Evidence for the major role that gut flora has in maintaining CFS/FM/IBS and other autoimmune diseases comes from documented remissions from fecal transplants. This was reported in 2001 by Richard Schloeffel, MD in Australia [Read Report], It was also reported recently in the New Scientist journal in 2010 [Read Report].

I have corresponded with a patient in Australia who has had two transplants. In both transplants, remission of all symptoms lasted about six months and then a relapse happened. After the last relapsed, extensive pathogen testings was done and a member of the Rickettsia family was found.  I believe the continuing RNA fragments and other chemicals from the Rickettsia infection allowed the symptom-causing microflora to get re-established.

Gut Flora appears to be (partially) genetic

Researching fecal transplants, I found that transplants from blood relatives are needed. Unrelated transplants have a poor success rate. As I mentioned in an earlier post, most humans have about 150 out of 1000 possible bacteria in their gut. From lectures on virus and bacteria mutations that I have attended, I can go further and state that it is not just sub-species that are unique; but individuals will likely have different DNA in these subspecies. A flu virus DNA may mutate 6 times in a year. A person’s gut flora will likely also mutate. The mutation that survive will be those that other microfloras permit to exist.

Implication for Treatment

I wish I could say, just find a healthy family member (by blood) and head down to the clinic for a transplant. There is great resistance to this approach. I would suggest reading Wendy Glauser’s article in CMAJ. 2011 March 22; Risk and rewards of fecal transplants for more background.

(c) 2012 Ken Lassesen