Healthy Gut, Healthy Aging
Researchers discover healthy 90-year-olds and 30-year-olds have similarly diverse gut microbiota
Of all the parts of your body you might be concerned about keeping young, your gut probably isn’t one of them. However, recent research suggests that healthy, youthful gut flora just may be one of the keys to healthy aging.
The research comes from Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China, and was published this month in the journal mSphere. In one of the largest microbiota studies ever conducted in humans, the researchers studied the gut bacteria in over 1,000 Chinese people ranging from 3 to 100 years old. All of the study participants were extremely healthy with no family history of disease.
When the researchers compared the microbiomes of the different individuals, they found that the healthiest individuals had very similar populations of bacteria in their guts, regardless of age. As the principal investigator of the study put it, “The main conclusion is that if you are ridiculously healthy and 90 years old, your gut microbiota is not that different from a healthy 30 year old in the same population.”
The researchers concluded that a diverse microbiome in the gut should be considered a biomarker for healthy aging. In addition, they suggested that repopulating an older person’s gut with the microbiota of a younger person might be a way to help promote health.
How to Improve Your Gut Microbiome
Unfortunately, our modern diet can be very hard on the gut. Sugary foods, unhealthy fats, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods in general can lead to a proliferation of “bad” bacteria in the gut. These “bad” bacteria crowd out the “good” bacteria we need for healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Plus, they can cause chronic inflammation, which is associated with many health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even certain cancers.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take right now to help shift the balance in your gut so that you have more “good” bacteria and fewer “bad” bacteria.
First of all, clean up your diet. You need to eliminate the sugary, processed foods that “bad” bacteria thrive on, and add more of the healthy fiber that the “good” bacteria need.
Secondly, start adding more “good” bacteria to your gut. There are two main ways to do this. You can eat fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and live culture yogurt, or you can take a probiotic supplement. A supplement is typically the easiest way to add large numbers of beneficial bacteria to your system. For example, Renew Youth’s Probiotic Plus contains 9 strains of beneficial bacteria, with 52.5 billion live cultures in each capsule.
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