According to a new Montréal study examining the lives of fruit flies, a daily dose of probiotics could have a positive impact on aging and longevity.
Researchers at McGill University first created a supplement that blended probiotics with an Indian herb known as Triphala. They then fed this mixture to half of the fruit flies in their study every day.
Amazingly, the flies that were fed the probiotics lived an average of 66 days. The group of flies who weren’t given the probiotics lived for about 26 days.
Not only did the flies in the probiotics group live longer, they also had a reduced risk for various age-related conditions. Investigators found that these flies had fewer signs of inflammation and insulin resistance compared with the control fruit flies.
Scientists often use fruit flies in human aging research because they have a chromosomal structure that closely resembles the human body. While it’s not certain what would happen to humans fed this probiotic blend, it’s likely we would derive many of the same health benefits.
This study is yet another in the growing body of evidence that gut bacteria (aka the gut microbiome) has a tremendous impact on our overall well-being. Health experts point out that the microbes living in our gut have a direct influence on the quality of our mental health as well as our susceptibility to numerous diseases.
For those who don’t know, Triphala is an herb used in traditional Indian healing that blends together three fruits: haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki. Indian healers have often used Triphala to combat cancer, improve weight loss, and help with arthritis. Due to the herb’s rich polyphenol-count, researchers thought it would be a good addition to their probiotic supplement.
Susan Westfall, who formerly studied at McGill and now works at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine, was the lead author of this study. Two other key researchers on this project include Drs. Nikita Lomis and Satya Prakash.
All three of these authors are now working on a US-based company that might soon manufacture and sell this brand of probiotics. Researchers are hopeful these probiotics will help not only increase a person’s longevity, but also reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and cancer.
The journal Scientific Reports published this study under the title, “Longevity extension in Drosophila through gut-brain communication.”