For older adults, good health ensures independence, security, and productivity as they age. Yet millions struggle every day with health and safety challenges such as chronic disease, falls, and mental health issues—all of which can severely impact the quality of life.
There are many specific age-related dietary and physiological changes that impact on the function and efficacy of the intestine and aging health. Diet, in particular, can influence health status in later life. Obesity and malnutrition are common factors of aging, influencing distinct but equally deleterious health outcomes. Diet has more recently become a focus of interest owing to its involvement in shaping the composition of the human intestinal microbiota. For example, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), formed primarily by fermentation of indigestible dietary components by microorganisms in the large intestine, support the growth of bifidobacteria that help protect against infection and inflammation.
With increasing age comes a reduction in the capacity of taste and smell. Combined with decreased dentition, muscle mass, the use of frequently ill-fitting dentures and swallowing difficulties commonly seen in older age, the type and quantities of food eaten tends to be narrow, and the diet becomes more nutritionally imbalanced. In addition, an age-related reduction in gastric acid production, coupled with increased basal gastric inflammation, can lead to lower micronutrient absorption from the diet. Finally, once ingested, the time is taken for food to transit through the aging intestine increases (owing to age- related changes in gastrointestinal function and the intestinal bacteria). Compounded further by a generally decreased level of physical activity in older age and increased fecal retention, there is a shift from beneficial saccharolytic fermentation towards increased levels of putrefaction that can lead to a buildup of deleterious putrefaction by-products such as ammonia and phenols.
The consequence of age-related intestinal changes, apart from the very obvious common discomforts of bloating and constipation, is often a general shift in dominant bacterial species. Furthermore, immunosenescence, the progressive decline in the integrity of both the innate and adaptive immune system with increasing age, is characterized by an imbalance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes. In addition to affecting the composition of the microbiota in the aging intestine, immunosenescence can lead to a greater susceptibility to infection, malignancy, autoimmunity, a decreased response to vaccination and delayed wound healing.
We believe that probiotics are a vital tool in the battle to overcome imbalance and restore the health-promoting composition and function of the microbiota in older age, promoting and maintaining health and reducing the impact of the age-related disease.
One of the important keys to healthful aging and longevity is to develop and maintain an immune system that minimizes chronic inflammation without compromising the body’s ability to respond to pathogens and neoplastic cells.
Evidence recommends an assuring role for probiotics to improve age-related deficiencies in the immune system and to decrease the severity of infectious diseases and occurrence of cancer in the elderly. Each probiotic strain produces a different set of molecular and cellular responses, such that combinations of probiotics are expected to be more effective than single strains. In an older person, a composition of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics with the numbers weighted heavily in favor of the Bifidobacterium species is likely to be most effective. Probiotics require an adequate dosage and a prolonged supplementation period to have greatest benefit.
One of the most overlooked factors underlying the body’s aging process is dysfunction of cellular mitochondria. The ability of mitochondria to sustain the high energy demands of the brain, liver, heart, muscles, endocrine glands and other tissues can be compromised by many factors, including exposure to toxins, inadequate antioxidant intake, illness, genetic factors, and a decline in cellular function with increasing age. The accumulated effects of oxidative damage can disrupt mitochondrial membranes and damage lipids, DNA, and proteins, resulting in the suboptimal functioning of affected organ systems. Healthy Cell supplies key nutrients and energy substrates to protect against free radical damage and assist mitochondria in performing their critical functions most efficiently.
Global Transformation Longevity
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