Protect your gut bacteria and live longer and healthier! For example, one study showed that taking antibiotics for at least two months in late adulthood was associated with a 27% increased risk of dying from all causes.
This is because antibiotics can negatively impact the healthy bacteria in your gut. In many people, their gut flora may be permanently altered.
Many other factors can alter your gut bacteria. They are:
- your age
- a bad diet
- drug abuse
- cigarette smoking
- alcohol abuse
- being inactive
- certain diseases
It may be in everyone’s best interest to protect their gut health if they desire to increase healthspan and lifespan.
Healthy Gut Bacteria Can Increase Healthspan And Lifespan
New research has demonstrated that our gut microbes (bacteria) play a critical role in determining how long we live. The researchers found that patterns in a person’s microbiome – the organisms living in the gut – can determine whether they live a long life or die young.
There are primarily healthy bacteria in the gut and immune cells that help prevent infections. While it is an integral part of the body’s immune system, it remains unclear how it affects aging.
According to the Institute for Systems Biology in the United States, the gut microbiome continues to evolve, but only in healthy people.
Prior research findings in microbiome-aging studies appear inconsistent, with some pointing to a decline in gut bacteria in centenarian populations. However, others indicate the bacteria are relatively stable up to the onset of health declines associated with aging.
Inconsistencies may be resolved by the new research, which is the first to include detailed health and survival analyses. Specifically, they demonstrate two distinct aging patterns:
- Microbe diversity declines, and uniqueness increases in healthier individuals, aligning with previous community-dwelling centenarians’ results.
- Bacteria are less preserved in healthy individuals.
The study analyzed the microbiomes of 9,000 people between 18 and 101. Team members studied the survival rates of 900 older individuals whose ages ranged from 78 to 98.
The researchers found that gut bacteria became increasingly distinct as participants aged. Bacteroides, common to all humans, start to decrease in mid-to-late adulthood.
The researchers further announced that the uniqueness pattern begins between the ages of 40 and 50 years old and is associated with blood metabolomic changes, suggesting that bacteria changes are not just indicative of healthy aging but also directly impact our health as we age.
Indoles (parent substances of many essential compounds that occur in nature), for instance, reduce inflammation in the gut, and chronic inflammation is believed to play a role in aging-related diseases.
Healthy bacteria possessed some common characteristics despite their increasing uniqueness. The study found that individuals with unique gut patterns have different metabolites in their blood plasma. Among these is tryptophan-derived indole, which has been shown to extend mice’s lifespans.
Previously, Phenylacetylglutamine, another metabolite, was also detected in high concentrations in the blood of centenarians. The transformation, however, only occurred in healthy individuals.
Researchers concluded that this signature of uniqueness could predict patient survival in the later stages of life. Around the age of 80, healthy individuals showed microbial drift toward a unique compositional state, whereas less healthy individuals showed no such drifts.
Researchers state that the continuous development of the microbiome in older individuals could have crucial clinical importance.
On a positive note, the scientists believe that the results of this study are compelling, and it will have significant clinical implications for keeping track of and adjusting gut bacterial health throughout a person’s life.
The gut is home to a huge population of bacteria that affect the health and wellbeing of their host. Scientists are discovering that these microbes have an outsized effect on our health.
The new research suggests that our microbiomes may play a significant role in longevity and healthspan. And if we want to live longer and healthier lives, it’s important to pay attention to what we eat and what goes into our bodies.