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Aging and the Gut

Updated: Sep 14, 2021


An elderly person outdoors smiling and holding their hat
ID: An elderly white person standing in nature, smiling and holding their hat atop their tilted head.

As we age our gut microbiota reduces in diversity, and we see a shift in the ratios of pathogenic and beneficial microbes. Proteobacteria which are associated with less favourable health outcomes typically increase and beneficial species including Bifidobacterian, Faecalibacterium and Ruminococcus are reduced. These species are butyrate producers which is a compound with systemic anti-inflammatory properties (it even crosses the blood brain barrier and plays a role reducing neuro-inflammation!).


Research on centenarians shows that these populations typically do not have these detrimental changes to their gut microbiome with aging, suggesting their microbiome health could play a key role in improving longevity! (Westfall et al., 2017)


Reference:

Westfall, S., Lomis, N., Kahouli, I., Dia, S. Y., Singh, S. P., & Prakash, S. (2017). Microbiome, probiotics and neurodegenerative diseases: deciphering the gut brain axis. In Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (Vol. 74, Issue 20, pp. 3769–3787). Birkhauser Verlag AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-017-2550-9


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