"Ridiculously healthy" elders have the same intestinal microbiome as healthy 30 year olds

Abstract: A new study reports a direct correlation between health and intestinal bacteria in the elderly. Researchers report that healthy older people have a microbiota composition in general similar to younger people decades.

Source: Western University.

In one of the largest human microbiota studies, researchers at Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute and Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China, have shown a potential link between healthy aging and a healthy bowel.

With the establishment of the China-Canada Institute, researchers studied intestinal bacteria in a cohort of more than 1,000 Chinese individuals in a variety of age ranges from 3 to more than 100 years old who were self-selected to be extremely healthy without problems of known health conditions and no family history of illness. The results showed a direct correlation between health and microbes in the gut.

"The goal is to bring new diagnostic systems for microbiomes to populations, then use food and probiotics to try to improve health biomarkers," said Gregor Reid, Ph.D., a professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Scientist of Westerns Schulich at Lawson Health Research Institute. "It raises the question - whether you can stay active and eat well, age better, or is the healthy aging predicted by bacteria in your gut?"

The study, published this month in the journal mSphere, showed that the overall microbial composition of the healthy elderly group was similar to that of people from earlier decades and that the intestinal microbiota differed little among individuals from 30 to more than 100.

"The bottom line is that if you're ridiculously healthy and you're 90, your intestinal microbiota is not that different from a healthy 30-year-old in the same population," said Greg Gloor, PhD, the study's principal investigator and also professor of Western Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. Whether this is cause or effect is unknown, but the study authors point out that it is the diversity of the intestinal microbiota that remained the same throughout their study group. Journal mSphere, showed that the overall microbiota composition of the healthy elderly group was similar to that of people decades younger, and that gut microbiota differed little between individuals from the ages of 30 to over 100.

"This shows that maintaining the diversity of your gut as you age is a healthy aging biomarker, just as low cholesterol is a biomarker of a healthy circulatory system," said Gloor. Researchers suggest that restarting an older microbiota to that of a 30-year-old could help promote health.

"By studying healthy people, we hope to know what we are striving for when people get sick," Reid said.

The study also found a clear anomaly in the 19-24 age group that has not been observed in large-scale analyzes of other populations and suspect that they may be unique to this healthy cohort in China. The intestinal microbiota distinct from this group was a surprising finding and required further study.

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