Don’t pooh-pooh this: Studies show baby poop could be good for your health.
Scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine have developed a “probiotic cocktail” derived from gut bacteria strains found in baby feces that could be used to bolster gut health and immune- system function.
“What we found is bacteria isolated in baby poop produce higher amounts of short-chain fatty acids,” said the study’s lead investigator, Hariom Yadav. “That could help people with … diabetes, obesity, cancers, autoimmune diseases and older people.”
Increasing short-chain fatty acids — the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon — may be helpful in maintaining or restoring a normal gut environment, especially in people who are compromised by disease or age, he said.
Babies’ feces was selected for the study because babies are untouched by age-related diseases.
“Adults do also have the good bacteria, but the babies’ microbiomes — the bacteria in their gut — is much healthier than in older people,” said Yadav, an assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
The study, published Thursday, examined the ability of human-origin probiotics to improve gut health.
Probiotics — commonly found in yogurt and other fermented foods — are live bacteria and yeasts that keep your gut healthy, he said.
While the “probiotic cocktail” is not ready yet for human consumption, it has tested positively on mice in studies.
“Some probiotics already in the market are derived from soil, fermented foods, pickles,” he said. “But most probiotics should be from human origin if they’re going back into the human.”
Yadav’s team collected fecal samples from the diapers of 34 healthy infants and selected the 10 best probiotic strains out of the 321 analyzed.
Mice were given a single dose, as well as five consecutive doses, of the 10-strain probiotic cocktail.
Researchers found it enhanced the production of the good-for-your-gut fatty acids in the mice.
The next step is to test the probiotic cocktail on unhealthy mice to determine the effects, he said, and then on primates.
One day, the identified probiotic strains could be put into yogurt, powders or capsules for human use.
“One thing to definitely emphasize is that, although we isolated good bacteria from baby poop, nothing related to the poop is coming with the bacteria,” Yadav said. “That’s the origin, but it’s been extensively purified. We’re not recommending putting baby poop in things.”