Probiotics, Herbal Medicine, and Microbiome Work Together to Increase Lifespan

Changes in gut bacteria have been connected to the onset of age-related illnesses and chronic diseases, and research suggests that addressing the microbiome as part of the gut–brain axis (GBA) could be a treatment approach for some age-related diseases. Scientists at McGill University in Montreal have now demonstrated that combining a probiotic formulation with a herbal supplement used in traditional Indian medicine can increase the lifespan of male Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies by 60%, protect against age-related inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, and improve mitochondrial function. probiotic herbal supplement

The researchers, led by Satya Prakash, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, hope that the combination of probiotics and the prebiotic Triphala formulation will aid in the prevention and treatment of human disorders ranging from diabetes and obesity to neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and possibly cancer. They’ve already filed a provisional patent in the United States and established a corporation to continue R&D. “While the effects in humans are unlikely to be as dramatic, our findings strongly imply that a diet rich in Triphala and probiotics will promote a long and healthy life,” adds Dr. Prakash. probiotic herbal supplement

In a study titled “Longevity Extension in Drosophila via Gut-Brain Communication,” the McGill experiments and findings are published in Scientific Reports.

The scientists claim that while no single hypothesis can adequately explain the processes involved in aging, calorie restriction is the most “robust and experimentally validated technique” for prolonging longevity in model organisms. This indicates that how we digest nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is important for aging and longevity. While age-related changes in gut microbiota composition vary by individual, the authors conclude that “aging subjects have a decline in the phyla Firmicutes, elevation in Bacteriodetes, reduction of Bifidobacteria spp., elevation in the proinflammatory Proteobacteria accompanied by a decline in overall diversity, which is associated with various health risks and fraility.” probiotic herbal supplement

The GBA is a two-way communication system between gut signaling and the brain, in which bacterial cells and metabolites send metabolic, immunological, endocrine, and neurological signals directly to the brain. The gut microbiota has recently been discovered as a candidate for therapeutic intervention against age-related disorders via this axis, according to the scientists. In mice and the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, particular strains of probiotic bacteria have been found to help manage symptoms of neurodegeneration, improve immunity, reduce low-grade inflammation, and extend lifespan. “Clearly, lesser creatures’ prolongation methods resemble mammals’, making Drosophila melanogaster an excellent model for evaluating the influence of probiotic therapy on longevity and aging mechanisms.” probiotic herbal supplement

The McGill team gave separate or combination probiotic and synbiotic formulations to the flies’ normal diet and counted the number of living flies everyday for 30 days to evaluate the effects of their combined probiotic and synbiotic formulation on D. melanogaster longevity. Two Latobacillus and one Bifidobacteria strain were used in the probiotic formulation, while Triphala (TFLA), a polyphenol-rich prebiotic herbal supplement, is made from amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki fruits, which are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. probiotic herbal supplement

Drosophila flies fed the control diet had a maximum lifespan of 40 days, whereas flies fed a diet containing either a probiotic or TFLA had a 14- to 16-day increase in longevity, and flies fed the probiotic or symbiotic (probiotic plus TFLA) formulations had a 24- to 26-day increase in longevity. Treatment with either the probiotic or symbiotic formulations resulted in lower overall weight in aging flies, as well as better glucose management, which increased 2.5-fold in 30 day-old control flies. The synbiotic formulation outperformed any of the individual probiotics or TFLA alone in lowering age-related glucose rises. The authors add, “Notably, both the probiotic and synbiotic formulations entirely reversed the rise in total glucose by day 30.” By day 30, total triglyceride levels in untreated controls had increased 1.7-fold, whereas total triglyceride levels in probiotic and synbiotic formulations had been lowered to the level of newly hatched flies. probiotic herbal supplement

Further research revealed that probiotics and TFLA had a favorable effect on insulin-like signaling in aged flies. While individual probiotic formulations and TFLA had beneficial impacts on insulin signaling pathways, the probiotic and synbiotic formulation had “combinatorial effects on restoring the underlying insulin signaling dysfunction in aging Drosophila,” according to the researchers. Supplementation with the probiotic and synbiotic formulation enhanced fatty acid metabolism in aging male flies, and both the probiotic and synbiotic formulations reduced age-related elevations in inflammatory markers to a greater extent than individual probiotics or TFLA alone. probiotic herbal supplement

The elderly Drosophila flies had significantly higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as an age-related rise in total oxidants and lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels, as well as significant declines in superoxidase dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity. At day 30, probiotic or synbiotic food supplementation resulted in lower total oxidant levels. The synbiotic and probiotic formulations, in particular, reversed the otherwise 42 percent to 50% declines in GPx and SOD activity detected in control flies as they aged. By day 30, synbiotic and probiotic formulations have also reduced age-related increases in LPO. “Once again, the synbiotic formulation had a much greater impact than the probiotic formulation or any of the individual therapies, and it was the only group that was able to reduce LPO levels when compared to the day 0 controls.” probiotic herbal supplement

In control flies, mitochondrial function deteriorated with age, as seen by decreased activity in each of the four mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes, according to the researchers’ findings. The addition of probiotic or synbiotic formulations to the animals’ diets resulted in improvements in ETC complex activity, “which is very significant in demonstrating how a probiotic treatment can influence mitochondrial complex integrity and, as a result, the production of ROS particles,” according to the authors. probiotic herbal supplement

According to the authors, as people age, their bodies become less capable of dealing with environmental stimuli, which result in imbalances such as inflammation, oxidative stress, metabolic dysregulation, and mitochondrial damage. There will almost certainly never be a singular pharmacological or dietary treatment for any age-related chronic illness. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota through the use of probiotic and prebiotic supplements, on the other hand, may assist to delay the onset of chronic disease and extend longevity by simultaneously affecting several aging triggers, according to the authors. “A novel synbiotic formulation that improves longevity was created in the present investigation by combining an improved probiotic formulation containing three functional bacteria with a novel polyphenol-rich prebiotic Triphala,” they write. “The gut microbiota’s simultaneous impact on each of the primary aging risk factors makes it a potent treatment strategy for neurodegeneration, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other age-related chronic diseases.”

The researchers go on to say that a better understanding of how gut microbiota and probiotic treatments affect aging metabolic pathways could aid in the development of particular formulations that, if taken early in life, could prevent chronic disease development.

“Probiotics modify the architecture of the gut microbiota dramatically, not just in terms of composition but also in terms of how meals are processed,” adds Dr. Prakash. “This explains why the one formulation we provide in this work has such a dramatic effect on so many various markers, as it acts simultaneously on numerous biochemical signaling pathways to trigger wide favorable physiological effects.”

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