In humans, gut flora is established at one to two years after birth. By that time the intestinal epithelium and the intestinal mucosal barrier that it secretes have developed in a way that is tolerant to and supportive of the gut flora which also provides a barrier to pathogenic organisms. We speak with the experts at Gastropharm Ltd about how microflora influences our health and ages with us.
This established microflora stays with us for most of our adulthood, and begins to change as we grow older. There is no chronological threshold or age at which the composition of the microbiota suddenly alters; rather changes occur gradually with time. However the association between healthy aging and gut microbes has been well known since 1908, in a book with a self-explanatory title “The Prolongation of Life” by Elie Metchnikoff, Nobel prize winner. Healthy aging is accompanied by changes of the microbial populations residing in the gut as well as its relationships with the host’s immune system.
See also: How to Treat Bowel Incontinence
During the aging process, many changes occur in the intestinal microflora due to the reduction of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria and to a slower intestinal transit. This results in a reduced production of short chain fatty acids—the most important nourishment of the colonic mucosa. This is just one of the ways the aging of microflora influences our health; these changes cause a physiological decrease in immune defenses and of the protection from microorganisms that would harm the host, such as yeasts and C.difficile. C.difficile-associated colitis is a common infection in hospitalized elderlies and has a major impact on life expectancy.
The gut flora may contribute also to the regulation of many neurochemical pathways. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can metabolize glutamate to produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) involved in the control of anxiety, depression and maintenance of cognitive processes.
Without beneficial or ‘good’ bacteria, we simply could not function properly. Not only do these bacteria play and essential role in the digestion of food, extracting energy from undigested carbohydrates, they also help support our immune system and prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines. Ongoing studies confirm how microflora influences our health in various beneficial ways. A “good flora” is the best defence against undesired weight gains, fatty liver, irritable bowel diseases, cognitive impairment and even some autoimmune diseases.
See also: Health Benefits of Probiotics
Restoring the balance
Due to the fact that microflora influences our health for the better, restoring the balance of the microflora is therefore essential in restoring gut health. This is achieved by repopulating the gut with “healthy” bacteria. Nowadays this is best achieved by taking probiotics, but it is important to choose the right probiotic.
Two types of bacteria in particular have been identified as important to human wellbeing, lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
Choosing the right probiotic
When choosing which probiotic to take there are two main considerations:
- Concentration or numbers of bacteria
- Number of strains, or different types of bacteria
Many commonly taken probiotics typically purchased in supermarkets contain only 10 billion bacteria and a single strain in each serving.
As the human gut contains trillions of bacteria it is important to take one that is both concentrated and with sufficient numbers of strains. All probiotics need to be taken regularly since probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonise the gut.
- Vivomixx® is the world’s most concentrated probiotic
- Each sachet of Vivomixx contains 450 billion bacteria and 8 carefully selected strains.
- Vivomixx is the genuine formulation has been the subject of over 185 publications over many years, and is available in both sachet and capsule form.
A randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial in a Geriatric Hospital, has shown that in 215 orthopedic rehabilitation patients the incidence of laxative use (as an indicator of constipation severity) was significantly lower in the group treated with the product (p=0.032) compared with the control group.
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