Skip to comments.Microbiome: Cultural differences
Posted on 12/08/2012 4:52:31 PM PST by neverdem
Studies of gut bacteria are beginning to untangle how diet affects health in old age but determining cause and effect is tricky.
Almost everything about eating gets more difficult with age. Elderly people typically cannot taste or smell as well as they used to, decreasing the appeal of some foods. Dental issues or a dry mouth can impede chewing; loss of muscle tone in the pharynx can make swallowing difficult; constipation and the side effects of medication can make digestion uncomfortable; and decreased mobility makes a chore of grocery shopping or cooking complex meals. Little wonder that older people eat an increasingly narrow range of foods. But can this, in itself, adversely affect health?
Could a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fish and fresh fruit, lead to a healthy microbiome in old age?
Recent research shows that diet influences the composition of the gut microbiome the bacterial community in our intestines in the elderly. In July, a group of researchers, mostly based in Ireland, published1 the largest study so far of the microbiome in an elderly population. The data indicate that the frailest older people tend to harbour similar intestinal microbial communities. More provocatively, the study also suggests that this microbial make-up is driven by a diet high in fat and lacking in fibre, and that a decline in our microbial community underlies ill health as we grow old.
The conclusion is controversial, as many scientists say these associations can go the other way. An individual's health, and thus the state of his or her immune system, can also affect the gut microbiota and drive eating habits.
One thing on which everyone agrees, however, is the value of finding out how to alter the microbiome in our favour. The potential is enormous, especially the idea of...,
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
This is still a terribly new study, but intestinal flora may someday be a key element to a long and healthy life, and avoiding infections, both that cause acute problems, and those that may cause long term problems.
I like the immunology angle.
Nothing like getting a poop transplant.
I’ve been doing a lot of studying in this regard lately and as a result have added many fermented foods to my diet in the past few months.
Home made kombucha, sour pickles, fremented radishes, lemons and kefir made with raw whole milk. Fermented homemade mayo, sour cream, cream cheese. Getting ready to try saurkraut, preserving with just salt, water and time.
You need to introduce these types of foods slowly though as they are detoxifying and aging folks particularly will probably need to adjust slowly.
Think about preserving food and how they must have done it worldwide prior to refrigeration.