Baby poo contains probiotics that could boost gut health and combat a variety of diseases, scientists have said.
Short-chain fatty acids in baby faeces could help boost health
A probiotic "cocktail" made from gut bacteria strains found in baby faeces, which could improve overall health and help weight loss, was developed at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
"And, of course, their poop is readily available," said the study's lead author Dr Hariom Yadav.
The healthy probiotic cocktail was created using the dirty nappies of 34 infants.
It boosted the short-chain fatty acids in the gut bacteria of mice during experiments - making them more resistant to illnesses that attack the immune system.
The US team said that baby faeces may be the key to fighting various diseases.
People who suffer from bloating or poor digestion have often been advised to eat fermented foods containing probiotics, including yoghurt and sauerkraut.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts, and are often described as "good" or "friendly" bacteria.
While probiotics are thought to help restore natural balance of bacteria, there is little evidence to support the many health claims made about them.
For instance, there is a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics for relieving symptoms of Crohn's disease.
However, scientists say they are excited about the new development.
"People with diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders and cancers frequently have fewer short-chain fatty acids," Dr Yadav continued.
"Increasing them may be helpful in maintaining or even restoring a normal gut environment, and hopefully, improving health."
Dr Yadav's study, published in Scientific Reports, is the latest discovery made about the gut's impact on overall health.
Not only does gut bacteria maintain a balanced immune system, there is growing awareness of the potential for gut microbiota modulating brain chemistry and behaviour, affecting mood.
Gut health can also influence autoimmune diseases, our sleep cycle and hormones.