Fecal transplants show promise treating alcoholism in first human trial

In a trial involving 20 subjects, 90 percent of those in the fecal transplant group reported reduced drinking behaviors two weeks later. Belchonock/Depositphotos

(Rich Haridy/ New Atlas) — A first-of-its-kind Phase 1 clinical trial, from researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, has found fecal transplants may be helpful in reducing drinking behaviors in those suffering severe alcohol use disorder (AUD). The results are preliminary, and certainly require further validation, but the study points to a compelling relationship between the gut microbiome and addiction disorders.

The idea fecal microbial transplants (FMT) can improve human health is not new. Modern medicine has been experimenting with the treatment for well over half a century, and Chinese medical practitioners have used the technique for millennia. Over the last decade, however, interest in fecal transplantation has surged, alongside frequent breakthroughs in gut microbiome research.

This new research focuses on the relationship between addiction and the gut microbiome. More specifically, the investigators set out to explore whether a FMT can positively influence drinking behavior in subjects suffering from alcoholism. (…)

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