The Microbiome and Ageing: Gut Health Supplement For The Over 60’s
Jul 05, 2023
The gut microbiome, a complex ecosystem teeming with trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, has evolved with humans over thousands of years and is crucial to our overall health. This ecosystem plays a vital role in nutrition, immunity, and gut health. However, research has shown that this ecosystem undergoes significant changes as we age, particularly in adults over 60. These changes have broad implications for the health and well-being of the elderly.
Here at JUVIA, we value health and the elderly are among the most vulnerable when it comes to diminishing health. We firmly believe that improving your gut health has the means to improve your overall health and a growing body of evidence is supporting our theory.
In this article, we look at the way your gut microbiome changes with age, the potential consequence of this and how you can take steps to improve your gut health. Of course, we believe that taking JUVIA is an important and positive step toward taking control of your gut health and we recommend that everyone tries it.
Changes in the Gut Microbiome with Age
The gut microbiome remains relatively stable throughout adulthood, but dramatic shifts begin to occur as we age. A landmark 2012 study noted that the diversity of the gut microbiota decreased in long-term residential care individuals compared to community dwellers. This study suggests that not only age but also lifestyle and diet could play a significant role in the changes observed in the gut microbiome.
This is because those living in residential care facilities tend to share the same lifestyle habits, particularly diet, as they frequently eat the same foods off of the same menu. This gives researchers insight into the effect of those diets on the gut microbiome and potential medical conditions that may be impacted by it.
The main shifts in the microbiome as we age include a decrease in beneficial Bifidobacteria and an increase in potentially harmful Proteobacteria. Other changes include an increase in the Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes ratio and an overall decrease in microbiome diversity. All of these shifts can influence the overall functionality of the gut microbiome, impacting its ability to assist in digestion, produce vitamins, and regulate the immune system.
Conditions Associated with Changes in the Gut Microbiome
Quick takeaway: Science has found links between the gut microbiome and IBD, Alzheimer's disease, and frailty.
Research has revealed a correlation between changes in the gut microbiome and certain health conditions common in elderly adults. For instance, an imbalance in the gut microbiome, a condition known as dysbiosis, has been linked to a higher risk of frailty, cognitive decline, and certain inflammatory diseases.
While it is not necessarily a causal link, researchers believe that altering gut health may positively improve these conditions. More research is required, but thankfully, due to growing interest in this topic, science is actively investigating this phenomenon.
Frailty is a common condition in the elderly characterized by decreased physiological reserve and resistance to stressors. A study published in the journal Cell Reports noted that frail patients showed reduced gut microbiota diversity, with a lower proportion of beneficial bacteria.
Similarly, there is a growing body of evidence linking gut health to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. A 2017 review published in Frontiers in Immunology suggested that an imbalanced gut microbiome could trigger systemic inflammation, which might subsequently lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Moreover, the elderly are at an increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and gut dysbiosis has been observed in these patients. Research published in the Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2014) found a lower abundance of Firmicutes and a higher abundance of Proteobacteria in the gut microbiomes of IBD patients.
These findings signify that managing our gut health is of particular importance to overall health as we age.
Ageing, Gut Microbiome, and Cardiovascular Health
A rapidly growing body of evidence has been identifying the correlation between alterations in the gut microbiome and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is more common in the elderly. A 2020 study published in the European Heart Journal found that certain gut microbes metabolize dietary choline and carnitine into a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Elevated TMAO levels were associated with an increased risk of CVD, thus highlighting a possible connection between the gut microbiome and heart health in the elderly.
This highlights the importance of having the right balance of microbes in your gut. Too many of a particular strain, whether good or bad can have negative consequences like poor cardiovascular health.
Antibiotics and the Elderly Gut Microbiome
Another important consideration when discussing the ageing gut microbiome is the impact of antibiotics. Elderly individuals often have a higher exposure to antibiotics due to increased health complications and hospital stays. These antibiotics can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome, causing a decrease in beneficial bacteria and an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains. Studies show that antibiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiome can persist for months, possibly contributing to an increased risk of chronic diseases.
This really underpins the importance of prevention rather than cure, particularly as we get older. Looking after your gut health is central to overall health and this becomes even more important as we age. JUVIA really helps the friendly bacteria in your gut to thrive by depriving the unfriendly bacteria of their vital food source - carbohydrates.
Gut Microbiota and Bone Health
Another area of interest is the connection between the gut microbiome and bone health. Osteoporosis, a common condition in older adults, may be influenced by the gut microbiome. Research has found that gut microbiota changes, specifically a decrease in butyrate-producing bacteria, were associated with lower bone mineral density in older adults. This link suggests that improving gut health may be a novel strategy to manage osteoporosis in the elderly.
Microbiome and Mental Health in the Elderly
Research is also beginning to illuminate the link between the gut microbiome and mental health in older adults. This connection, often referred to as the gut-brain axis, can influence mood and behaviour. A study demonstrated a correlation between the diversity of the gut microbiome and depression in elderly individuals. This research opens new avenues for potential microbiota-targeted therapies in treating mental health disorders in the elderly population.
Before such research existed it was hard to fathom that your gut microbiome and therefore your diet, could have such a profound effect on your mental health, but the link is undeniable and raises questions about how far our gut goes to determine our overall health.
At JUVIA we take gut health very seriously because we believe that we can make a difference to your overall health. If you haven’t tried it already, it’s not too late to try.
Role of the Microbiome in Drug Metabolism
Interestingly, the gut microbiome plays a key role in drug metabolism, which can influence the effectiveness of medications, particularly in the elderly who tend to consume more medications.
Research has revealed that gut bacteria could alter the pharmacokinetics of certain drugs, affecting their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. This may cause variations in therapeutic outcomes, stressing the need to consider an individual’s microbiome composition when prescribing medications.
The Future of Gut Microbiome Research and Elderly Care
The rapidly evolving field of microbiome research holds significant potential for improving elderly care. It's becoming increasingly clear that managing gut health could play a critical role in preventing and treating various age-related diseases.
Recent advancements in technology, particularly in high-throughput sequencing, have enabled a more in-depth analysis of the gut microbiome. The development of machine learning algorithms is also promising for predicting microbiome-associated diseases. In the future, we may be able to create personalized microbiome-based therapeutic interventions, offering a new approach to promoting healthy ageing.
However, more extensive and well-controlled studies are needed to understand the complexities of the gut microbiome fully. The journey towards unravelling the mysteries of the microbiome is still in its infancy, and the findings to date have only skimmed the surface
Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) - A Potential Treatment For The Future.
Recently, faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has gained attention as a possible approach to rebalancing the gut microbiome. FMT involves transferring faecal bacteria from a healthy individual to a recipient, intending to recolonize the gut with beneficial microbes. Though primarily used to treat Clostridioides difficile infections, a common issue in elderly adults, researchers are exploring its potential benefits in addressing other age-related health conditions.
Improving Gut Health in Elderly Adults
Recognizing the link between the gut microbiome and age-related diseases has led to the exploration of ways to improve gut health in the elderly. The goal is to promote a diverse and balanced gut microbiome, which can be achieved through various methods, including diet, probiotics, prebiotics, and exercise.
Diet plays a vital role in shaping the gut microbiome. A high-fibre diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can nourish the gut microbiome and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. One study found that a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and fish, was associated with higher microbial diversity and lower risk of frailty and inflammatory diseases in the elderly.
Exercise, often overlooked, can also positively influence the gut microbiome. A further study found that regular, moderate exercise could increase the diversity of gut microbiota in elderly adults, promoting a healthier ageing process.
JUVIA, A Supplement To Aid Gut Health In The Elderly
JUVIA is a newly developed health supplement that is formulated especially to aid gut health. It is entirely plant-based and derives from enzyme-rich barley extract. JUVIA works by breaking down culprit carbohydrate foods, which the body often finds difficult to digest before they reach the gut.
The unfriendly bacteria in your gut survive on this carbohydrate as their predominant food source, so breaking them down before they reach your gut microbiome deprives them of their food supply and they die in number. This lets your friendly bacteria populate and thrive, bringing balance to your gut microbiome.
This is important because as we age we naturally produce fewer short-chain fatty acids, which are important for digestion, metabolism, protecting the lining of our intestines, and managing inflammation. These are often produced by friendly bacteria in your gut, so consuming JUVIA with your meals can really help keep our guts in good shape as we age.
Check out our FAQ specifically for the elderly at the bottom of this article.
Understanding the dynamics of the gut microbiome in elderly adults is a burgeoning field of research with enormous potential for improving elderly health and well-being. While the gut microbiome does undergo certain changes as we age, it is crucial to recognise that these changes are not inevitable and can be influenced by diet, exercise, and of course, taking JUVIA can really help.
However, it's important to note that each individual's microbiome is unique, and therefore, what works for one person might not work for another. Furthermore, more research is needed to fully understand the intricate connections between the gut microbiome, ageing, and age-related health. The more we learn about this fascinating inner ecosystem, the better equipped we will be to support healthy ageing and prolong the quality of life in the elderly.
It is JUVIA’s mission to improve the quality of life for everyone everywhere, and as we will all inevitably get older, we want to leave no stone unturned in improving overall health. We firmly believe that the earlier we start taking control over our gut health, the sooner we can enjoy better health and for longer.
FAQ for elderly JUVIA users
Does JUVIA work for the over 60’s?
Yes, simply yes. It works for everyone irrespective of age. It is never too late nor too early to start taking JUVIA. The sooner you begin your JUVIA journey, the sooner you can take control of your gut health.
Can I get JUVIA delivered to my house?
Yes, we deliver to all UK postcodes, and delivery is totally free. Just place your order on our website and leave the rest to us.
What is the importance of the microbiome for the elderly?
The microbiome is important to overall health for everyone at all stages of their lives, but generally speaking, we become more vulnerable to health conditions as we age, so it becomes increasingly important to take steps to improve and safeguard our microbiome health. That said, JUVIA is a fantastic and effortless way to keep your gut microbiome in good balance.
Can I take JUVIA alongside medication?
JUVIA is a plant-based supplement, not a medicine. We are unaware of any side effects or contraindications when taking medicines alongside JUVIA, however, it is best to speak to a medical professional before including JUVIA into your diet, especially if you are on strong medication or have a serious medical complaint.