Healthy Gut Bacteria Means Healthy Ageing
A healthy gut for healthy ageing—at least, this would apply to the Chinese. The new research, considered one of the largest microbiota studies involving humans, focuses on the relationship between health and gut bacteria in over 1,000 healthy Chinese participants ranging from a variety of age groups, from 3 to more than 100 years old.
The aim behind the investigation, as explained by study author Gregor Reid, is to develop new microbiome diagnostic systems, with the end goal being the use of food and probiotics to enhance the natural features that promote health. Reid and his colleagues wanted to find out if healthy ageing is brought about by a healthy lifestyle that incorporates eating well and staying active or by gut bacteria (a natural feature).
It is to be noted that the Chinese participants were carefully selected: they were to have no known health problems, and no family history of disease either.
Healthy Old People Have Same Microbial Diversity As Youngsters
Upon looking into the gut microbes of the Chinese participants, it was found that the overall microbial populations of healthy old adults was comparable to those of much younger people. Furthermore, gut microbiota remained more or less the same from the age of 30 to over 100.
Lead author Greg Gloor explains that extremely healthy 90 year olds had the same diversity of microbes as healthy 30 year olds.
“The main conclusion is that if you are ridiculously healthy and 90 years old, your gut microbiota is not that different from a healthy 30 year old in the same population,” says Gloor.
Maintaining Bacterial Diversity Indicates Healthy Ageing
The authors point out that maintaining this diversity throughout the process of ageing is, possibly, a biomarker of healthy ageing. Gloor likens this with low cholesterol being a biomarker for a healthy circulatory system.
Restoring Health By Restoring Bacteria
Another interesting conclusion is that restoring elderly gut microbiota to the the 30-year-old-individual level might be a way of promoting health.