Getting older is one of those things that many people try to fight. It’s not so much the fact that there are more candles on the cake – it’s the effect that age has on our body. Especially on our skin, joints and brain!
Of course, the beauty industry is well aware of how much people will pay to look younger. There are millions of “age-defying” creams, serums and other products out there that claim to erase wrinkles and reduce the effects of aging. Do they work? Well – to an extent, maybe.
But remember, beauty is only skin-deep. How good you look on the outside depends on what’s happening on the inside. That’s why science has shown that your saving grace from the aging process isn’t fancy skin care, but the bacteria in your gut!
Believe it or not, your body is quite capable of retaining its youthful looks and boundless energy – if you provide it the means. This begins with looking after your gut microflora.
It’s easier to understand this if you think about how the damage caused to your inner ecosystem ends up on your face. Pollution, stress, junk food, alcohol, drugs and stress all harm your body from the inside out. This becomes more obvious as you get older, when your body is less able to ‘bounce back’.
Research has now shown that a healthy gut microbiome plays a major role in how well the body ages. A review of multiple studies found that probiotics can restore the pH of acidic skin, reduce the impact of oxidative stress, reduce the effects of photo-aging, boost skin barrier function, and improve the quality of your hair.
After all, probiotics literally means “for life”!
Here are 9 ways that a probiotic-rich foods and probiotic supplements can help you fight the signs of aging.
A healthy gut microbiome reduces the ‘bad’ bacteria that cause you to crave sugar and carbs. Studies have shown that overweight and obese people have different bacteria in their gut than those of healthy weight. This may be because high-fat, high-calorie diets can cause negative changes to the bacterial environment in the gut.
One particular study on 20 healthy, non-obese men aged between 18-30 found that taking a probiotic supplement every day resulted in them gaining significantly less weight and fat mass. This indicates that probiotics may be an effective way to prevent weight gain and obesity.
Scientists have suggested that maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut can prevent weight gain and keep your appetite in check.
As the most important detoxification organ in the body, the liver is integral to the aging process. The liver’s main role is to remove impurities from the body. If it cannot do this properly, these impurities can end up showing on your skin.
New research suggests that probiotics can protect the liver from drug and alcohol induced damage.
Mice that were fed a diet rich in Lactobacillus rhamnosus showed an improved antioxidant response of the liver. The Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria protected the liver from oxidative damage produced by drugs such as acetaminophen.
It appears that Lactobacillus rhamnosus shields the liver from oxidative stress-induced damage thanks to a protein called Nrf2. This protein regulates the expression of genes in the fight against free radicals.
One of the most obvious signs of age are the wrinkles that appear on your face. Women are especially prone to dry, wrinkled skin such as crow’s feet and laughter lines.
Healthy bacteria in the gut not only fight off free radicals that cause damage to the liver, but protect you from the toxins and oxidative stress that damages the skin.
Damage caused to skin cells by free radicals free radicals is one of the major causes of wrinkles and age spots.
It’s also been suggested the probiotics improve your complexion by helping you digest and absorb nutrients from food. That means your skin cells receive more of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.
It goes without saying that great hair and nails are an important asset for any woman (and men, too!)
A healthy gut can help your hair to grow longer and fuller, and your nails stronger. Nails are made of proteins, and it’s your good gut bacteria that break down the proteins you eat into the amino acids required for healthy, strong nails.
Similarly, each hair follicle is nourished by blood vessels, which are in turn supported by nutrients from the food you eat. Healthy microflora allows for a continuous supply of nutrients to your hair, skin and nails. They also fight off harmful pathogens and yeast, such as Candida albicans.
Korean scientists have reported that supplementing with a form of Lactobacillus plantarum can boost skin elasticity and reduce skin wrinkles in women with dry skin.
A study involving 110 women aged between 41 and 59 who all had dry skin tracked the changes in their skin after being randomly assigned either a supplement containing 10 billion CFUs per day or a placebo.
After 12 weeks, the women taking the supplement showed a significant reduction in the appearance and depth of their wrinkles. Their skin hydration measures were also much higher than those in the placebo group.
Older people often complain that they never have the energy to do anything anymore. Surprisingly, this can have more to do with their digestive function than their age.
We eat food to ‘fuel’ our body – but without the right gut bacteria, our body doesn’t always get that energy from food.
Healthy bacteria help us digest everything we eat, which allows us to absorb all the vital nutrients that our body needs to function properly. Some probiotic strains also help us to produce vitamins B and K, both of which are vital for energy production in our body’s cells.
Probiotics also help to produce a variety of other nutrients that support daily energy levels and overall wellbeing. In a nutshell, adding probiotics to the diet helps our body to get the most nutrients out of the food we eat, rather than just allowing them to be flushed out of the body as waste.
As we age, the diversity of our microbiota declines. This increases our susceptibility to illnesses such as colds and flu, as well as chronic diseases.
Research has shown that older people have lower numbers of Bifidobacteria in their gastrointestinal systems, as well as higher amounts of Bacteroidetes and certain Proteobacteria – which may increase their risk of bowel disease.
It’s for this reason that probiotic supplementation is especially important in elderly people. Regular intake of beneficial bacteria has been shown to enhance our natural protection against infections and the prevention of several age-related diseases.
It’s suggested that because probiotics help to maintain a beneficial microbial balance, they go a long way in promoting good health in the elderly. A study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal explained that both probiotics and prebiotics may be helpful in malnutrition among the elderly, particularly in reducing lactose intolerance, calcium absorption, and constipation. Researchers also stated that probiotics “have been shown clearly to boost immunity in the elderly”.
Aching joints are a common symptom of advancing years, especially in those who have lost cartilage to injuries, physical activity or general wear and tear.
Beneficial bacteria have been found to have an impact on joint inflammation associated with joint pain and osteoarthritis. These bacteria appear to reduce common biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein. Researchers say that people with
Inflammatory arthritis is associated with inflammation of the intestinal tract, which often leads to increased intestinal permeability. This is more commonly known as leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome can allow pathogenic bacteria to cross the intestinal barrier, where they then enter the bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory response.
Probiotics have been found to help decrease the inflammation associated with joint pain and increased intestinal permeability by reducing the amount of pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
Growing older is often associated with memory loss and general cognitive decline. Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease are also a hallmark of aging.
However, a recent study has shown that taking beneficial live bacteria as dietary supplements can enhance cognitive function in older patients.
This clinical trial revealed that a daily dose of probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria taken over a period of just 12 weeks is enough to result in a “moderate but significant” improvement in elderly Alzheimer's patients’ score on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scale. This examination is a standard measure of cognitive impairment.
Previous studies in mice have also shown that probiotics can improve learning and memory, as well as reducing anxiety, depression and OCD-like symptoms.
Age shouldn’t be a burden on the body. Boosting your inner health with probiotics can make a huge difference to the effect that your advancing years have on your skin, joints, brain and overall wellbeing.
If you start taking probiotics now, you may never feel old at all!
Our probiotic uses a patented delivery system to get 15 times as many good bacteria to your gut, when compared to regular probiotic supplements. You can learn more about it here.