Drosophila fed probiotics and herbal supplements have their lives prolonged by up to 60%
Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University (Montreal, Canada) may have unravelled an age-old mystery. They were able to extend the lifespan of fruit flies and protect them against age-related diseases by feeding them a diet of probiotics and a herbal supplement called Triphala. The results, published in Scientific Reports, add to the mounting pile of evidence that the microbiome is responsible for more of human health and wellbeing than originally thought.
Two groups of flies were tested. One group was fed a diet enriched with probiotics and Triphala, and the other acted as a control. The first group lived, on average, 26 days longer – to 66 days. They also performed better in tests designed to assess the traits of aging.
Satya Prakash is one of the authors of the study and thinks these results are due to interactions with the microbiomes of the flies.
“Probiotics dramatically change the architecture of the gut microbiota, not only in its composition but also in respect to how the foods that we eat are metabolized. This allows a single probiotic formulation to simultaneously act on several biochemical signalling pathways to elicit broad beneficial physiological effects, and explains why the single formulation we present in this paper has such a dramatic effect on so many different markers.”
Prakash is also optimistic about the potential application to the human microbiome.
“The effects in humans would likely not be as dramatic, but our results definitely suggest that a diet specifically incorporating Triphala along with these probiotics will promote a long and healthy life.”
The idea of combining Triphala with probiotics as a dietary supplement was conjured by co-author Susan Westfall. It came from a fascination she had for natural Indian medicines and their potential therapeutic benefits.
“At the onset of this study, we were hopeful that combining Triphala with probiotics would be at least a little better than their individual components in terms of physiological benefit, but we did not imagine how successful this formulation would be.”
Written By Alfie Gleeson
Updated 17 December, 2018
Source Westfall S, Lomis N, Prakash S. Longevity extension in Drosophila through gut-brain communication. Sci. Rep. 8 (1) doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25382-z (2018) https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/secret-longevity-microbiome-and-gut-287429