How to live longer: Improving your gut health may boost heart health and lower cancer risk


Abnormal shifts in a person’s gut microbiome have been implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. The gut microbiome is emerging as a key factor in the ageing process with experts advising to improve your gut health to help boost your longevity.

New research points to a person’s gut bacteria being the determinator in how well and healthy a person will age.

According to a study published in the American Society for Microbiology’s peer-reviewed journal mSphere, “good” bacteria is the determining factor in helping one to live longer.

Chinese and Canadian researchers teamed up for one of the largest studies on the microbiome in humans.

Gut bacteria were investigated with over 1,000 participants of all ages and health conditions.

The main conclusion found in the study is that a person who is deemed healthy at 90 years old has the same gut microbiota as a healthy 30-year-old.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Expert divulges five tips to extend longevity by more than a decade

It begs the question, if you can stay active and eat well, will you age better, or is a healthy ageing predicated by the bacteria in your gut?

Study author Dr Gregory Reid from the Western’s Schulich School of Medicine said: “This study demonstrates that maintaining diversity of your gut as you age is a biomarker of healthy ageing, just like low cholesterol is a biomarker of a healthy circulatory system.

“The aim is to bring novel microbiome diagnostic systems to populations, then use food and probiotics to try and improve biomarkers of health.”

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A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases.

A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being.

Studies in both animals and humans have linked some bacteria in the gut to lower immune function; others to greater risk of asthma and allergies; and still others to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and some cancers.

How to improve your gut health to boost longevity

Experts have found those taking probiotics had a reduction in cholesterol levels by breaking down bile in the gut.

Bile is composed of bile acids and salts, phospholipids, cholesterol, pigements, water and electrolyte chemicals.

By breaking down the bile, probiotic supplementation can help prevent cholesterol from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

Scientists have found that mice fed the bacterial strain Bifidobacterium animalis lactis (probiotic) lived longer and were healthier than mice that did not receive the probiotic.

Common artificial sweeteners can cause previously healthy gut bacteria to become diseased and invade the gut wall, potentially leading to serious health issues.



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