As the adage goes, health is wealth, and recent research reveals that it is feasible to create a healthy, less stressed society by eating familiar and affordable foods. One such dish is Japanese natto, which is produced from softened soybeans that have been cooked or steamed and fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto bacterium.
Bacillus subtilis var natto is found in soil, plants, animals, and the stomach and intestines of humans. The Miyagino strain is used to produce the majority of natto consumed in Japan.
A team lead by Professor Eriko Kage-Nakadai of Osaka Metropolitan University's Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology investigated the impact of Bacillus subtilis var. natto intake on the longevity of Caenorhabditis elegans worms.
The researchers found that Caenorhabditis elegans fed Bacillus subtilis var. natto had a significantly longer lifespan than those fed the standard diet, and further elucidated that the p38 MAPK pathway and insulin/IGF-1-like signaling pathway, which are known to be involved in innate immunity and lifespan, were involved in the lifespan-enhancing effects of Bacillus subtilis var. natto. They also examined stress tolerance, which has been shown to have a correlation with longevity, and found that resistance to UV light and oxidative stress is enhanced.
Professor Nakadai concluded, "For the first time, we were able to demonstrate the possibility of lifespan-extending effects of Caenorhabditis elegans through the ingestion of Bacillus subtilis var. natto. We hope that future experiments on mammals and epidemiological studies will help to realize a healthy and longer-living society if we can apply this research to humans." (ANI)