Multiple sclerosis patients suffer from dysbiosis where the microbes that live in the digestive tract are out of balance. This disruption to their microbiome plays a key role in the development and progression of MS and has thus prompted researchers to investigate if fecal transplants could serve as a treatment for MS.
This post will discuss the potential use of fecal transplants to treat multiple sclerosis.
A fecal transplant is a procedure where feces or stool from a healthy person is introduced into the gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract of a sick patient.
This procedure is also known as fecal transplantation, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), stool transplant or intestinal microbiota transplant.
It is mainly used to treat patients who have persistent Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) infections by adding healthy bacteria into the patient’s intestines. Research shows that fecal transplants can restore healthy bacteria in the large intestine, which can help control C. diff. and keep it from coming back. In some cases, FMT can be more effective than antibiotics for keeping C. diff in check. FMT can be performed in children and adults and is also used in the treatment of autoimmune enteritis, hepatitis B, chronic nonalcoholic cirrhosis, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder.
Fecal transplant studies
Many studies show evidence that gut microbiota and the chemicals they produce impact numerous aspects of health and behaviour.
For example, when gut microbes were transferred from depressed humans to germ free mice or antibiotic-treated rats, these animals developed depressive-like behaviors 2 weeks after they received the fecal transplant from depressed human patients.[i]
A case study reported that a woman in her late 20s who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder had restored her health as a result of FMT. She first tried multiple psychiatric drugs but didn’t find them helpful. She then did nine FMT treatments (from her husband) over 11 months and within six months was symptom-free and able to come off her medications. She was examined and remained symptom-free for years with no need for medications. She lost 33 kg, was working and was no longer functionally disabled.[ii]
In one study, mice that received fecal microbiota from patients with alcoholism showed anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors, decreased social interaction behaviors and spontaneous alcohol preference while mice transplanted with fecal microbiota from healthy male adults did not show these behaviors. The results from this study suggest that fecal microbiota from patients with alcoholism induced an alcohol dependency state in the mice. These mice had no previous contact with alcohol.[iii]
A separate randomized clinical trial of fecal microbiota transplant for alcohol use disorder confirmed that alcohol craving and consumption was reduced after fecal transplantation.[iv]
Furthermore, a 2022 double blind randomized clinical trial found that 90% of people suffering from alcohol use disorder who had FMTs experienced a significant reduction in cravings at day 15 versus only 30% in the placebo group. The subjects that received FMT also had improved brain function, psychological and social quality of life and increased microbial diversity. There was also a reduction in alcohol use disorder related events over 6 months in patients assigned to FMT.[v]
Research is also linking the microbiota and obesity. A case report describes a woman who developed new-onset obesity after receiving stool from her healthy but overweight 16 year old daughter.[vi]
MS and fecal transplant studies
Studies indicate that MS patients experience improvements in bowel movements and mobility for many years after receiving FMTs.
A 2011 study of three case reports concluded that FMT could reverse MS-like symptoms and that this suggested a GI infection was behind MS. They hoped that their findings would encourage a new direction in neurological research.
A second multiple sclerosis study evaluated the impact of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in RRMS patients. FMT was associated with an increase in beneﬁcial stool bacteria, increased serum brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor levels and improved mobility.[vii]
The 2023 study “The role of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in treating patients with multiple sclerosis” reviewed current research on the effectiveness and safety of FMT for MS in animal models and humans with MS.
- Data from animal studies suggests that transplanting feces from people with MS to healthy mice results in an increase in inflammation and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which is the mouse model of MS.
- Animal studies that administered FMT from normal healthy donors into EAE mice resulted in slowing down EAE development, relieved EAE symptoms, improved the integrity of the blood-brain barrier and restored microbiota diversity.
- Human studies show improved intestinal regularity and mobility in people with MS after FMT from healthy donors which lasted at least for the duration of the studies, which ranged from 2 to 15 years.
- Although promising, the clinical findings from the limited studies do not prove that FMT is a safe and effective treatment for MS.
- The authors stated that more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of FMT in people with MS, the best way to administer FMT and the concentration of bacteria that should be used.
History of Fecal transplants
Fourth century Chinese researcher, Ge Hong, first used what he called “yellow soup” to treat his patients with severe diarrhea. This was administered orally which was most likely the reason this technique did not become widely known.
FMT has been used in large animal veterinary medicine since the 17th century.[viii]
The first fecal transplantation in humans was performed in 1958.
Dr. Perlmutter’s Brain Maker book
Dr. Perlmutter describes FMT as a powerful way to reset the gut microbiome and he has observed that it is has been helpful for conditions like autism and MS.
In his book, Brain Maker, he shared the journey of his patient, Carlos, who suffered from MS, used a cane, had numbness in both legs from the waist down and poor balance.
Carlos started probiotic enemas 2 to 3 times each week and after two weeks, he was walking more comfortably and had gone days without using his cane. His health has stabilized.
Then Dr. Perlmutter informed Carlos about FMT and he decided to travel to a clinic in London for this procedure as the FDA had not approved this treatment for MS in the US.
One month after Carlos returned from England, he shared with Dr. Perlmutter that after his second treatment with FMT (he received a total of 10), his walking dramatically improved and the improvements were persisting. Carlos stated, “I am walking so well that other people don’t know there is anything wrong.”
In his book, Dr. Perlmutter stated that he had been practising neurology for more than 30 years and had never witnessed such a remarkable improvement in his patients with multiple sclerosis as he observed with the use of FMT.
Dr. Perlmutter also declared, “now it’s becoming apparently clear that what may prove to be the most powerful therapy for this disease (MS) will be non-proprietary – no one can own it. It’s time for the world at large to be made aware that a different perspective of this disease and other mysterious neurological conditions needs to be adopted and embraced.”[ix]
Over time, Carlos found the benefits from the fecal transplants did not last. He later discovered the Live Disease Free plan, and built a plan to treat the parasites that cause MS and was thus able to walk again.
FDA approved fecal microbiota products
In Nov 2022, the FDA approved the first fecal microbiota product named Rebyota which is administered rectally as a single dose. Rebyota is prepared from stool donated by screened donors. It may contain food allergens. Rebyota was assessed in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies and from open-label clinical studies conducted in the United States and in Canada. The overall estimated rate of success in preventing recurrent C. diff. through 8 weeks was significantly higher in the Rebyota group (70.6%) than in the placebo group (57.5%).[x]
On April 26, 2023 the FDA approved the first oral fecal microbiota product, called Vowst, for the prevention of recurrence of C. diff. infection. The dosing regimen of Vowst is four capsules taken once daily, orally, for three consecutive days. It contains live bacteria and is manufactured from human fecal matter that has been donated by screened donors. Although the donors and donated stool are tested for a panel of transmissible pathogens, Vowst may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents and food allergens. Vowst recipients reported at a greater frequency of abdominal bloating, fatigue, constipation, chills and diarrhea than reported by placebo recipients.
Vowst was evaluated in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study where 89 participants received Vowst and 93 participants received placebo. Through 8 weeks after treatment, C. diff. infection recurrence in Vowst-treated participants was lower compared to placebo-treated participants (12.4% compared to 39.8%).[xi]
The future of FMT for MS
Many researchers and clinicians know the power of fecal transplants to help their patients, yet the FDA restricts its use. The miraculous health improvements from the use of FMTs should spur a change in our approach to MS research, but it doesn’t. The international panel of “experts” who dictate how MS is diagnosed and treated believe that there is no value in exploring which infections/parasites cause MS. Once again, there is no financial incentive to study and develop FMTs even though they are safer and provide more symptom improvements than current disease modifying MS drugs. Change will only come when enough people demand it.
There are real solutions to recover from parasites today!
To restore health, we must focus on treating the cause of inflammation, which are parasites. First, identify the enemy (parasites), then support the body and treat the parasites while following a holistic approach. When parasitic infections are treated effectively, we can overcome inflammation or disease.
If you’re frustrated with the fact that our standard of care STILL doesn’t offer a real solution for treating MS and other diseases, then click on the link below to watch Pam Bartha’s free masterclass training and discover REAL solutions that have allowed Pam and many others to live free from MS and other diseases.
Clinically diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, Pam chose an alternative approach to recovery. Now decades later and still symptom free, she coaches others on how to treat the root cause of chronic disease, using a holistic approach. She can teach you how, too.
Pam is the author of Become a Wellness Champion and founder of Live Disease Free. She is a wellness expert, coach and speaker.
The Live Disease Free Academy has helped hundreds of Wellness Champions in over 15 countries take charge of their health and experience profound improvements in their life.