Credits By: TSUNAGU JAPAN
The age-old adage “Health is wealth” takes on new significance; emerging research suggests that easily accessible and affordable food items could hold the key to a healthier and less stressed society.
One such food item garnering attention is the Japanese dish called natto. Derived from soybeans that are boiled or steamed and then fermented with a bacterium called Bacillus subtilis var. natto, this food source thrives in various environments, including soil, plants, animals, and even the human digestive system. In Japan, most natto is made using the Miyagino strain of Bacillus subtilis.
A research group led by Professor Eriko Kage-Nakadai at the Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology, Osaka Metropolitan University, delved into the effects of Bacillus subtilis var. natto consumption on the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans worms.
Their findings revealed that Caenorhabditis elegans fed with Bacillus subtilis var. natto exhibited a significantly extended lifespan compared to those fed a standard diet. The researchers further discovered that the lifespan-enhancing effects of Bacillus subtilis var. natto were linked to biological pathways involving innate immunity and longevity, specifically the p38 MAPK pathway and the insulin/IGF-1-like signaling pathway. Additionally, they observed an improvement in stress tolerance, which has been known to correlate with longevity, with enhanced resistance to UV light and oxidative stress.
Professor Nakadai commented, “We have, for the first time, demonstrated the potential of extending the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans through the ingestion of Bacillus subtilis var. natto. We hope that future experiments on mammals and epidemiological studies will enable us to translate these findings into real-life applications, fostering a healthier and longer-living society for humans.”