Imagine a posh store displaying expensive samples that sell for more than $1,000 an ounce. The donor ate an unprocessed, non-GMO, plant-based diet, with no hormones or antibiotics, ever. The label says it’s from a rare and difficult-to-access source in the Himalayas. The samples are rigorously tested on site to assure purity and quality, and then flown back to the U.S. in a pressure-controlled, refrigerated jet. The lighting in the store is flattering, the sales staff impeccably dressed, and the marble floors so clean you could eat off of them.
Luxury boutiques selling high-octane human stool unadulterated by the perils of Western society may only be fantasy for now, but probably not for long. They’re coming, and here’s why.
There are more than a billion bacteria in each drop of fluid in your colon, an environment we call the microbiome. It's a mixture so distinctive from person to person that your individual constellation of bacteria is a better identifier than your own DNA. Stool consists of about 70 percent bacteria, and which particular species are present in yours can dictate a lot more than just your bathroom habits.
Autoimmune diseases like Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are common in more developed countries and rare in less developed ones. The "hygiene hypothesis" explains this uneven distribution by suggesting that in affluent societies, less childhood exposure to a variety of gut bacteria actually increases susceptibility to disease by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. (It seems our love affair with antibiotics and hand sanitizer is not all good).