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Your Gut's Influence on Inflammaging



Foods to assist inflammaging

In some cases, a certain level of inflammation is not only expected but also necessary and beneficial. For example when you have an injury or illness, your body's immune system initiates an inflammatory response that helps to combat germs and promote healing. However, inflammation can quickly turn from being helpful to harmful.


Excessive or prolonged inflammation can lead to the breakdown of healthy cells and tissues. This causes the body to work harder to remove the excess by-products of inflammation, which can further exacerbate the inflammatory response. This creates a vicious cycle where inflammation drives more inflammation, leading to further damage and potential health issues.


Experiencing constant low-grade systemic inflammation can speed up aging and lead to symptoms such as low energy, frequent illnesses, difficulty recovering from illnesses, low moods, poor sleep quality, digestive complications, and aches and pains in muscles and joints. Alternatively, you may not experience any acute symptoms but feel like your body is not functioning as well as it used to. That's inflammaging.


Common Causes of Inflammaging

  • Age- as we get older, generally above 65 years, the body is at a higher susceptibility of constant low-grade inflammation.

  • A diet high in hydrogenated fats, refined sugar, and processed food.

  • Central obesity is associated with a pro-inflammatory state.

  • Gut dysbiosis / increased gut permeability (leaky gut).

  • Dysregulated immune system.

  • Chronic infections.

  • Increased oxidative stress.

  • Genetic susceptibility.

  • Long term stress.

Diseases Associated with Accelerated Inflammaging

  • Diabetes mellitus type two.

  • Obesity.

  • Dementia.

  • Depression.

  • Cardiovascular disease.

  • Chronic kidney disease.


Prebiotic foods for inflammaging

The Gut and Inflammaging

Understanding that our gut microbiota combines good and bad bacteria within our digestive tract is essential. This plays a central role in inflammaging, and when it's imbalanced, it can increase the production of inflammatory molecules that negatively impact other organs and bodily systems, ultimately accelerating the aging process.


Our gut permeability changes as we age, and we become more susceptible to dysbiosis, an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria. Dysbiosis can cause inflammation in the gut and throughout the body, weaken our immune system, and increase the risk of various diseases. Additionally, obesity and type 2 diabetes are also associated with higher rates of dysbiosis, inflammation, and accelerated aging.


Studies have demonstrated that individuals above 65 with a healthy digestive system rich in beneficial bacteria, particularly Akkermansia and Bifidobacterium species, tend to have better immunity and higher levels of anti-inflammatory activity than those who suffer from dysbiosis. This highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy digestive system to combat inflammation and slow the onset of ageing-related health complications.


How Can We Slow Down Inflammaging?


Improve the diversity of your diet.

To improve your diet, follow a Mediterranean-style diet emphasising whole, unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, and herbs and spices. It's best to avoid or limit processed foods, refined sugar, and excessive caffeine and alcohol.


Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.


Support gut health

Implementing fibre-rich, prebiotic, fermented foods and probiotics supports gut health and reduces health risks.


High-fibre

  • High fibre foods such as legumes, oats, wholegrains, quinoa, and fresh fruits, especially raspberries and pears and vegetables such as peas, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

  • Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and Greek yogurt.

  • Prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion and asparagus.

Sleep to reduce inflammation


Getting enough sleep is crucial for reducing inflammation and allowing the body to recover. Chronic sleep deprivation has been correlated to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, all of which can increase inflammation.


Choose a wake-up and bedtime that suits your schedule and try to maintain it regularly. Make sure you sleep for 7-9 hours every night. This will assist in regulating your circadian rhythm and signal your body that it's time to rest, making it a consistent habit.




References;

Chen L, Deng H, Cui H, Fang J, Zuo Z, Deng J, Li Y, Wang X, Zhao L. Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs. Oncotarget. 2018 Jan 1;9(6):7204.

Ragonnaud E, Biragyn A. Gut microbiota as the key controllers of “healthy” aging of elderly people. Immunity & Ageing. 2021 Dec;18:1-1.

Xia S, Zhang X, Zheng S, Khanabdali R, Kalionis B, Wu J, Wan W, Tai X. An update on inflamm-aging: mechanisms, prevention, and treatment. Journal of immunology research. 2016 Oct;2016.

Ferrucci L, Fabbri E. Inflammageing: chronic inflammation in ageing, cardiovascular disease, and frailty. Nature Reviews Cardiology. 2018 Sep;15(9):505-22.

Batista MA, Calvo-Fortes F, Silveira-Nunes G, Camatta GC, Speziali E, Turroni S, Teixeira-Carvalho A, Martins-Filho OA, Neretti N, Maioli TU, Santos RR. Inflammaging in endemic areas for infectious diseases. Frontiers in Immunology. 2020 Nov 12;11:579972.

Mazza E, Ferro Y, Pujia R, Mare R, Maurotti S, Montalcini T, Pujia A. Mediterranean diet in healthy aging. The journal of nutrition, health & aging. 2021 Nov;25(9):1076-83.

Ale EC, Binetti AG. Role of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics in the elderly: insights into their applications. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2021 Jan 28;12:631254.

Patel PJ, Singh SK, Panaich S, Cardozo L. The aging gut and the role of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics: A review. Journal of Clinical Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2014 Mar 1;5(1):3-6.

Wawrzyniak-Gramacka E, Hertmanowska N, Tylutka A, Morawin B, Wacka E, Gutowicz M, Zembron-Lacny A. The association of anti-inflammatory diet ingredients and lifestyle exercise with inflammaging. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 21;13(11):3696.

Irwin MR. Sleep and inflammation in resilient aging. Interface Focus. 2014 Oct 6;4(5):20140009.

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