and coach. With intensive pain and limited ability to think and focus clearly, I forced myself to complete my planned seminars and counseling appointments during the first six months of the year.
When summer vacation started, I was a shadow of myself. I was close to collapse again not only physically but also emotionally. Throughout the 12 years after the burnout that had almost killed me in 2003, I had tried everything to cure my chronic digestive problems. Even though I became better for short periods, there was nothing that yielded lasting results. Several hundred thousand dollars were spent on therapies, medications, and supplements that had given minimal results.
“There’s nothing pathologically wrong with you."
The chief physician and his team spent three days on colonoscopy, gastroscopy, biopsy, capsular endoscopy (where a camera capsule is inserted into the body to film the small intestines), ultrasound tests, organ tests, hormone studies, and dozens of blood tests.
"Everything is alright, and there is nothing pathologically wrong with you, Mr. Wanvig," was what the doctor said.
"We did not even find a polyp in your intestine." The chief physician suggested antidepressants and recommended that I seek a psychologist. I was obviously relieved that there was no colon cancer or the like, but the message was also a setback, since they did not find the cause of my disorder.
The emotional shock and stress of losing our child had an effect on my stomach, bowel, and digestion, but I was 100 percent sure that this was not the cause, because I had the same digestive problems regardless of whether I was happy, tired, stressed, or depressed!
But in times of need, even the devil eats flies. I was a hairline away from accepting the suggestion of the physician, even though I knew this was not the solution. I was ready to give up. The spark was about to extinguish, and darkness came over me. Where can I find a solution when I have tried everything?
The lifesaving angel
In the darkest of times, light often comes from unexpected places. This time it came from a book I accidentally downloaded during the hospital stay: Brain Maker, by Dr. David Perlmutter. In this book, which I highly recommend, Dr. Perlmutter describes the relationship between the condition of the intestine flora (microbiota) and the state of the brain. He described all of my symptoms in detail, the reason for them, and a treatment that I knew little about before—fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).
In his book, he wrote about impressive results with many of his patients that had similar symptoms to mine, and he recommended an FMT clinic in Europe where he sends his patients.
My hope was lit again; the Taymount Clinic in Hitchin was just outside of London, UK, where a treatment performed by Dr. Glenn Taylor and his team would put an end to more than 40 years of pain and suffering after just a few treatments.
Fecal microbiota transplantation
"Fecal" is another word for poop, and I shook my nose as I dived into the science of this surprising but extraordinarily exciting part of our biology. The intestinal microbiome refers to the total population of bacteria in the intestines, consisting of more than 1,000 different bacterial species and over 100 trillion bacteria. This means that you have 1,000 times more bacteria in the intestine than cells in your body (the human body consists of approximately 100 billion cells).
With fecal microbiota transplantation, the microbiomes are transplanted from a healthy donor to the patient using a rectal catheter, colonoscopies, or a probe through the nose to your small intestine.
Food residues, surface tissue, bilirubin (yellow waste), hormones, and toxins are filtered away from the stool of the donor, so that mainly the intestinal bacteria are transferred to the patient. This process is complicated and sensitive, since 99 percent of the bacteria are anaerobic (they do not need oxygen to grow and multiply) and 90 percent of them die as soon as they come into contact with oxygen.
A medical revolution
Research shows that billions of intestinal bacteria affect the state of the immune system, the heart, the brain, the metabolism, and the rest of the body. Your microbiome helps determine if you develop allergies, get diabetes, become overweight, or get asthma. Recent research also shows that intestinal bacteria affects depression, anxiety, autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS, CFS, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The book, Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ, by the German physician and researcher Giulia Enders, has helped to popularize the knowledge of the health of the intestine. Her book is the most sold nonfiction book in Germany ever.
Dr. Perlmutter describes in the book Brain Maker how the intestinal flora and intestinal bacteria affect us, especially our brain functions. I highly recommend these books, and they also provide many references to relevant medical research done in this area.
FMT at the Taymount Clinic
The Taymount Clinic (taymount.com) outside London in England is a private, world-leading clinic in research and use of FMT (fecal microbiota transplantation). The clinic was founded in 2003 by Dr. Glenn Taylor and his wife, Dr. Enid Taylor, and is internationally recognized as a specialist center for the testing and production of certified intestinal bacteria (microbiota), implantation techniques and treatment of, for example, C. difficile (Clostridium difficile), a painful infectious disease in the large intestine that can be fatal. As of today, the clinic has 100 percent remission rate with FMT treatment for this serious disease.
The philosophy behind the treatment
FMT treatments normalize the intestinal flora in patients with a number of chronic diseases that originate from adverse bowel flora (dysbiosis). Although they do not market FMT for the treatment of certain diseases due to the legislation in England, they have helped patients with Clostridium difficile and a number of other inflammatory bowel diseases and imbalances created after the use of antibiotics.
The goal is to replace the intestinal flora of an ill patient with intestinal flora from a healthy donor, so that the cause of the disease is cured.
Deciding on a treatment
After Dr. Perlmutter's Brain Maker put me on track toward FMT, I spent several days searching for and reading relevant information and testimonials about the method. Here are the six main categories of information I found:
- The authorities are often restrictive of accepting FMT treatment, since there is little published research. In Norway, the legislation is not clarified, but some hospitals offer the method for the treatment of severe Clostridium difficile infections. England and Germany have more flexible legislation.
- Physicians and some researchers warn against the use of the method due to the risk of disease transmission and that the treatment may not show results. In other words, antibiotics and allopathic drugs should be used as medicine, not feces.
- A number of physicians praise FMT as an extraordinary medical revolution, based on their research findings.
- Physicians, clinics and hospitals that offer FMT have comprehensive control and screening processes of the donors to prevent disease transmission, as well as a production process where only pure and healthy intestinal flora from the donor is transferred to the patient.
- There are physicians, clinics, and hospitals offering fecal transplant where they transplant the complete feces from a donor, who often is a family member, without filtering, not taking into account that the intestinal bacteria is exposed to oxygen and without quality control (the stool is mixed with saline or milk in a kitchen mixer and put into the client from behind using a tube). *Later we will revisit why many warn against this kind of procedure and find this method irresponsible.
- "Do-it-yourself home solutions" involve methods for transplanting stools from a friend or family member to yourself using an enema and a kitchen mixer. *We will discuss more later about why this is playing Russian roulette with your and others’ health.
Two things were most important to me when I was looking for a clinic for my FMT treatment: patient results and safety. We all know how easy it is to get infected through saliva and blood, and it is as easy to get infected when living tissues, body fluids, and bacteria are transferred from a sick donor to a patient.
Security in choosing donors
For me it was important that the donors had gone through a comprehensive screening process to rule out the presence of any disease that could be transmitted to me. In addition, it was obvious to me that the donor lived a healthy life, did not smoke or drink alcohol, ate healthy organic food, was slim, and had an active and healthy lifestyle.
The only clinic I found that met such requirements was the Taymount Clinic. They have a comprehensive protocol and full-time employees who are responsible for selecting and screening donors, which, briefly, consists of the following steps:
- A selected donor must be healthy in body and mind, free of mental illness, slim and strong, must not have used antibiotics in recent times, and must be nutritionally conscious with a varied ecological diet to optimize the health and diversity of their intestinal flora. Smokers and those who enjoy alcohol or other drugs are not used as donors.
- Those who pass this needle-eye screening process must also pass a comprehensive blood and stool test that is designed to reveal any diseases.
- When the donor passes these tests, the feces are harvested through a specially developed method in which the donor delivers the stool in a deoxygenated saline solution, which is immediately treated with nitrogen to sustain the anaerobic bacteria that would otherwise have died when subjected to oxygen.
- Then the feces are centrifuged, and all waste products are separated. Once this is done, all that remains is the donor's clean microbiome.
- Then, a special and safe anti-freeze protection fluid is supplied to the microbiome, which is stored in a medical ultra-deep freezer at a temperature of -86 degrees Celsius (-123 degrees Fahrenheit) to preserve the quality of the microbiome.
- The deep-frozen microbiome is quarantined for a minimum of three months and is not released until the donor has been re-examined with a comprehensive blood and stool test. This ensures that pathogens and diseases that are not possible to detect at an early stage are completed before the microbiome is used. Only when the second test is free from disease, is the microbiome released for use in patients.
This was exactly what I was looking for. I found no other clinic that was close to such quality assurance of the microbiome transplants used on patients.
Today, the Taymount Clinic delivers certified microbiome transplants from its donor bank to clinics and hospitals worldwide. They also have partner clinics in the Bahamas, Canada and Slovakia.
An easy choice
Based on the information I collected, it was easy to choose Taymount Clinic. I booked a free initial consultation with them on their website, so they could find out if I was a suitable patient they could receive.
I ordered the treatment package for 10 FMT treatments, three of which were performed at their clinic outside of London. The remaining seven could be done at home with the help of my wife, since I did not have the opportunity to stay in London for ten days. Usually, an FTM treatment is done daily for ten days, but this may vary from patient to patient depending on their condition and need. I paid about £4000 (in 2015) for the treatment. Additional costs included the flight and then an apartment that we rented through Airbnb.
After paying a deposit of £1000, the clinic's professional team followed up and went through what I had to prepare for before the first treatment. They also informed me of any side effects that could occur during the treatment, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, or feeling unwell. They explained that they could not guarantee any result. Some got results after a few days, while others could take up to two years of treatment before the new intestinal flora helped, and yet others had no results at all. After the patient agreement containing these items was signed and submitted, I was ready for my first treatment.
As part of the treatment package, the first day started with a colon hydrotherapy treatment, in which hot water is injected into the rectum to empty all the contents of the large intestine. Contrary to my previous experience with colon hydrotherapy, this was a pleasant treatment done by two highly skilled therapists.
The day after, I received my first FMT treatment. This is a simple and painless procedure that takes less than an hour. First, a thin catheter is inserted into the large intestine rectally, and the fluid containing the donor's microbiome is injected. Then, I received a comfortable massage to distribute the new microbiome throughout the colon, during which I had to sit and lie in several different positions as this was happening.
The Taymount Clinic has perfected this FMT delivery method for optimal results. They have found that this method is more effective and comfortable for the patient than delivering the microbiome via enema, gastroscopic probe, or nasal probe, in which you get a tube through your nose down to the small intestine. The latter method can cause you to throw up feces or, at worst, get feces in the lungs.
After the treatment, I was told to rest calmly until the next treatment the following day. I was exhausted in the evening and slept like a rock.
Second day of treatment
In the morning I felt something was happening in my intestines. It was a lot of activity, and I felt sensible both physically and emotionally.
Since I had only three days of treatment at the clinic, they started teaching my wife Maria so she could carry out the last seven treatments at home. At first, she shrugged her shoulders, which I understood very well, as this is not an uncommon practice in a loving relationship. "What would I NOT do to help you recover?" was her comment.
The treatment was done completely without discomfort, and afterward we went sightseeing in the city. My energy level was increasing, and I felt more balanced.
The miracle starts
I woke up early in the morning on the third day and prepared for my usual uncontrolled blowout in the toilet bowl. "This is amazing!" I shouted to my half-sleeping wife. "My stomach is flat!" I was so excited. "My stomach is flat! My stomach is flat!" I repeated over and over, as I couldn’t believe what I saw and felt. Maria opened her eyes and confirmed for me that my bowel was not inflated, but she couldn’t fully understand the fuss so early in the morning.
To me, this was the start of the biggest medical miracle I had ever experienced with my own health until then—and the end of more than 40 years of suffering! I had been used to waking up with a painful and cramped, bloated stomach that looked like a fully blown balloon, which forced me to creep to the toilet each morning.
Next surprise came on the toilet. I expected the same explosive routine as always, but for the first time, I felt that things were going normally. Incredible; the treatments worked! I was ecstatic when we arrived at the clinic that morning. “This is incredible! This is amazing!" was the mantra I sang to everyone. The healthy smile of the clinic therapists revealed that this reaction is not unfamiliar to them.
For the next seven days, my dear wife performed the FMT treatment for me at home. I became better and better each day. No gassing, no bloating, no pain, no cramps, and no brain fog. My energy level increased gradually, and at the time of writing (Spring 2016), it has been 9 months since I completed my 10 FMT treatments—and I'm still feeling great!
Every painless day is a miracle, and it's not possible to express my gratitude to Dr. Perlmutter, who put me on track with his book Brain Maker, Dr. Glenn Taylor and his team at the Taymount Clinic that made it possible for me, and my patient wife who is always there for me.
Can I do the FMT treatment at home?
FMT must not be confused with fecal transplant (FT) for which the unfiltered feces are mixed with an isotonic saline solution, milk, or the like in a kitchen mixer and then transplanted to the client anally with a catheter. This procedure is often found on the internet and in self-help books and can be directly harmful to health, the recipient can receive diseases from the donor when the transplanted stool is unfiltered and untested.
Unfortunately, FT is used in some medical clinics and hospitals, sometimes with a broad spectrum of antibiotics to counteract potential diseases spreading. I would never have exposed myself or my loved ones to such an irresponsible treatment that could result in the transmission of serious illness. In addition, 90 percent of the intestinal bacteria die when they are exposed to oxygen in the kitchen mixer.
The Taymount Clinic offers a solution for those who do not have the opportunity to stay in the clinic for ten days. The prerequisite is that you visit the clinic and get at least five treatments (three in my case) and training on how to do this with a partner at home. They do not accept orders of transplants, instructions, or equipment beyond this.
Is this a miracle cure for everything?
No! FMT is a method of recovering a diseased intestinal flora using a donor's intestinal flora. An unbalanced intestinal flora can be contributory cause to multiple diseases. There are many individual factors at play, and Dr. Taylor told me that getting such a comprehensive result as fast as mine is not usual. It may take up to two years with regular treatments before the new intestinal bacteria get a permanent foothold, and some patients notice no improvement at all.
I recommend that you carefully study this treatment and discuss it with your physician before making a decision.
What do you have to do yourself?
To achieve satisfactory and long-term results with FMT treatment, it is recommended to switch to a bowel- and bacteria-friendly diet and to reduce the intake of all foods that can cause intestinal inflammation.
This means you should practice the following:
- Gluten-free/restricted diet
- Diet free from cow milk products (especially A1 beta-casein)
- Minimal intake of ready-made and junk food
- Minimal intake of sugar and glucose
- Consume some protein from meat and fish, since some important bacterial strains need animal protein to survive
- A varied selection of vegetables
- Increased intake of organic, good oils, like ghee and coconut oil
The books Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ by Dr. Giulia Enders and Brain Maker by Dr. Perlmutter, you will find many tips and advice on food for optimal bowel health. My favorite diet, which is fundamental to my nutrition and gives excellent results, is described in The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life by Dave Asprey.
After Christmas 2015, I was shocked by the negative effects sweets, sugar, and unhealthy carbohydrates had on my intestinal flora. After being completely pain- and symptom-free for three months, I thought that now everything was fine and I deserved to celebrate a little with chocolate and marzipan. Two weeks of "celebration" led to my bowel exploding like a balloon AGAIN, and I was back where I started. It took almost four weeks to recover, and it shocked me how much sweets and high blood sugar levels affect intestinal bacteria. I was lucky that the treatment had not been wasted, as the intestinal bacteria recovered after a few weeks with optimal nutrition.
This is also part of the background for why I recommend that my clients and students wait until they have changed their diet as described here before FMT treatment. Believing that such treatment will work like a magic pill without first turning to a healthier diet and lifestyle can quickly become an expensive experience. If you are willing to pay that much money, it's a good idea to secure your investment with your own efforts.
Experience shows that most of my clients and students who suffer from digestive problems and related side effects become much better when they quit gluten and cow milk dairy products 100 percent, in addition to maintaining a stable blood sugar level, which means no sweets, sodas, soft drinks, and junk food. It seems that as long as the intestinal flora is not completely in imbalance like mine, much can be done to restore balance by giving bacteria the right food and taking care of them with a healthy lifestyle.
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Paul E. Wanvig is a Neoteric Shaman, entrepreneur, journalist, author, speaker, bio-hacker, spiritual teacher & encouraging optimist dedicated to helping you and your family live a Fulfilled Life and ending the stress and burnout epidemic by Utilizing the Best of Modern and Ancient Scientific Practices, Medicine and Technology.
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