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Gut Microbes Might Reflect Health, Diet of Older Americans

Probiotics for Elders

Story at-a-glance -

  • Recent research shows microflora in seniors living in long-term care facilities is less diverse, and significantly correlates with measures of frailty, co-morbidity, markers of inflammation and other factors that contribute to aging and death. According to the authors, seniors may need certain dietary supplements to improve their microbial health
  • People over 60 can have as much as 1,000-fold less "friendly" bacteria in their guts compared to younger adults, and increased levels of disease-causing microbes
  • Previous research found that consumption of the probiotic strain known as Bifidobacterium lactis resulted in increases in both the number and disease-fighting capacity of white immune cells, thereby bolstering the immune system in aging seniors
  • The best way to ensure optimal gut flora is to regularly consume traditionally fermented or cultured foods and avoid sugar and processed foods

By Dr. Mercola

Probiotics, along with a host of other microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to "a newly recognized organ." In fact, your microflora – a term used to describe the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes that make up your microbial inner ecosystem – impact far more than your digestive tract.


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