Did anyone watch the fascinating Channel 4 programme on Hitler’s hidden drug habits last night?
From the mid 1930s, despite his image as a man of ‘superhuman strength and vigour’, it appears that Hitler became increasing dependent on Dr Theodor Morell, physician to the famous in 1930s Berlin. Morell (seen standing behind and to the left of Hitler above) seems to have been a pretty unattractive character. His methods were certainly unorthodox and, in the latter years some of his drug treatments were positively dangerous, but I am not sure that I would agree that he was, as the programme suggested, a quack. For a start, he used FMT….
Indeed it was his use of an early form of fecal microbiota transplant to cure Hitler’s stomach cramps (not helped by a vegetarian diet of beans mashed up to accommodate Hitler’s bad teeth) that first gained the Fuhrer’s confidence. Morrell believed that Hitler’s stomach problems were caused by bad bacteria in his gut and that the way to address it would be to introduce good bacteria (that sounds very 21st century…). The good bacteria were harvested from the healthy stools of healthy soldiers and put into capsules which were then swallowed. The capsules were called Mutaflor (still around today, now sold as a probiotic) and they appear to have done the trick for Hitler, endearing his new doctor to him in the process.
There are innumerable other fascinating gems that emerged from the programme so do have a watch. I will merely add that among the many other drugs used on Hitler was crystal meths in the guise of pervetin (also still around today) and that not only was it used on Hitler but it was widely used on the German population at large to keep them perky and working….
Meanwhile, for anyone interested in knowing more about FMT, takes look at the FoodsMatter site here.