Could probiotics made from infant feces improve gut health?
Stomach-turning new probiotic is just a gimmick
I saved this letter for later in the day because I wanted to catch you AFTER lunch.
What I’m trying to say is: I hope you’re not eating when you read this!
The latest research on probiotics is out, and this one is so gross that you’re going to lose your appetite.
Scientists believe that they’ve “discovered” powerful new probiotic bacteria that they could soon add to everything from overpriced sugary yogurts to supplements and who knows what else.
And you’re not going to believe where they found it.
In POOP! (See why I warned you?)
Specifically, it’s in infant poop.
They found that giving baby-poop bacteria to mice boosted the production of short-chain fatty acids. The same thing happened in supposed human tests, but no actual humans were involved.
Instead, they “simulated” the human gut by adding the baby bacteria to adult human “fecal medium.”
Sure enough, the result was a jump in short-chain fatty acids.
Since those fatty acids are a sign of good gut health… and can maybe protect against everything from diabetes to cancer… researchers are already talking about ways to sell this stuff to you (and no doubt at a premium price).
How ridiculous is that?
But this is the Wild West of probiotics today. Someone makes a vague discovery… does a study on mice or simulated human guts… and then quickly comes up with a way to market it without a single honest-to-goodness human clinical trial.
That’s why most probiotic-enhanced yogurts and even many of the supplements out right now are pure, well, poop.
I will give the researchers behind this new study just a little bit of credit -- because they ARE on the right track.
The bacteria we’re given at birth are, in fact, some of the most important and essential of all.
But we don’t need studies on baby doo-doo to figure that out.
We already know which strains colonize the gut in infancy, what they do, and how they work in humans (in real life, not some lab dish).
More importantly, we also know how to get them without raiding diapers!
One of the most essential probiotic bacteria of all is called Bifidobacterium longum, and it’s been proven to help ease digestion, absorb nutrients, boost the immune system, and more.
I like to call it “The Genesis Strain,” because it’s one of the very first bacteria to take hold in your gut after you’re born. Over the years, these bacteria can be wiped out by stress, medication (especially antibiotics), chemicals in your food and diet, and more.
If you’re looking for a probiotic, look for a blend built around this one along and other human-tested strains… and not whichever crazy gimmick is in the news.