Are Baby-Poop Probiotics the Future?
Consuming probiotic bacteria isolated from baby feces could help with conditions ranging from obesity and diabetes to cancer, according to new research.
The role of the microbiome in human health is firmly established.
The gut bacteria producing metabolites like short chain fatty acids (e.g., acetate, propionate, and butyrate) are often lacking in patients with diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders, and cancers.
As a result, scientists think that altering the gut microbiome (e.g., with probiotics) could be beneficial in maintaining or restoring normal gut microbiome composition and human health.
This led researchers to search for human probiotic bacteria from a healthy gut microbiome source – baby poop!
The researchers collected fecal matter from the diapers of 34 healthy babies, and extracted strains of lactobacillus and enterococcus bacteria.
Their goal was to improve short chain fatty acid production in mice.
First, the researchers validated the safety of the probiotic bacteria they had isolated (334 strains).
To test whether the bacteria could change the gut microbiome and increase short chain fatty acids, the researchers next fed mice a probiotic cocktail containing 10 strains of bacteria. They also exposed human feces to the cocktail.
The probiotic cocktail was found to change the makeup of the gut microbiome and boost short chain fatty acid production in mice and human feces.
The researchers hope that this work will lead the way for the development of human-derived probiotics to treat disease.
Nagpal, R., et al. (2018). Human-origin probiotic cocktail increases short-chain fatty acid production via modulation of mice and human gut microbiome. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 12649.