Poop is embarrassing. No one likes to talk about it, no one ever wants to admit to doing it, and many people would rather die than go number two anywhere but their own house (where they’re either alone or among a small group of trusted confidantes). But poop is also life-saving. And that’s exactly why you’ve just read the word poop three times in this paragraph. Poop is sacred (there goes four) and important, and with more and more fecal transplants taking place, scientists are more eager than ever to get all up in your sh*t.
If you’re not familiar with the fecal transplant, let’s catch you up. First of all, it’s exactly what it sounds like — a donor’s poop strained and mixed with saline and then lovingly inserted into the host’s body via a variety of medical means. Sound gross? Absolutely! But is it helpful? Yes! It’s been shown to be beneficial for people affected by C.diff infection as well as Crohn’s and even Parkinson’s. But here’s the issue: we know your poop is a capable healer; we don’t know exactly what in your poop is turning entire organisms around. And that’s why a new piece of research is so incredibly important.
Elite Daily reports that the study, which took place at Vanderbilt University, endeavored to discover what’s up when it comes to the contents of human fecal matter and found some very interesting information:
Apparently, there’s a lot going on in your poop: The research revealed that a single gram of healthy stool contains 100 billion bacteria and about 100 million viruses and archaea.
But that’s not all. Feces also contains about 10 million colonocytes, which are human epithelial cells that protect the colon, along with a million yeast and other unicellular fungi.
Amazing! Just this morning I was hemming and hawing over how broke I was because I couldn’t afford a two million dollar dinner. “Man, I wish I had a million of something,” I thought! And then this study comes along to brighten all our days. Do you have 100 million dollars? Maybe not! But you’ve got 100 million viruses and 100 billion bacteria just chilling in your colon and that should make you feel pretty rich. Poop rich.
Seriously, though: The sheer amounts of stuff in your poop will amaze you, and it’s making scientists realize that their work is just beginning. And with C.diff killing over 29,000 people during a U.S. outbreak in 2011, finding out how to make fecal transplants both more effective (and less weird to discuss) is an important area of research.
“When scientists identify the specific cocktails that produce the positive outcomes, then they can synthesise or grow them and put them in a pill,” says [Seth] Bordenstein. “That will go a long way to reducing the ‘icky factor’ that could slow public acceptance of this new form of treatment.”
Just, you know, don’t bring this up at dinner or anything.