An Italian study suggests further study of the microbial landscape of the elderly may reveal ways to boost immunity.

We need to take a better look at aging microbes if we want to help boost senior's immunity. At least that's what an Italian study published in Immunity & Aging suggests.

The microbes in our intestinal and immune systems constantly interact with one another. Both systems change as we age, accounting for a low grade inflammatory status, which, in turn, may evolve toward more severe pathological conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon rectal cancer, according to the article abstract.

In order to prevent these things from developing, more and more often nutraceutical supplements are used to correct abnormalities of the immune system and microbiota. “In this respect, a better identification of components of the aged microbiota as well as a deeper analysis of gut mucosal immunity function should be pursued,” wrote the study's authors. The researchers concluded that we need more studies to better understand the interplay between human microbiota and gut immune cells in the elderly.

A 2010 study on the topic by Finnish scientists suggested that cheese could help preserve and enhance the immune system of the elderly by acting as an effective carrier for probiotic bacteria. The research, published in FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology, suggested that daily consumption of probiotic cheese helps to tackle age-related deterioration in the immune system — known as immunosenescene. This deterioration means the body is unable to kill tumor cells and reduces the immune response to vaccinations and infections. Infectious diseases, chronic inflammation disorders and cancer are hallmarks of the condition.

"The increase in the proportion of aged individuals in modern society makes finding innovative ways to thwart the deterioration of the immune system a priority,” wrote that study's lead author, Fandi Ibrahim, of the University of Turku in Finland. "The intake of probiotic bacteria has been reported to enhance the immune response through other products and now we have discovered that cheese can be a carrier of the same bacteria."

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