Most of us are aware that probiotics offer significant benefits for digestive health, but did you know that scientists are increasingly recognising the anti-aging potential of beneficial bacteria? By supporting efficient metabolism, nutrient absorption and detoxification, probiotics can help keep the whole body nourished and free from damaging toxicity and inflammation - key elements of any anti-aging regimen. Specific strains of bacteria have been found to support healthy immune function, aid digestion and the synthesis of certain nutrients like B12, and to support normal detoxification processes in the liver. By helping the body to eliminate toxins and triggers for inflammation and oxidative damage, probiotics can help guard against cellular changes that can lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the deterioration of joint tissue, and other tissues in the body. Probiotics – Supporting Nutrient Synthesis and Absorption Keeping your gut happy is also one of the best ways to support the synthesis of nutrients such as vitamin K and vitamin B12. Vitamin K plays an essential role in maintaining the health of our bones and how the blood clots. Without adequate vitamin K, which is synthesised by bacteria in the gut, the bones become brittle and weak, liable to fracture, and more likely to cause bone and joint pain. Vitamin B12 is also synthesised in the gut, but many older adults have difficulty creating sufficient amounts to meet daily needs, while also facing problems with the absorption of B12 from dietary sources. This nutrient is essential for the proper function of the nerves and the brain, with serious cognitive deficits and neurological issues arising in people who are B12 deficient. Beneficial bacteria supplements, such as Healthy Trinity from Natren Probiotics, support the body in producing B vitamins and vitamin K in the gut, while enhancing the health of the intestinal lining. This means that the body is better able to absorb nutrients such as calcium from food, helping to keep bones and teeth strong as we age. Probiotics and Collagen Some Lactobacillus strains have also been associated with increases in enzymes involved in collagen production (Moorthy et al., 2007). Although the research is currently in its infancy, it may be that certain probiotics can help slow down the degeneration of collagen and connective tissue, helping to maintain healthy joints and healthy-looking skin as we age. Probiotics, Inflammation and Free Radical Damage Lactobacillus acidophilus, one of the strains in Healthy Trinity, and also offered by Natren Probiotics as a single-strain supplement, has even been associated with reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in a model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In fact, one study found that a combination of L. casei and L. acidophilus provided better protection for the joints than indomethacin, a drug used to manage RA. So, not only do probiotics help support overall health by keeping the gut happy, they may also help slow down the aging process in a variety of ways. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, as found in Natren Probiotics, can help keep us looking and feeling younger by supporting better control of inflammation, better absorption and synthesis of nutrients like vitamin B12 that are associated with cognitive decline, and by staving off damage from free radicals that causes visible signs of aging in the skin as well as deeper effects of aging in the arteries, joints and other tissues. References Amdekar S, Singh V, Kumar A, Sharma P, Singh R. (2013). Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus regulate inflammatory pathway and improve antioxidant status in collagen-induced arthritic rats. J Interferon Cytokine Res, Jan;33(1):1-8. Moorthy G, Murali MR, Devaraj SN. (2007). Protective role of lactobacilli in Shigella dysenteriae 1-induced diarrhea in rats. Nutrition, May;23(5):424-33.