Since our pimple-ridden teenage years, we’ve all been taught that bacteria is the evil source of our most embarrassing skin problems. But there’s a new type of bacteria in town that’s good, not only for your complexion, but also for reversing and lessening the signs of aging: probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Your body is home to more than 100 trillion microorganisms. Most live in a symbiotic relationship with you, helping you perform everyday tasks such as digesting food and nutrients. Together, these microorganisms make up the human microbiome.
The colony of microorganisms located in your digestive system is called your gut microbiota. When your gut microbiota isn’t healthy, you aren’t healthy. Probiotics are helpful bacteria and yeasts that can be introduced into your body to help your existing microorganisms. They are either the same as the microorganisms already present in your body or very similar. Many people take probiotics to get their gut microbiota back on track after experiencing digestive issues or finishing a round of antibiotics.
Are Probiotics the Fountain of Youth?
There are so many amazing health benefits to taking probiotics (To learn more about probiotics please visit activatedyou), including their anti-aging effects. Researchers are now finding that probiotics may be the key to undoing some of the damage that happens to your skin, brain, bones, and body as you age.
Here are some of the ways science has proven that probiotics help you defy aging:
1. Probiotics May Give You More Youthful Skin
Your skin is one of the first areas of your body that begins to look old. Aging skin starts to thin, and sagging and wrinkling can occur. There are many reasons for skin aging, including environmental and genetic factors. The sun is one of the most significant sources of skin damage, which is why daily sunscreen use is so imperative.
Probiotics have been found to have anti-aging effects on the skin. They can even heal some of the damage done by the sun. The sun damages your skin because of its ultra-violet (UV) radiation. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2010 focused on the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonii. This ten-week study showed that
taking probiotics daily helped decrease UV damage to skin in healthy women.
Probiotics have also been shown to decrease wrinkles and dry skin. Korean research from 2015 showed that taking the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum daily helped participants lessen the effects of skin aging. Researchers measured wrinkle depth, skin gloss and skin elasticity—all of these conditions were improved after participants took the probiotic daily for a 12-week period.
2. Probiotics Improve Cognition for Alzheimer’s Patients
An estimated five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, most of whom are elderly. This condition is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain, causing patients to experience cognitive decline, including memory loss and a loss of critical thinking skills.
Taking probiotics has been found to improve cognitive function for Alzheimer’s patients. A 2016 study from Kashan University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that Alzheimer’s patients scored better on a memory test after being given a probiotic supplement. Researchers think probiotics may have improved patients’ cognition because of their role in metabolism.
3. Probiotics Help Stop Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation occurs when your immune system tries to fight against infection, toxins or injuries. Chronic low-grade inflammation has been shown to increase with aging. Many health conditions are associated with inflammation, such as Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.
Probiotics have been shown to help halt inflammation. A 2014 study of rheumatoid arthritis patients found that taking a daily capsule of the probiotic Lactobacillus casei decreased inflammation. Less inflammation could lead to less of the diseases and pains associated with aging.
4. Probiotics Can Help Prevent Bone Loss
Throughout your life, your body reabsorbs old bone material and creates new bone. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when your body doesn’t make enough new bone, reabsorbs too much old bone or both. An estimated 54 million Americans have osteoporosis.
Probiotics can help your body metabolize calcium to stop bone loss. A study of 20 postmenopausal women was published in the European Journal of Medicine. Researchers studied the effects of milk fermented with the probiotic Lactobacillus helveticus. They found that taking the probiotic effectively increased calcium metabolism for study participants.
5. Probiotics Encourage a Diverse Gut Microbiota
As we age, our gut microbiota becomes less diverse. Having a less diverse microbiota has been associated with a decline in health. Health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity have been associated with a less diverse gut microbiota. The odds of getting these conditions increase with age. By taking probiotics, you can introduce helpful microorganisms into your gut microbiota and promote diversity. This can make your gut microbiota more youthful, keeping you healthier.
Although, as we age, nature intends for us to become relatively slower and weaker than we were in our youth, that doesn’t mean we can’t live a vibrant life after retirement! Probiotics continue to show promise as a natural remedy to the effects of aging, and considering their multiple benefits for health, it might not be a bad idea to start incorporating them into our daily lives.