Gut Microbiota: A Player in Aging and a Target for Anti-Aging Intervention

Blog Health Gut Microbiota: A Player in Aging and a Target for Anti-Aging Intervention

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11.2.2020 0 comments

It’s amazing just how much our gut bacteria can do!

We know that it’s responsible for breaking down the food that passes through our digestive system. Because of the bacteria living in our intestines, we’re able to absorb the nutrients that keep us alive and thriving.

In recent years, there has also been a clear link established between our gut health and our overall health. Scientists have widely accepted the gut-brain connection [1], as well as the fact that our intestinal bacteria play a huge role in our immune health [2].

And that’s not all! According to one 2017 study [3], it appears your gut bacteria might be directly linked to your aging, too…

How Your Age And Your Gut Bacteria are Connected

Here’s a fun fact: as you age, your gut bacteria changes. That’s right, your body will show exterior signs of aging, but they’re often the result of internal signs. In this case, you’ll find that your gut bacteria’s composition, functionality, and diversity changes. That means more of a certain type of bacteria grow while others decrease. It’s just part of the natural aging process!

However, sometimes this shift in gut bacteria can be caused by harmful problems, such as the low-grade inflammation and the immune system dampening that is caused by aging-related health problems.

According to the research mentioned in the 2017 study, special treatments that target the gut microbiota can actually help to improve overall health. Changes to your diet and the consumption of (specific) probiotics can do a number of things:

  • Improve immune homeostasis

  • Enhance antioxidant activity

  • Suppress chronic inflammation

  • Prevent insulin resistance

  • Regulate fat deposits

  • Regulate metabolism

All of these things combined will have surprisingly visible effects on your health. In fact, it’s safe to say that a large percentage of aging-related health problems can be noticeably improved thanks to the six changes above.

And all of them are brought about by interventions that target ONLY your gut microbiota!

But that’s not all the good that targeting gut microbiota can do. The study also mentions the prevention and treatment of a number of aging-related conditions, such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Basically, using treatments that can improve the gut microbiota (the bacteria that live in your intestines) can do wonders to improve your health in pretty much every way possible!

The Simplest Way to Improve Your Gut Health: Starch

One study from 2015[4] took a look at a surprisingly simple ingredient that had remarkable effects on the gut intestinal health.

That ingredient? Starch, specifically dietary resistant starch.

Dietary resistant starch is a very specific type of starch that is found in foods like plantains, rice, oats, barley, beans, and lentils. Basically, it’s a carbohydrate that resists being digested in the small intestines, and actually ends up fermenting in the large intestines.

That might sound bad, but it’s actually a good thing! As resistant starch ferments, it actually feeds the bacteria living in your large intestines, which in turn helps those bacteria to grow stronger and flourish. The result is a better digestive system because you have more gut bacteria to break those foods down, and your health overall is improved thanks to that increase in bacteria.

As the 2015 study found, people suffering from aging-related conditions often had lower than average intake of dietary resistant starch. This is definitely a bad thing, as this specific type of starch can lead to a number of improvements in health, including:

  • Mimicking the effects of calorie-restricted diets, including increasing the function of the genes that play a role in metabolism.

  • Increasing the peptides that play a role in fat metabolism and glucose homeostasis

  • Improving the gut barrier function (reducing leaky gut)

  • Enhancing the profile of gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acid production

All of these things can lead to better overall health, and with just a few simple additions to your diet!

Improve Your Gut Health, Slow Your Aging

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not! As multiple studies have discovered, the health of your intestinal tract is directly linked to your overall health. Your brain communicates directly with your gut bacteria, and most of your immune activity takes place right in your intestines. Now, it turns out that many aging-related conditions are the result of a decrease in your gut bacteria function.

The key, then, is to improve your gut microbiota so that your body overall benefits. As the research above indicates, it’s surprisingly easy to make those improvements. All you need is a bit more dietary resistant starch and probiotics that add to your gut bacteria, and you’ve got the makings of a much healthier, happier body. Who said age has to slow you down?!







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