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Baby Poop Cocktail Could Be The Next Probiotics Wonder

Aug 26, 2018 09:28 PM EDT
For exhausted parents, baby poop isn’t a very welcoming sight. For scientists, it is full of potential as a great source of medically beneficial probiotics.
(Photo : Mahesh Patel | Pixabay)

Baby poop is so often a source of frustration for parents, but it could have a very notable benefit in the medical field.

It turns out, probiotics made with bacteria from babies' diapers could be a minefield of benefits for various conditions.

A Baby Poop Cocktail

In the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists from the Wake Forest School of Medicine cooked up a "probiotic cocktail" using gut bacteria strains in infant feces. This mixture reportedly boosts the body's production of short-chain fatty acids.

Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., the study's lead investigator and an assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, explains in a statement that short-chain fatty acids are important in a healthy gut.

"People with diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders and cancers frequently have fewer short-chain fatty acids," Yadav says. "Increasing them may be helpful in maintaining or even restoring a normal gut environment, and hopefully, improving health."

Many people have been reaching for probiotics in recent years due to research showing that specific strains can actually help in preventing or treating various diseases.

However, many of the previous studies have been conducted on either animals or humans with existing medical conditions. This new study is one that is focused on healthy humans.

Testing The Cocktail

For the study, the team wanted to observe the effects of certain human gut bacteria strains on the health. They chose to use infant feces because, while people of all ages do feature this bacteria, babies are often healthier than adult counterparts.

The researchers collected feces from 34 healthy infants, eventually selecting 10 strains with probiotic attributes for the experiments. The 10-strain cocktail was tested on laboratory mice, which were given one dose and then five consecutive doses of the probiotic mixture. This same process was done on human feces that represented the human gut.

In both the mice and the human feces, the probiotic cocktail influenced the gut microbiome and prompted a higher production of short-chain fatty acids.

"This work provides evidence that these human-origin probiotics could be exploited as biotherapeutic regimens for human diseases associated with gut microbiome imbalance and decreased SCFA production in the gut," Yadav explains, adding that the findings could be significant in future research focused on probiotics.

However, the authors note that the probiotic mixture was not tested on any disease models.

Yadav also wants to make clear that the "poop" factor does not have anything to do with the benefits of their cocktail. While the source of the probiotics are the feces, it has been thoroughly purified by the time it made the mix.

"We're not recommending putting baby poop in things," he stresses in a report from Winston-Salem Journal.

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