This Is Why Researchers Are Obsessed With Probiotics From Baby Poo
Could this renewable resource become a key part in the fight against some of the biggest chronic illnesses we face today—autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity? The scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine are hopeful. In an experiment published in the journal Scientific Reports, which is affiliated with Nature, the researchers used "human origin" probiotics extracted from the feces of 34 babies to help boost the production of short-chain fatty acids by "good" gut microbiota of mice. And it worked.
We know what you're thinking—baby poo is stinky and gross! It's true, so when it comes to actually using it for health, you want to leave it to the professionals. "You can get diseases from baby's poo if the baby has any infection," warned Aviva Romm, M.D., an mbg Collective member and integrative women's and children's physician.
But using poop as a viable treatment for disease may not be too far off in the future. As the authors of the experiment noted, baby poo is not adulterated with damage from our environment, lifestyles, or our bodies. This study sought specifically to investigate whether using it could increase production via the microbiome of short-chain fatty acids, which are low in people suffering from the aforementioned chronic diseases. "Increasing them may be helpful in maintaining or even restoring a normal gut environment and, hopefully, improving health," Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., co-author of the study, said in a statement.
Contrary to the headlines you may have seen on the internet, Dr. Yadav and his fellow researchers didn't add baby poo to a smoothie. They isolated the probiotics lactobacilli and enterococci from baby poo in a highly controlled lab environment. "Our study shows that the strains we have isolated from human origin are able to increase SCFA production by modulating gut microbiome; however, we have not compared other probiotics with ours, so we don't undermine/differentiate the capacity of other probiotics to boost SCFA production," Dr. Yadav told mindbodygreen.
But don't get too excited: There are a few complications with this form of treatment. "Not all babies have healthy poo," Dr. Romm said. "Caesarean babies, for example, have a higher risk of obesity and diabetes largely because of a lack of appropriate poo colonization." And, as Dr. Romm pointed out, more research is needed before these findings can be used in the mainstream.
So is baby poo the next miracle smoothie add-on? Absolutely not. But the future of chronic disease may very well be affected by our babies' bottoms.
Intrigued? Here are 5 facts you need to know about your microbiome and how it affects your skin, digestion, and immunity.
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