Study highlights “anti-inflammageing” effects of a probiotic diet in healthy seniors

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© druvo / Getty Images
© druvo / Getty Images

Related tags: Probiotics, Gut health, Healthy ageing, inflammaging

Prolonged addition of a probiotic supplement or food into the diet of seniors may support healthy ageing by shifting their gut microbiota and reducing markers of inflammation, according to results of the Italian ProbioSenior Project.

Researchers found that a significant number of the healthy seniors have elevated levels of HsCRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), a marker of inflammation, cardiovascular risk, heart attack, and stroke. This is supportive of the hypothesis that ageing is associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation.

However, enriching the diets with Synbiotec’s Synbio​ 1:1 mixture of Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus​ IMC 501 and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei​ IMC 502 led to significant reductions in levels of HsCRP over six months, according to data published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology​.

The novelty of the new study was that it provided multiple different ways for the seniors to consume the probiotic blend: The project offered six different food products, including yoghurt, ‘mozzarella’ cheese, fruit smoothies, ‘ricotta’ cheese, ‘primo sale’ cheese, and chocolate. All were formulated to provide 5 billion live cells per daily dose. Food supplements in the form of capsules were also provided to the participants.  The participants received the six different probiotic (or placebo) foods every week to be consumed one per day.

“ProbioSenior is demonstrated to be an ideal support for healthy ageing and may have a significant impact on the social health system,” ​wrote scientists from the University of Camerino and Synbiotec Srl.

“The 40% of the general population in Western countries is affected by functional disorders such as dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which includes constipation, bloating, impaired digestion, digestive pain and intermittent diarrhoea.

“Combining the knowledge about the influence that diet has on ageing and its potential role to prevent age-related diseases, the way will open for making the microbiota the target of intervention to improve the well-being of the elderly.”​ 

Study details

The researchers recruited 97 healthy Italian seniors to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Participants were randomly assigned to either the probiotic group (n=59) or the placebo group (n=38) for six months.

The results showed that the Synbio​-consuming participants had significantly increased levels of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in their faeces. Further analysis revealed that the probiotic group had lower levels of Proteobacteria​ after six months.

In addition, levels Akkermansiaceae​ and Bifidobacteriaceae​ were higher in the probiotic group.

The researchers also found that levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and butyric acid in particular were significantly higher after six months of probiotic supplementation.

“Overall, this study emphasizes the beneficial anti-inflammageing effect of a prolonged diet based on functional foods enriched with ​Synbio through the modulation of the intestinal microbiota and the consequent increase in the SCFA production,” ​concluded the researchers.

Source: Journal of Applied Microbiology
Published online ahead of print, doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jam.15747
“Impact of a probiotic diet on well-being of healthy senior: THE PROBIOSENIOR PROJECT”
Authors: C. Salvesi et al.

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