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Mike Lustgarten

The Impact Of The Microbiome On Lifespan

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Germ-free mice (animals don't have a microbiome) live longer than microbiome-containing mice, but it's impractical for people to live in a bubble for their entire lifespan. As a more practical approach, which microbiome-derived factors impact lifespan, and can they be modified? 
 

 

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Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity

"Because of its impact on human metabolism and immunology, the gut microbiome has been proposed as a possible determinant of healthy aging [2, 3]. Indeed, the preservation of host-microbes homeostasis can counteract inflammaging [4], intestinal permeability [5], and decline in bone and cognitive health [6, 7]. Aiming at deepening our knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiota and a long-living host, we provide for the first time the phylogenetic microbiota analysis of semi-supercentenarians, i.e., 105-109 years old, in comparison to adults, elderly, and centenarians, thus reconstructing the longest available human microbiota trajectory along aging. We highlighted the presence of a core microbiota of highly occurring, symbiotic bacterial taxa (mostly belonging to the dominant Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Bacteroidaceae families), with a cumulative abundance decreasing along with age. Aging is characterized by an increasing abundance of subdominant species, as well as a rearrangement in their co-occurrence network. These features are maintained in longevity and extreme longevity, but peculiarities emerged, especially in semi-supercentenarians, describing changes that, even accommodating opportunistic and allochthonous bacteria, might possibly support health maintenance during aging, such as an enrichment and/or higher prevalence of health-associated groups (e.g., Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, and Christensenellaceae)."

This is a field in its infancy, but it seems reasonable to me that the bacteria in one's body and its byproducts affect one's health to a significant degree.

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