Could baby poop hold the key to a healthy gut?
A new study suggests that might be the case.
An analysis of fecal samples collected from the diapers of 34 healthy infants identified 10 strains of gut bacteria that may boost the body’s production of short-chain fatty acids.
“Short-chain fatty acids are a key component of good gut health,” explained lead investigator Hariom Yadav. He’s an assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“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,” Yadav added in a university news release.
“Babies are usually pretty healthy and clearly do not suffer from age-related diseases, such as diabetes and cancer,” Yadav noted. “And, of course, their poop is readily available.”
The researchers used 10 strains of gut bacteria from the infants to create a “probiotic cocktail” and found that it increased production of short-chain fatty acids in human feces and in mice.
The findings suggest that such probiotics could be used to treat decreased short-chain fatty acid production and imbalances in gut bacteria populations, according to Yadav.
The study was published online Aug. 23 in the journal Scientific Reports.
For more on gut bacteria, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.