PRP Blog

  • 7 Ways On How To Help Keep a Healthy Heart

    7 things to help keep a healthy heart
  • 6 Nutrition & Supplement Tips For Better Sex Health

    nutrition supplements sexual health
  • Colds, sniffles, sneezing and the flu

    The winter months often are often associated as the time of year when we are more susceptible to coughs and colds. The common cold is one of the most widespread illnesses and is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and absenteeism from school and work. Although there has never been a definitive explanation why we might be more at risk during the colder months, there are some evidence-based recommendations as to how we can reduce either the number of colds we encounter or how long they last. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the fact and fiction of some of the most popular supplements for the cold season.

    Probiotics

    Inside our body are trillions of bacteria that can have an impact on our immune system. Probiotics are bacteria that, when taken in adequate amounts, offer health benefits to the body. Studies have shown that probiotics have the ability to help stimulate our immune function and so could possibly help reduce the risk of getting a cold. However, different products use different types of bacteria and use different doses so if you are considering taking probiotic supplements then it is important to find one that has been shown to be effective in scientific studies. For example, when children took ProVen Fit For School daily for a period of six months, absenteeism was reduced by 30% compared to a placebo group1.

     

    Vitamin C

    One of the most popular and well-known supplements for colds, vitamin C is known as an essential vitamin because humans cannot produce it in the body nor can we store it. We have to a make sure that we get enough through our diets. In health populations, vitamin C has not been rigorously shown to reduce our chances of catching a cold but has been shown to reduce the duration of colds1. Plus, in athletes, who are at an increased risk of illness, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of catching a cold by about a half2. Research has used anywhere between 200-2000mg of vitamin C in studies.

     

     

    Zinc

    Zinc is an essential mineral involved in regulating many enzymes. It is an antioxidant and immune-boosting supplement that is most commonly supplemented to reduce the frequency of illness. Although zinc deficiencies can be rare, zinc is lost through sweat, making supplementation important for athletes that don’t get a lot of zinc through food. A review in 2012 found that zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. When supplemented for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence, school absenteeism and prescription of antibiotics in children4.

    Supplemental doses range from 5-45mg, although the upper limit is often for those who have a large deficiency.

     

    Conclusion

    While the cure for the common cold has eluded scientist for centuries, we do have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to helping relieve the symptoms. As a word of warning, more is not always better when it comes to supplement doses so be careful to read the packaging. This goes for pregnant women as well who should note that many supplements have not been specifically studied during pregnancy – again, be sure to read the label.

    Finally, it is not just about supplements and herbal remedies. Remember to take a common sense approach and think about these other steps, which have been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu:

    • Wash your hands. Use disinfectant wipes on telephone and computer keyboards to prevent the transfer of viruses.
    • Avoid close contact with sick people. And stay home if you have a cough and fever. Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or the crook of your arm.
    • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep-deprived volunteers in one study mustered half the immune response to a flu shot compared with those getting normal sleep.
    • Eating well, exercising regularly, and reducing stress may also bolster immunity.
    • If you smoke, quit. Smokers are vulnerable to the flu and its complications.

     

    References:

    1)    Garaiova, I., Muchová, J., Nagyová, Z., Wang, D., Li, J. V., Országhová, Z., … & Ďuračková, Z. (2014). Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool: a randomised controlled pilot study. European journal of clinical nutrition.

    2)    Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Library.

    4)    Singh, M., & Das, R. R. (2012). Cochrane Review: Zinc for the common cold. EvidenceBased Child Health: A Cochrane Review Journal7(4), 1235-1308.

  • Vitamin D FAQ

    What is Vitamin D?

    Vitamin D (also referred to as Cholecalciferol) is a fat-soluble vitamin. Recent research has identified that many tissues throughout the body contain receptors for vitamin D, highlighting the whole-body effect it most likely has.

     

    Why do I need vitamin D?

    The government has taken the unprecedented move of recommending supplementation of vitamin D for everybody”!

    Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen an increase in the number of cases of rickets amongst children in the UK and similarly of osteomalacia (or soft bones) in adults. It is this change that prompted the government to investigate the need for supplementation and to make these latest recommendations. Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.

     

    Does Vitamin D have any other benefits besides those for bone health?

    Vitamin D has also been linked to the normal function of muscles in athletes, impacting protein synthesis and in turn muscle strength.

    Vitamin D also boosts the production of immune cells, so has an important role in fighting and preventing illness.

     

    How much do I need and how do I get it?

    UK goevernment recommendations have been applied to babies 0-3 and children aged 4-11 as well as older children and adults – 10μg is the recommended dose for all of these age groups.

    The primary source of vitamin D is bright sunshine on the skin (face, arms and neck), but in the UK it is not possible to get the required amount of sunshine in the autumn and winter months for the skin to be able to make adequate vitamin D to maintain sufficient levels in the body.

    Three quarters of all adults believe that they get enough vitamin D through their food and there is no need to do anything else.

    Whilst some vitamin D is available through diet, the amounts are limited, with one egg containing around 40IU and the recommended dose of 10μg being equivalent to 400IU – we would need to eat 10-12 eggs per day to achieve the vitamin D intake the government is now recommending! Other food sources include oily fish, such as salmon, liver and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals.

     

    Do you need vitamin K when supplementing with vitamin D?

    While there has been some suggestions that vitamin D supplementation can be harmful without vitamin K, there is no evidence to support this.

    One of the purported benefits of adding vitamin K is the reduced risk of blood vessel calcification. However, while blood vessel calcification might be associated with toxic levels of vitamin D, these levels are rare. Even when toxic concentrations of vitamin D have been found, blood vessel calcification was only found in less than 10% of those individuals. While vitamin K does appear to be beneficial to our health, it is not necessarily needed with vitamin D supplementation.

     

    The PRP Vitamin D range now includes tablets, sprays and chewables. So there is no excuse for not getting your required Vitamin D

  • Omega 3 - FAQ

    Have you got questions about fish oils and omega 3? Over the years, we have been asked about a number of things, so we’ve put this blog together with some of the most frequently asked questions. Your questions not here? Contact us and we’ll get an answer to you.

     

    Q) Which Ones, Who For, How Much, How Long?

    There are only two truly essential Fatty Acids, these are:
    1) Linoleic acid – omega 6
    (Corn oil, Sunflower oil, nuts, cereals, avocado, rapeseed, palm oil hidden oils in crisps for example)
    2) Alpha linolenic acid – omega 3
    (Fish oil, Flaxseed oil)

    Theoretically all other fatty acids essential for health can be synthesised in the body.

    Our bodies are able to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, however this process is very inefficient. You would need to take 20-40g of flaxseed oil /day to oil to deliver just 1g EPA/DHA. This is a huge amount of Flaxseed oil, to produce a relatively small amount of EPA/DHA.

    Also most health benefits associated with increased intake of EPA/DHA not ALA, which makes things even more difficult, hence the need to supplement with EPA/DHA so there is no need for conversion.

    Q) Fats have numerous important roles to play in the body, what are they?

    1) Energy source
    2) Major component of all cell membranes (numerous derivative functions and effects)
    3) Precursors for eicosanoid production (eicosanoids are extremely important in how the body deals with inflammation)

    Omega 3 is known as nature’s anti-inflammatory, generally it is easy to remember the following when thinking about your diet or supplements.

    Omega 6 are generally pro-inflammatory
    Omega 3 are generally anti-inflammatory

     

    Q) What are the benefits of omega-3?

    1) Structural/Physiological
    Foetal, infant, neural system and brain development.
    Cognitive function improvement (children & adults).

    2) Anti-inflammatory/Physiological
    Reduction in risk and progression of CVD (cardio vascular disease).

    3) Anti-inflammatory
    Modulation of inflammatory response and chronic inflammatory diseases.

    4) Anti-inflammatory/structural/physiological
    Potential improvement in mental disorders.

     

    The importance of Fatty Acids is evident even before birth, so this is not just something which gains in importance as we develop and go through our lives. As a developing foetus fatty acids are crucial in laying down the foundations for future development. The accumulation of Fatty Acids in Infant Brain are so important.

    60% by weight of brain at birth is lipid
    18% of total fatty acids (11% brain weight) is DHA
    12% of total fatty acids (8% brain weight) is AA

    Brain cell division, brain growth and fatty acid deposition occurs substantially in third trimester of pregnancy (400 – 500% growth)
    From birth to 3 months of age, DHA and AA accumulation continues at same level. This is time of maximum neural development with synaptic development, myelination and cell growth (but not division) in brain stem and spinal cord.
    DHA continues to accumulate in brain and neural tissue up to 2 years of age, and then at a much slower rate into adulthood. (Martinez 1999 Carlson 2001)

    – In pregnancy, DHA and AA must be obtained from maternal bloodflow. The placenta preferentially selects AA and DHA
    – If DHA is deficient, AA and then docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) is laid down
    – It is possible to replace DHA or AA by dietary supplementation in deficient individuals while brain is developing.
    – As adults the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids become more and more evident and relevant depending on the way you lead your life.

    Q) What Are The Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Inflammatory Response ?

    It has recently been recognised that omega 3 fatty acids affect the inflammatory response by activity at four different levels – omega 3 fatty acids are unique within fats and any other nutrients in producing these effects.

     

    Q) Are Omega 3’s important in any other areas?

    Omega 3 fatty acids are also extremely important in Cardiovascular health. This is an area where these supplements are possibly better known. Clinical evidence supports the role of omega-3 in following aspects of CVD risk

     

    Q) What is the recommended daily intake of Omega-3?

    1991* – Minimum level of ALA necessary to prevent deficiency 0.56g
    Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.1g
    1994** – Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.2g
    2004*** – Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.45g
    *Report of Health Committee on Medical Aspects of Nutrition Policy (COMA)
    ** COMA Update
    ***SACN/COT

     

    Q) How much omega-3 is in the typical British diet ?

    Total Omega-3 in British diet:
    Men 2.3g Women 1.7g
    (Henderson et al 2003)

    EPA + DHA (Estimate)
    Oily fish eaters (27%) – 244mg
    White fish eaters – 113mg
    Non-fish eaters – 46mg
    (Givens & Gibbs 2006)

     

    Q) So where does our Omega 3 come from? Omega-3 rich oils —Sources and Types

    Plant oil
    Flaxseed oil (50-60%)
    Soybean oil (7-8%)
    Rape oil (9.6%)
    α- linolenic acid (ALA)

    Fish oil
    Oily fish 1g/100g fish
    White fish 1g/Kg fish

     

    Q) Important Question – how much EPA/DHA do we need??

    Everyday maintenance – 500-1000mg/day
    Prevention – 1000-1500mg/day
    Therapy – 2500-5000mg/day

    The Total Amount of EPA/DHA Is More Important Than The Ratio

    Most fish we eat is higher in DHA than EPA, whereas most fish oil is higher in EPA than DHA.
    Most research is concluding that presence of both EPA and DHA is more beneficial than a heavy predominance of one over the other.
    The combined level of EPA/DHA is more important than the ratio.
    Fish Oil supplements vary enormously in potency so look at the EPA/DHA level – even from an economic point of view!!

     

    Q) What are the advantages of Omega 3 fish oil supplements

    Fish oil supplements are less contaminated.
    Fish oil supplements offer opportunity for adequate daily dose of omega-3! Functional foods generally don’t!
    Unless you are eating a large portion oily fish 3 times per week, you are not getting the minimum recommended level of EPA/DHA.
    Everyone needs to take fish oil!!
    Some people need more!!
    No one needs to take more than 4 teaspoons per day!!*

    One of the key and important factors in your choice of which fish oil to choose to buy is very often how ‘natural’ the oil is and what kind of quality it is? These questions, are both very sensible questions to ask.

    Our PRP fish oil is the ‘Triglyceride oil’ which means the EPA/DHA is standardised in a certain way which is thought to be more ‘natural’. Also, instead of using alcohol in this process, we use enzymes which are much closer to nature.

     

    Check out the full PRP Omega 3 range

     

  • Probiotics FAQ

    Have you got questions about probiotics? Over the years, we have been asked about a number of things, so we’ve put this blog together with some of the most frequently asked questions. Your questions not here? Contact us and we’ll get an answer to you.

    Q – What are they?

    Each person has a small world inside of them. We have as many bacterial cells in our body (mostly in our digestive system) as we do human cells. These bacteria can have an enormous impact on a number of health measures. Probiotics are bacterial species that have been studied and shown to have health benefits when consumed.

     

    Q – What are the benefits of probiotics?

    More and more research is being carried out each year as the benefits of probiotics are tested. Current research shows that probiotics could have benefits for;

    • Digestion and absorption
    • Mental health conditions
    • Allergies
    • Immune function
    • ISB
    • Traveler’s diarrhea

     

    Q – How do they work?

    There are a number of mechanisms by which probiotics have been suggested to improve health.

    They can directly modulate our immune system and can boost immune cells including natural killer cells, the Iga-producing cells as well as T lymphocytes.

    They have an antimicrobial action. They produce antimicrobial substances and also compete with pathogens to adhere to the lining of our digestive system.

    They can improve the intestinal barrier. Within our digestive tract, the lining of cells are held together by structural proteins. This barrier prevents certain substances and compounds from entering our circulation. Probiotics can enhance this barrier, as well as increase the mucosal layer which covers it.

    Probiotics can also increase the amount of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in our digestive system. These have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.

     

    Q – Are they all the same?

    If you look at the label of a probiotic product you will see the name of the bacterial strain that the product uses. For example, in our probiotic products we use the strains:

    Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 60

    Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 21

    Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis CUL 34

    Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL 20

     

    The names are made up of the bacteria genus (e.g. Lactobacillus), species (e.g. acidophilus) and strain (e.g. CUL 60).

    While some bacterial strains can have similar mechanisms and health benefits (particularly if they are the same species), some of the benefits have been shown to be strain specific.

     

    Q – Which ones and how much?

    Because many of the benefits are strain specific, it is important to select the right probiotic. In general, it has been found that those with more than one strain and species are more beneficial than those with a single strain and those that have strains from the Lactobacillus species appear to be the most effective (Chang et al., 2017). There have not been many studies that have looked at optimal doses of probiotics. However, a minimum of 10 billion CFU has been suggested (Ouwehand 2017) while the general recommendation is >20 billion CFU.

     

    While these are general recommendations, the best advice would be to check each probiotic and see what research has been performed with that product, and what dosage was used. Many commercial products have not been used in research.

     

    Q – Have the Lab4 strains been used in research? Probiotic-daily-25-billion

    Lab4 is the proprietary group of probiotic bacteria, which was developed by Dr Nigel Plummer and his team of scientists at Cultech Ltd and has been used in probiotics products around the world for the past 10 years.

    There are now 12 clinical studies supporting the use of Lab4 probiotics for a variety of functions in adults, children and babies. Carried out over the past 15 years, these studies have shown the benefit of the Lab4 and Lab4b consortia in supporting digestive health, immune health, performance and mood and cognition.

    Specifically, the studies have shown the impact of probiotics on early immune system development, immunity in children, along

    side antibiotics and in helping to prevent antibiotic resistance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), athletic performance, anxiety and attention.

    Throughout these trials and 15 years of use in products, the Lab4 probiotic bacteria have been shown to be completely safe. This is further supported by The Swansea Baby Trial which involved both pregnant ladies and newborn babies. The approval of the Lab4b probiotics for use in this large trial with these two potentially vulnerable populations is testament to the efficacy of this group of bacteria.

     

    Q – Are there any other benefits?

    More recent research has also shown the Lab4 strains can also have a positive impact on sports performance.

    Probiotic-advanced-50-billion

    • When runners supplemented with Lab4 probiotics for 4 weeks and asked to run to exhaustion in the heat, they were able to run for ~15% longer compared to when they had taken the placebo (Shing et al., 2014)
    • In ironman triathletes, participants supplemented with probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks. Those taking probiotics had a 10% quicker overall race time than those on the placebo – although this did not reach statistical significance. Those taking probiotics also suffered from fewer and less severe gut symptoms (e.g. bloating, urge to defecate, nausea, etc.) during training compared to the placebo group. (Roberts et al., 2016)
    • Runners competing in the Marathon des Sables (often called the toughest race on the planet) had an overall race time that was 12% quicker after supplementing with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo (Marshall et al.m 2017)

    Yet to be published research has also shown that Lab4 can have benefits to athletes who consume carbohydrate drinks during exercise, as well as improve performance in marathon runners.

     

    Take a look at the full PRP Probiotics range

    Gut-Brain-Connection

  • Podcast - Gastrointestinal symptoms during exercise wth Jamie Pugh

    Gut-Brain-Connection

    This week, Jamie was interviewed on the Sigma Nutrition Podcast. In the interview he discussed;

    • The range and severity of symptoms athletes experience
    • Causes of symptoms: physiological, mechanical and nutritional
    • Individual variation in susceptibility to symptoms
    • Lack of association between gut “damage” and symptoms experienced
    • GI distress outside of endurance sport
    • Maximal rates of glucose ingestion: higher than previously thought?
    • Effect of glutamine supplementation
    • Effect of probiotic supplementation
    • Effect of low FODMAP diets
    • Practical steps for practitioners and athletes to mitigate risk

     

    Head over to the Sigma Nutrition Website for a listen

     

  • Probiotics and Sport

    As well as ensuring all of our products are made to the highest manufacturing standards, it is also important to us to be at the front of the latest research and knowledge of different supplements. The bacterial strains used in our Probiotics range (Lab4) has previously been used in UK studies performed in Cambridge and Sheffield and have shown that 2 capsules (25 billion) can provide benefits in supporting digestive and immune health. As part of a new series of studies, we are also now beginning research to see what effect the probiotics can have on gastrointestinal health in individuals who take part in regular intense exercise, and even if they can improve sports performance.

    The strains used in our Intensive training probiotic have been used in published research and a number of benefits have already been shown;

    –  When runners supplemented with Lab4 probiotics for 4 weeks and asked to run to exhaustion in the heat, they were able to run for ~15% longer compared to when they had taken the placebo (Shing et al., 2014)

    –  In ironman triathletes, participants supplemented with probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks. Those taking probiotics had a 10% quicker overall race time than those on the placebo – although this did not reach statistical significance. Those taking probiotics also suffered from fewer and less severe gut symptoms (e.g. bloating, urge to defecate, nausea, etc.) during training compared to the placebo group. (Roberts et al., 2016)

    –  Runners competing in the Marathon des Sables (often called the toughest race on the planet) had an overall race time that was 12% quicker after supplementing with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo (Marshall et al.m 2017)

    Dr Jamie Pugh, has spent the last 4 years at Liverpool John Moores University, and has been performing studies looking at the effects intense exercise can have on our digestive system, what symptoms these may cause, and has even started to catalogue how prevalent these symptoms may be in elite sport. Jamie has completed ground-breaking research to see if probiotics can help improve the rate of digestion during exercise, and reduce the associated symptoms of bloating and nausea that can occur when we mix eating and exercise.

    While the results from the 2 studies are yet to be published, we can share some of the take home findings. In the first study, Jamie looked to see if probiotics could help athletes who consume carbohydrate drinks during exercise. After 4 weeks supplementing with probiotics, athletes were able to use more of the carbohydrate drink they consumed compared to placebo. This could have performance benefits to any endurance athlete, and could also reduce the risk of gut symptoms due to carbohydrate malabsorption during exercise.

    In the second study, Jamie looked at the effects of probiotic supplementation on gastrointestinal damage and symptoms during endurance exercise, we recruited 26 participants to run an entire marathon race around the athletics track (just over 105 laps). The aims of the study were to see if probiotics could reduce the gut symptoms many runners face during training and racing. The main conclusion of the study was athletes had fewer days were they experienced gut discomfort during training and they had less severe symptoms during the marathon itself. There was also a relationship between the level of gut discomfort and how much runners slowed down during the final third of the race. As the probiotic runners had less severe symptoms, they did not slow down as much, and so they actually performed better than the placebo group. This study therefore adds to the growing body of evidence showing that Lab4 can improve athletic performance.

    All together, more and more evidence is mounting that shows that for athletes, Lab4 probiotics (the ones used in our Intensive Training Probiotics) can reduce symptoms of gut discomfort during training and competition, and can also improve performance.

    Intensive-Training-Probiotic

    Save 20% on Intensive Training Probiotic Complex

    Our probiotic developed specifically for sport and training
    25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    Help aid digestion during intense exercise
    Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium

  • Probiotics - worse than useless?

    Gut-Brain-Connection

    Did you see the latest headlines making national news last week? “Probiotics are worse than useless” was one. We put this to our very own Jamie Pugh (PhD) who has been studying probiotics for the last 4 years.

    “I don’t think the headline quite matches what these great studies have found. Without getting into this too much, I think probiotics are the latest supplement that has gone from the “cure all” that has boomed to one which is torn down in the media as soon as a negative study comes out (much like fish oils and vitamin D recently). The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Probiotics are not the Holy Grail, and as these studies have shown, the benefits are definitely going to be specific to the strain, the individual and probably the condition of interest.

    “For now, best practice is probably to find a probiotic that has been shown in studies to be beneficial for a condition of interest (e.g. immune function in athletes, IBS, traveler’s diarrhea) & monitor its effectiveness for each person.

    It’s important to remember that probiotics do not necessarily need to colonise the gut to have a benefit. This is probably why the benefits are transient and only last while people supplement with them. It’s also to not throw out all of the benefits that research have found for probiotics over the last 10-20 years.”

    You can catch Jamie at the Gut Instinct Seminar – tickets are still buy one get one free

    https://www.philrichardsperformance.co.uk/the-gut-instinct.html

    Probiotics are one or more of the beneficial bacteria that you could consume, usually as a capsule. In other studies, supplementing with probiotics has been shown to:

    –  Improve immune function, and reduce risk of illness. Furthermore, it appears that subjects with the weakest baseline responsiveness benefited the most by the probiotic supplementation [1]

    –  Reduce inflammation, and increase anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) [2]. These SCFA are produced by the bacteria in our digestive system, but we typically produce less of them as we age [3].

    –  Improve symptoms of constipation [4]

    –  Lower the incidence of diarrhea associated with antibiotic use [5]

    In general, probiotics containing more than one species appear to be more effective than those with just one species. Look for products containing species called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and for products with around 25 billion CFUs.

    References:

    1. Macfarlane, S., et al., Synbiotic consumption changes the metabolism and composition of the gut microbiota in older people and modifies inflammatory processes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2013. 38(7): p. 804-16.
    2. Rampelli, S., et al., Functional metagenomic profiling of intestinal microbiome in extreme ageing. Aging (Albany NY), 2013. 5(12): p. 902-12.
    3. Chmielewska, A. and H. Szajewska, Systematic review of randomised controlled trials: probiotics for functional constipation. World J Gastroenterol, 2010. 16(1): p. 69-75.
    4. Rondanelli, M., et al., Review on microbiota and effectiveness of probiotics use in older. World J Clin Cases, 2015. 3(2): p. 156-62.
  • Probiotics And The Gut Microbiome As We Age

    Our intestinal system contains around 1.5kg of microbes (bacteria) and, in recent decades, it is becoming more and more apparent that these bacteria can have widespread effects on our physical and mental health.

    There are over 1000 different species of bacteria in every person, and the make-up of each persons’ bacterial fingerprint is one of thefactorsthat effects our health. Having more or less of certain species can have positive and negative consequences, and, in general, the more diverse your bacterial composition, the better[1]. However, as we age, our the bacteria in our gut often becomes less diverse and contain less of the ‘beneficial’ bacteria [2].

    That’s why, making sure to get fruit and vegetables in our diet, to increase our fibre intake, is important as we age.

    Another approach to maintaining our gut health as we get older is to consider supplementing with a probiotic. Probiotics are one or more of the beneficial bacteria that you could consume, usually as a capsule. In elderly participants, supplementing with probiotics has been shown to:

    –  Improve immune function, and reduce risk of illness. Furthermore, it appears that subjects with the weakest baseline responsiveness benefited the most by the probiotic supplementation [3]

    –  Reduce inflammation, and increase anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) [4]. These SCFA are produced by the bacteria in our digestive system, but we typically produce less of them as we age [5].

    –  Improve symptoms of constipation [6]

    –  Lower the incidence of diarrhea associated with antibiotic use [7]

    In general, probiotics containing more than one species appear to be more effective than those with just one species. Look for products containing species called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and for products with around 25 billion CFUs.

    References:

    1. Qin, J., et al., A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature, 2010. 464(7285): p. 59-65.
    2. Landete, J.M., et al., Probiotic Bacteria for Healthier Aging: Immunomodulation and Metabolism of Phytoestrogens. Biomed Res Int, 2017. 2017: p. 5939818.
    3. Tiihonen, K., A.C. Ouwehand, and N. Rautonen, Human intestinal microbiota and healthy ageing. Ageing Res Rev, 2010. 9(2): p. 107-16.
    4. Macfarlane, S., et al., Synbiotic consumption changes the metabolism and composition of the gut microbiota in older people and modifies inflammatory processes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2013. 38(7): p. 804-16.
    5. Rampelli, S., et al., Functional metagenomic profiling of intestinal microbiome in extreme ageing. Aging (Albany NY), 2013. 5(12): p. 902-12.
    6. Chmielewska, A. and H. Szajewska, Systematic review of randomised controlled trials: probiotics for functional constipation. World J Gastroenterol, 2010. 16(1): p. 69-75.
    7. Rondanelli, M., et al., Review on microbiota and effectiveness of probiotics use in older. World J Clin Cases, 2015. 3(2): p. 156-62.

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