Humans rarely live beyond 100 years. However, there are some people who have managed to live well beyond a hundred. Several theories have been proposed to explain such continuity, and this new study provides a very relevant explanation. According to the study, the longevity of centenarians is linked to their gut microbiome.
Centenarians have bacteria associated with a healthier gut
A new study by researchers at Harvard University and Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo has uncovered a possible explanation for the longevity of microscopic organisms in centenarians. The study found that centenarians have a unique microbiome that can protect them from some types of bacterial infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. According to the researchers, this is more information about the importance of the intestinal bacteria’s involvement in our immunity. Even better, the results of the study published in the journal natureIt could help researchers develop new ways to treat chronic inflammation and bacterial diseases.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed the microbiomes of centenarians through stool samples taken from 160 people over the age of 100. They then compared the germs of the centenarians with those of 122 people aged 85 to 89 and 47 people aged 21 to 55. Analyzes found that centenarians had higher levels of several bacterial species that produce molecules called secondary bile acids, a substance that stops the growth of other dangerous bacteria. This is because secondary bile acids are created by the microbes in the colon in order to protect the intestines from pathogens and to regulate the body’s immune responses.
By later analyzing the study participants’ intestinal metabolites, the researchers found that particularly high levels of a secondary bile acid called isoallolithocholic acid (isoalloLCA) could be seen in centenarians. Upon further analysis on a 110-year-old man whose iosalloLCA level was particularly high, the researchers found that this secondary bile acid was produced by bacteria belonging to a family called Odoribacteraceae. The researchers also conducted lab experiments to determine the role of this acid, and the results suggest that isoalloLCA may contribute to gut health by preventing the growth of bad bacteria.
More studies will be needed
Currently, researchers don’t know why people over the age of 100 develop more of these bacteria in their bodies. ” Genetic factors and diet may have influenced the composition of the gut microbiota ‘, suggested Kenya Honda, lead author of the study, to daily Mail. Therefore, further studies will be necessary to verify this hypothesis. In addition, the researchers also explained that if there was indeed an association between these gut bacteria and exceptional longevity, the study did not prove that these bacteria actually allowed these individuals to live longer.
In addition, the study did not take into account lifestyle factors, such as diet, as well as genetics. ” While this may indicate that these bile acid-producing bacteria may contribute to longevity, we do not have data showing a cause-and-effect relationship between them. Honda said Live Science. Either way, researchers believe this is a great way to explore the production of probiotics that can improve human health. So more research will be done for this.
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