A new study published in Scientific Reports is adding to a growing body of evidence of the influence that gut bacteria has on health; it seems that taking a probiotic alongside a traditional Indian herb, Triphala, could help you live longer.

“Scientists found giving the combination to fruit flies boosted their lifespan by 60 percent and were protected against age-related diseases. In humans, this would be the equivalent of an 80-year-old living until they reached 128. The oldest ever living person, French woman Jeanne Calment, was 122. Fruit flies, which have been used in scientific research for decades, share more than two-thirds of their biochemical pathways with humans.” 1

The team led by Susan Westfall and Professor Satya Prakash fed the fruit flies a concotion “made of probiotics with a supplement rich in polyphenols and the herbal remedy Triphala”2 (made from three Indian fruits: haritaki, amla and bibhtaki).


Flies given the combination lived up to 66 days old, 26 days longer than flies in the control group, and also showed reduced traits of aging like insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress. In fact, Triphala was used in the study because of Dr Westfall’s interest in traditional Indian medicine and how it might impact neurodegenerative diseases.

The results were so amazing that researchers now believe the study will impact future research and treatment in diabetes, obesity, neurodegeneration, depression and even cancer.

“Studies have shown the axis to play a role in a range of conditions, from irritable bowel syndrome to depression. This axis is the name for the communication system between microorganisms residing in the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.”3

Professor Prakash wrote in the published study that “probiotics dramatically change the architecture of the gut microbiota” which “allows a single probiotic formulation to elicit broad beneficial physiological effects,” 4 by acting on several biochemical signalling pathways simultaneously.


It is likely that humans taking the combo wouldn’t see such a dramatic effect but according to Professor Prakash,  “…a diet specifically incorporating Triphala along with these probiotics will promote a long and healthy life.”5

A popular Ayurvedic remedy, Triphala can be found in some health food stores and contain additional ingredients like psyllium, liquorice, fennel and linseed.

Sources and References

  1. Daily Mail, June 6, 2018.
  2. Daily Mail, June 6, 2018.
  3. Daily Mail, June 6, 2018.
  4. Daily Mail, June 6, 2018.
  5. Daily Mail, June 6, 2018.