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Natural Awakenings Chicago

The Secret To Healthy Aging is a Healthy Gut

Aug 27, 2017 08:54PM

Amid the abundance of advice on healthy aging, gut health is often overlooked. A healthy gut is critical to healthy aging, because gut inflammation can set off dementia. Most people don’t realize we have possibly the most diverse ecosystem in the planet living in our gut. That ecosystem is called the microbiome, a community of about 100 trillion microorganisms with a total weight of approximately three to five pounds.

       This microbiota can shape a healthy immune response or predispose us to disease. When our microbiome is damaged, it becomes inflamed, which changes gut permeability and allows inflammation to become systemic. Chronic inflammation, over time, can lead to chronic disease and prevent healthy aging. Antibiotics, medications, water treatment, diet, stress and processed or genetically modified (GMO) foods threaten microbial diversity. Specialized testing can be used to evaluate gut health.

       Besides reducing gut inflammation, there are six simple, preventative, everyday measures that people can take to promote healthy aging—exercise, eat healthy, take supplements, socialize, get eight hours of sleep a night and reduce stress.

Peter Kozlowski, M.D., is a certified functional medicine practitioner practicing at 92 Turner Ave., in Elk Grove Village. For more information, call 847-626-5758 or visit