The surprising link between healthy seniors and young people

Your gut health may play a bigger role in ageing than first thought.

A new study has revealed a link between gut health and healthy ageing, showing that the gut microbiota in exceedingly healthy seniors up to 100 years in age, and that of 30-year-olds was very similar. 

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The study, which was conducted by researchers at Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute and Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China, looked at the gut bacteria of more than 1,000 Chinese individuals aged from 3 to over 100-years-old, who were volunteers who claimed to be extremely healthy with no known health issues and no family history of disease, and the results showed a direct correlation between health and the microbes in the intestine.

Volunteers were recruited for the study based on stringent criteria. Only subjects who self-reported as having a personal and family history of extreme health (based on the self-reported questionnaires) were included in this study. Inclusion criteria were nonsmoker, teetotaler, mood was stable, absence of any diseases, no prescription medication and antibiotics for the past 3 months (including birth control pills), no personal and family disease history (such as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, metabolic, neurological/mental and respiratory diseases, as well as cancers), and parents and grandparents are all alive or passed away after 80 years of age (not applied to participants over 31-years-old.

Published in the journal mSphere, showed that the overall microbiota composition of the healthy elderly group was similar to that of people much younger, and that the gut microbiota differed little between individuals from the ages of 30 to over 100. 

The results of the study demonstrate that maintaining the diversity of your gut bacteria as you age could be an important factor in healthy ageing. 

Do you give much thought to your gut health?