Want to age gracefully? Take charge of your gut microbiota with these tips | Health


Ageing is a progressive loss of homeostasis, impaired function, cognitive decline and vulnerability to death due to chronic, infectious, metabolic and neoplastic diseases hence, ageing gracefully is about more than just having younger-looking skin. It encompasses the intricate processes that affect all our organs, muscles, cells and everything that constitutes our being.

Want to age gracefully? Take charge of your gut microbiota with these tips to support healthy ageing (Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay )
Want to age gracefully? Take charge of your gut microbiota with these tips to support healthy ageing (Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay )

In this context, a vital player emerges – our gut microbiota. In simple terms, this refers to the assembly of microscopic inhabitants in our gastrointestinal tract.

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The Gut Microbiota and Ageing

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Debojyoti Dhar, Co-Founder and Director at Leucine Rich Bio, explained, “The gut microbiota, comprised of many microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, plays a pivotal role in various aspects of our health. Beyond aiding digestion and nutrient absorption, it significantly influences our immune system. As we journey through life, our gut microbiota evolves, with its composition subject to changes.”

He elaborated, “These alterations can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as dietary habits, medication use, and lifestyle choices. When the balance of the gut microbiota is disrupted, it can give rise to a state of dysbiosis, where disease-causing microorganisms can outnumber the beneficial ones. In fact, unhealthy ageing leads to consistent increase of pathobionts such as Eggerthella, Fusobacteria, Streptococcus etc. Such an imbalance can contribute to inflammageing and age-related diseases.”

Understanding Inflammageing

Dr Debojyoti Dhar shared, “Inflammageing is the phenomenon of chronic, low-grade inflammation that ensues in our bodies with advanced age, contributing to a wide range of age-related diseases. It is not just a matter of external appearances but a profound internal process. Inflammageing fuels conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, and metabolic ailments, including type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it can accelerate the ageing process itself by promoting the deterioration of tissues and cells, culminating in wrinkles, frailty and a reduced quality of life.”

The Gut Microbiota’s Role in Inflammageing

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 inflammageing 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. He 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.

Dr Debojyoti Dhar concluded, “The concept of inflammageing has highlighted the significance of addressing chronic inflammation as we age. While genetics play a role, our gut microbiota is a key player in this process. By taking charge of your gut microbiota through dietary choices, prebiotics, microbiome profiling, and lifestyle changes, you can better support healthy ageing and potentially reduce the risk of age-related diseases.”


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