Aging gracefully involves more than just having younger-looking skin because it is a cumulative loss of homeostasis, reduced function, cognitive decline, and vulnerability to death from chronic, infectious, metabolic, and neoplastic disorders. It includes all of the complex functions that impact our muscles, organs, cells, and every other aspect of who we are.
Do you want to age gracefully? Use these suggestions to take control of your gut microbiota and promote healthy aging.
Our gut flora is a key participant in this environment. Put simply, this is the collection of microscopic organisms that reside in our digestive tract.
The Gut Microbiota and Aging
Dr. Debojyoti Dhar, Co-Founder and Director of Leucine Rich Bio, stated in an interview with HT Lifestyle that the gut microbiota, which is made up of numerous microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, is crucial to many aspects of human health. It has a major impact on our immune system in addition to facilitating digestion and nutrition absorption. Our gut microbiota changes in composition and evolves over the course of our lives.
She went on, “Many factors, including dietary habits, medication use, and lifestyle choices, can influence these alterations.” An imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to dysbiosis, a condition in which the proportion of pathogenic microbes surpasses that of beneficial ones.
Unhealthy aging really causes pathogens like Eggerthella, Fusobacteria, Streptococcus, and others to continuously proliferate. An imbalance like this might exacerbate age-related illnesses and inflammation.
As we age, our bodies experience a condition known as inflammation, which is characterised by low-grade, chronic inflammation that can lead to a variety of age-related disorders, according to Dr. Debojyoti Dhar. It involves a deep interior process as well as outside manifestations. Conditions including cardiovascular disease, neurological illnesses like Alzheimer’s, and metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes are all exacerbated by inflammation. Furthermore, it can hasten the ageing process by encouraging the breakdown of tissues and cells, which results in wrinkles, senility, and a lower standard of living.
The Gut Microbiota’s Role in Inflammaging
Highlighting that the connection between our gut microbiota and inflammageing is increasingly evident, Dr Debojyoti Dhar said, “Dysbiosis in the gut can lead to the release of pro-inflammatory molecules that may infiltrate the bloodstream, further perpetuating systemic inflammation. Furthermore, a compromised gut barrier function can facilitate the leakage of harmful substances into the bloodstream, thus intensifying inflammation. All in all, an imbalanced gut microbiota can set the stage for inflammaging and age-related diseases.”
Keep Tabs on Your Gut Microbiota
According to Dr Debojyoti Dhar, the good news is that you can exert control over your gut microbiota to support healthy ageing. She suggested the following actionable steps to consider –
- Dietary Choices: Your diet exerts a profound influence on your gut microbiota. The consumption of a rainbow of plant-based foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes, can encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Additionally, incorporating fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can introduce probiotics that support gut health.
- Prebiotics: Prebiotics, found in foods like garlic, onions, and bananas, are non-digestible fibres that serve as nourishment for the beneficial microorganisms in your gut. Including these in your diet can bolster the population of “good” bacteria.
- Microbiome Profiling: One of the most effective ways to understand your gut microbiota is through microbiome profiling such as that offered by Viome (US) and BugSpeaks (India). This involves the comprehensive analysis of the composition of your gut microorganisms by next-generation sequencing to pinpoint any imbalances or dysbiosis. Based on this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about dietary and lifestyle changes to promote a healthier gut.
- Probiotic Supplements: In specific cases, probiotic supplements may be beneficial, particularly if you have health conditions that necessitate healthy microbiota support. It is, however, essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating supplements into your routine.
- Lifestyle Choices: Reducing stress, engaging in regular exercise, and ensuring adequate sleep can have a positive impact on your gut microbiota and overall health. Chronic stress, in particular, can disrupt the balance of your gut bacteria, underscoring the importance of effective stress management techniques.
“The concept of inflammaging has highlighted the significance of addressing chronic inflammation as we age,” said Dr. Debojyoti Dhar in her conclusion. Although heredity is a factor, our gut microbiome is crucial to this process. Take control of your gut microbiota to support good ageing and maybe lower your risk of age-related disorders through dietary choices, prebiotics, microbiome profiling, and lifestyle modifications.