1 | ANTIOXIDANTS AND LONGEVITY
A number of functional foods with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, including omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics, and bioactive compounds, have been found to slow the process of aging. A growing body of evidence suggests that antioxidative and anti-inflammatory diets can reduce oxidative stress and influence epigenetic factors, leading to improved longevity. Recent studies including both human and animal models have shown benefits from and addition of antioxidants and certain dietary interventions.
2 | THE ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTY OF PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are known for their many beneficial health effects, and the consumption of probiotics alone or in food shows that strain-specific probiotics can present antioxidant activity and reduce damages caused by oxidation.
Many probiotic strains have actually been shown to exhibit strong antioxidant properties. In a paper published recently in the journal Antioxidants, C. elegan worms were given probiotic lactobacillus plantarum for a period of time and results show a lifespan increase of 27.81% on average. This whopping increase in longevity was accompanied with better aging-associated biomarkers, such as physical functions, and reduced fat accumulation. Furthermore, the expression of antioxidative and anti-pathogenic genes was upregulated in the worm species, and gut integrity was improved.
More surprisingly, the learning and memory of worms trained on the probiotic was improved. On a deeper level, the production of reactive oxygen species was reduced and mitochondrial function was improved. This had the result of reducing apoptosis in the worms, which essentially means that all cellular function and self-rejuvenation of cells in their body was optimized.
Human studies have shown that external factors such as malnutrition, smoking and sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact upon the aging process. The aforementioned factors all produce oxidative stress effects (the polar opposite of antioxidants!) and increase free radicals and toxins in the bloodstream and overall microbiome.
In conclusion probiotics show the potential to modulate the host microbiome via complex antioxidant systems, regulating signaling pathways, increasing production of beneficial enzymes, and balancing internal microbiota.