Gut Health and Probiotics
If you cringed reading that sentence, you’re not alone, but it is true. Baby poop may be a source of microbes that promote healthy digestion. Recent studies have shown that there are certain types of bacteria present in baby feces that produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in mice and a simulated human gut.
SCFA are a subset of fatty acids that are associated with maintaining gut health and protecting against disease. “Short-chain fatty acids are a key component of good gut health,” lead study author Hariom Yadav, said in a statement. “People with diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders and cancers frequently have fewer short-chain fatty acids. Increasing them may be helpful in maintaining or even restoring a normal gut environment, and hopefully, improving health.”
Digestive health disorders like this lead to more than $141 billion in direct and indirect costs each year. So, finding a natural and cost-effective way to treat people is important. Scientists found that a probiotic containing baby poop microbes may be able to boost SCFA production in a compromised digestive system.
Studying Gut Bacteria and Digestive Health
In previous studies, scientists have verified that fecal microbiota transplants (poop transplants) can help treat gut disorders. This treatment involves infusing bacteria from a healthy donor’s poop into an individual affected by a disease in their digestive system. A transplant of this type helps balance the microbial diversity within a gut infected with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a bad gut bacteria that can lead to the development of serious digestive disorders.
All previous studies wanted to see how probiotics and transplants may impact guts already impacted by disease. The newest study, however, wanted to take a look at how a probiotic may impact the production of SCFA in a healthy gut.
How Baby Poop Might Make a Difference
The study, which was relatively small, took a look at 10 bacterial strains in samples from 34 babies. The researchers identified these strains as good candidates for creating a 10-bacterial probiotic cocktail that would stimulate SCFA production.
To determine whether or not this cocktail would, in fact, help SCFA production, they tested different doses of the probiotic blend in mice. They also tested it in human feces to mimic the human digestive system.
Their findings showed that a single dose was enough to maintain a healthy microbial balance and the blend helped increase SCFA production in both mice and humans.
“This work provides evidence that these human-origin probiotics could be exploited as [treatments] for human diseases associated with gut microbiome imbalance and decreased SCFA production in the gut,” Yadav stated. “Our data should be useful for future studies aimed at investigating the influence of probiotics on human microbiome, metabolism and associated diseases.”
Because this study was done on such a small scale, much more research is needed before people will be able to buy baby poop probiotic health products in stores. However, researchers are optimistic that they’ve found something that may help millions of people with digestive health issues.
Readers, would you ingest a baby poop probiotic smoothie?