There is new evidence showing that good gut health can lead to a longer life.
As shown in a study, fruit flies display an increase in their lifespan due to a mix of probiotics and Triphala, an herbal supplement made from a mixture of amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. These fruits are used as medicinal plants in Ayurveda, an Indian traditional medicine.
According to the authors of the study, the bacteria in our gut can possibly have an influence on how we age. To test this theory, scientists from McGill University fed fruit flies a mix of probiotics and Triphala to extend the lifespan of flies by 60% and protect them against diseases linked to aging.
This study further adds to an increasing amount of evidence that gut bacteria can influence our health. The researchers fused a symbiotic into the diet of the fruit flies. This symbiotic contains probiotics combined with a polyphenol-rich supplement.
The fruit flies that were fed the symbiotic managed to survive up to 66 days – that’s 26 days more than the flies that were not given the supplement. Reduced signs of aging, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, were also evident in the flies.
According to Dr. Satya Prakash, senior author of the study and professor of biomedical engineering in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, probiotics really change the structure of the gut microbiota, not just in its composition, but also in the way that the food we eat is metabolized. Dr. Prakash further added that this change lets a single probiotic formulation simultaneously act on several biochemical and signal pathways to elicit broad beneficial physiological effects. He explained why this formulation has such an intense effect on a variety of markers.
In terms of biochemical pathways, fruit flies and mammals are about 70% similar, and that makes them a good gauge of what would happen in humans. Although not as dramatic, the results absolutely show that including Triphala and these probiotics in your diet will support a healthier and longer life.
As noted by the authors, the findings were based on the gut-brain axis, which is a two-directional communication system between microorganisms living in the microbiota and the brain. According to recent studies, the gut-brain axis is linked to neuropathological changes and different types of conditions like depression, neurodegeneration, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Former PhD student at McGill and lead author of the study Susan Westfall states that the concept of mixing Triphala and probiotics came from her long-time interest in analyzing natural products sourced from traditional Indian medicine and their effect on neurodegenerative diseases.
Based on the comprehensive physiological effects of this formulation on the fruit fly, Dr. Prakash is hopeful that it could be useful in a variety of disorders such as obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and even cancer.