Preserving Your Poop Might Save Your Life, According To Scientists From Harvard Medical School

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If you have had a child in recent years, chances are you have heard about cord blood banking. Perhaps you chose to have your child’s cord blood banked. This would entail freezing the cord blood for years so that it would be ready and waiting if one day your child got sick and needed the cord blood to save his or her life.

In a similar way, some researchers are now suggesting that it would be a good idea to freeze our poop in case we ever get sick and need it to potentially save our lives. This sounds weird and kind of gross at first, but stick with us. There is science to back up the idea.

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we may be able to fix our gut microbiome when we get older by preserving (freezing) samples of our gut microbiome (poop) when we are younger, like in our teens and early 20s.

There is currently one place where anyone interested would be able to preserve their stool samples. OpenBiome is a nonprofit stool bank located in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Fecal matter implants aren’t exactly a new thing. C. difficile infection kills approximately 1,600 people in the U.K. every year and approximately 29,000 people in the U.S. This infection has been treated by doctors with fecal matter from healthy donors. The poop donations are inserted into a sick person’s gut by either having them swallow a capsule or through a tube to the stomach. The new idea is using the person’s own poop sample preserved from decades earlier instead of a sample from a donor.

It’s thought that fecal matter implants could be used to treat a lot more than just C. difficile infection. A study out of Sorbonne University in Paris, France, indicates that it may be helpful to those undergoing chemotherapy. During the study, participants were patients undergoing chemotherapy to treat leukemia. Participants were given either a placebo or a sample of their own fecal matter that was collected prior to starting chemo. In participants who were given a fecal transplant, the gut microbiome was restored to it’s healthy pre-chemo state, and the good bacteria helped the patients experience less inflammation.

Do you think freezing poop is going to replace cord blood storage? Did you freeze your baby’s cord blood? Would you take a fecal matter transplant if it could save your life?