Tags: cheese | can improve | elderly | immune systems | carrier for probiotic bacteria | probiotics

Cheese Improves Elderly Immune Systems

Monday, 17 May 2010 08:46 AM

Cheese can boost the immune system of elderly people by acting as a carrier for helpful probiotic bacteria, say Finnish scientists, who found that eating cheese daily can help block changes in the immune system that come with aging.

"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," lead author Dr. Fandi Ibrahim from the University of Turku in Finland, said in a statement. "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."

Probiotics are live organisms that live in the human gut, strengthening the immune system and helping aid digestion.

Ibrahim believes that eating cheese daily can confront immunosenescence — the gradual deterioration of the immune system related to aging. Infectious diseases, chronic inflammation disorders, and cancer, due to the body's inability to kill tumor cells and respond to infections, are features of immunosenescence.

For the four-week study, volunteers between the ages of 72 and 103 who lived in the same nursing home were asked to eat a slice of either placebo or probiotic Gouda cheese with their breakfast. Blood tests were conducted to determine the effect of probiotic material on the immune system.

The results showed a clear boost in the activation of blood cells involved in immunity.

"The aim of our study was to see if specific probiotic bacteria in cheese would have immune enhancing effects on healthy older individuals in a nursing home setting," Ibrahim said. "We have demonstrated that the regular intake of probiotic cheese can help to boost the immune system, and that including it in a regular diet may help to improve an elderly person's immune response."

Other studies have shown that probiotics stimulate the immune system and fight viruses and bacteria. One report published in the journal of Postgraduate Medicine, found that probiotics increase the body's immune response to flu.

© HealthDay

   
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2010-46-17
Monday, 17 May 2010 08:46 AM
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