Regularly taking probiotics with Triphala, a herbal supplement from Ayurvedic medicine, seems to have a symbiotic effect on the 'good' bacteria in the gut that probiotics on their own don't have.
The result could be that you live longer—and your longevity could be improved by up to 60 per cent, say researchers from McGill University.
However, their research has been restricted to fruit flies—and although that doesn't sound too promising, the researchers say that 70 per cent of the flies' biochemical pathways are like those in mammals. "The effects in humans would likely not be as dramatic, but our results definitely suggest that a diet specifically incorporating Triphala along with these probiotics will promote a long and healthy life", said one of the researchers, Satya Prakash.
In their experiment, the flies fed probiotics and Triphala—a combination that the researchers called a 'symbiotic'—lived for 66 days, which was 26 days longer than the other flies. The longer-living flies also showed fewer signs of ageing, such as insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Triphala is a formulation made from amalaka, bibhitaki and haritaki, fruits that are used as medicinal plants in Ayurvedic medicine.