The Importance of Gut Health for Longevity
Does good bacteria in the gut help improve the aging process?
Researchers say that humans are considered to be “meta-organisms” because of the human body containing so many microorganisms. They make up at least half of the total number of cells in the body (Sender R et al, 2016).
Microorganisms or microflora are tiny little living bacteria that inhabit the body and as a group are called the human microbiome.
They are mainly found in the gut, but also on the skin and in the mouth and nose. Their main role is to maintain human health by helping to control immune system responses among having other functions.
It has been shown that the important gut microbiota is associated with aging. In fact, it has been stated that the health of the gut microbiome can predict longevity.
How do I improve Gut Microflora during the aging process?
It is suggested as one ages, a diet that contains a large amount of sugary, salty foods, high in fat especially processed foods has a negative effect on the aging gastrointestinal tract and the microflora. Whereas, a plant based diet rich in fruits and vegetables dark in color and high in fiber may increase longevity and improve health. Including beans, seeds and nuts to help protect a healthy gut microbiome are also essential.
There are supplements that are beneficial such as probiotics, which are live microorganisms that have a beneficial effect on the gut and researchers state that they may help to increase lifespan. Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods and are available as dietary supplements. Probiotics are identified by a specific strain that has a genus, species and the subspecies. The main microbial organisms that are usually available in probiotic products are Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, Bacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Enterococcus and Escherichia.
The benefits of probiotics for aging is that they help to protect against harmful bacteria, enhance the function of the intestinal barrier, provide an immune supporting role and also improves gastrointestinal motility and assistance to the body’s inflammatory response.
Particular polyphenols found in foods and plants like flaxseed, cereals, soy, vegetables, fruit, chocolate and tea have been shown to be important to the microbiome. It is because of their bioactive metabolites produced by gut bacteria that increases the intestinal bacterial population.
One essential compound to the body’s microbiome while aging is butyrate, which is produced in the lower intestines and is involved in manufacturing a “pro longevity hormone” called FGF21. There are natural compounds consumed from foods that help to increase butyrate.
One compound, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) was used in a study to evaluate its effects on the microbiota in the intestines. The study demonstrated that NMN increased the wonderful butyric acid-producing bacteria and other probiotics, while helping to remove harmful bacteria. NMN reduced intestinal mucosal permeability, which helps to protect the intestinal tract.
In summary, eating a healthy plant based diet and consuming nutrients such as probiotics and NMN to support the microflora may extend lifespan and enrich one’s health.
For educational purposes only. As with any dietary supplement, if you have a health condition and or take medication, it is wise to check with your healthcare provider prior to intake.
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