The awareness that the health of the GI tract ecosytem (the Microbiome) is an important determining factor as to the overall health of the patient is becoming an accepted fact within both the allopathic and, of course the holistic medical practitioner communities.
Perhaps the two most crucial age groups to focus on relative to the microbial flora are the very young and the aging (senior citizen) populations. Mounting research is demonstrating that the GI tract microbiome configuration of the very young sets up their developing immune systems to be healthy or maladaptive. And, as we age into the 60s and above, for a variety of reasons, the microflora in our gut may become dysbiotic resulting in a quickening of the diseases of aging.
In the linked article, Microbiome: cultural differences, from Nature the December 6, 2012, Virginia Hughes summarizes the recent research on the effect aging has on the health of our microbiome, specifically linking our dietary habits as a causative force in shaping our GI tract flora towards our good health or chronic disease.
The above paper makes the point that older people tend to develop higher proportion of bacteria from the phylum Bacteriodetes and a lower proportion from the phylum Firmicutes, in large part because of a decrease in fiber in their diets. Too high of a percentage in favor of Bacteriodetes correlates with markers for inflammation, high blood pressure, and small calf circumference (a measure of frailty).
All of the lactic acid producing bacteria we use in our synbiotic formulas are of the Firmicutes Phylum. The Original Synbiotic Formula, the Beta Glucan Synbiotic Formula and the No. 7 Systemic Booster all are ideal for the older patient. Each are in a powdered form which enables us to add higher amounts of prebiotic (good fiber), which in turn, as you well know, stimulates the growth of these GI tract health enhancing, friendly organisms. The Original and the Beta Glucan can be used very successfully with the very young as well.
Last Weeks Creature:
Tucked high in the Qin Ling Mountains of central China, the golden snub-nosed monkey, remnants of once widespread populations, has managed to survive. Pressured by logging, human settlement, and hunting, particularly for their thick beautiful fur, they have been pushed into high-altitude habitats. In groups of as many as 400 they brave the long winters.