In one of the largest microbiota studies conducted in humans, scientists have shown a potential link between healthy aging and a healthy gut, finding that the overall microbiome composition of healthy elderly people was similar to that of people decades younger, and that the gut microbiota differed little between individuals from the ages of 30 to over 100.
There are over 400 species of bacteria in your belly right now that can be the key to health or disease.
Researchers at Western University, the Lawson Health Research Institute, and the Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China collected and examined the gut microbiota of a cross-sectional cohort of more than 1,000 very healthy Chinese individuals between the ages of 3 and over 100 with no known health issues and no family history of disease.
They found a direct correlation between health and the microbes in the intestine.
It begs the question; if you can stay active and eat well, will you age better, or is healthy aging predicated by the bacteria in your gut? says Gregor Reid, a professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute.
According to their study: 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.
However, the team go further, by suggesting that resetting an elderly microbiota to that of a 30-year-old might help promote health.
A few studies have also compared the intestinal bacteria in obese and lean individuals and found that the gut microbiota in lean people is far more diverse than in obese people. Lean people also tended to have a wider variety of Bacteroidetes, which are a large tribe of microbes that work to break down bulky plant starches and fibers into smaller molecules in order for the body to use them as a source of energy.
5 surprising facts about microbes in your gut
1.Probiotics may treat depression and anxiety
Scientists have been studying the connection between gut bacteria and chemicals in the brain for years. Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that mice fed the bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus showed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Researchers theorize that this is because Lactobacillus rhamnosus acts on the central gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system, which helps regulate emotional behavior.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is available as a commercial probiotic supplement, has also been linked to the prevention of diarrhea, atopic dermatitis, and respiratory tract infections.
2.The more bacterial the better
While bacteria on the outside of your body can cause serious infections, the bacteria inside your body can protect against it. Studies have shown that animals without gut bacteria are more susceptible to serious infections.
Bacteria found naturally inside your gut have a protective barrier effect against other living organisms that enter your body. They help the body prevent harmful bacteria from rapidly growing in your stomach, which could spell disaster for your bowels.
3.Gut bacteria pass from mother to child in breast milk
It’s common knowledge that a mother’s milk can help beef up a baby’s immune system. New research shows that the protective effects of gut bacteria can be transferred from mother to baby during breastfeeding.
Work published in Environmental Microbiology shows that important gut bacteria travels from mother to child through breast milk to colonize a child’s own gut, helping his or her immune system to develop.
4.Lack of gut diversity is linked to allergies
Too few bacteria in the gut can throw the immune system off balance and make it go haywire with hay fever.
Researchers in Copenhagen reviewed the medical records and stool samples of 411 infants. They found that those who didn’t have diverse colonies of gut bacteria were more likely to develop allergies.
5.Gut bacteria can hurt your liver
Your liver gets 70 percent of its blood flow from your intestines, so it’s natural they would share more than just oxygenated blood.
Italian researchers found that between 20 and 75 percent of patients with a chronic fatty liver disease (the kind not associated with alcoholism) also had an overgrowth of gut bacteria. Some believe that the transfer of gut bacteria to the liver could be responsible for chronic liver disease.