A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology in Guwahati has developed India’s first next-generation probiotic, ushering in hopes for healthy ageing. The study discovered the next generation probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus planetarium JBC5 that promises to provide healthy ageing as claimed by the scientists.

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The study, which lasted around seven years, is led by scientist Mojibur R. Khan and Prof. Asish Kumar Mukherjee, Director, IASST, in collaboration with Prof. MC Kalita of Gauhati University and research scholars Arun Kumar and Tulsi Joshy.

Mojibur R. Khan, the project lead, said they demonstrated how scientists in the West were intrusive into examining the unexplored organ i.e the human gut whose trillions of microbes assert a tremendous effect on the overall health of human beings by using animal models. On the contrary, Khan wanted to examine the baseline microbes of the different ethnic groups in the Indian population as he believes these groups have diverse food habits away from modern habits. Therefore, researched fifteen ethnic groups from Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Telangana for around ten years, and the first report on microbes came out in 2015. In his research, he isolated various microbes from their food products, especially the fermented ones, and examined the effects of those microbes on human physiology.

Before the human examination, the scientist chose a model organism Caenorhabditis elegans (a kind of worm) to understand the basic mechanisms. While the worm was treated with the particular bacteria, Khan asserted the organism exhibited hallmarks of healthy changes which included lesser fat accumulation, a lower inflammation rate which generally has been considered to be the main reason for several diseases with a 27% increase in life expectancy. Besides, it has antioxidative mechanisms to fight stress and also enhances memory, he demonstrated.

While being asked about the consumers’ age group he pointed out the importance of consuming it as soon as possible as it has immense health benefits and the timing of consumption can be decided by the consumer itself as it has got no such specific timing to consume and can be taken at any time depending on their convenience.

Professor Mukherjee said they have filed a patent to claim their discovery and the probiotic would soon be launched at the market in yoghurt.

According to the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing, (2021-2030) a global collaboration aligned with the last ten years of the Sustainable Development Goals, there are more than 1 billion people aged 60 years or older, with most living in low- and middle-income countries. Worryingly, the pace of ageing has shot up in these years, which is likely to have definitive consequences on all aspects of society. But hopefully, with the advent of healthy ageing products, the consequences can be relieved to a greater extent.

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