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Today, we wanted to draw your attention to a review of aging and the role that the gut microbiome plays in it.

There is an increasing amount of evidence for the contribution of microbial burden in the chronic, age-related background of inflammation known as “inflammaging“. There are a number of proposed sources of inflammaging, including senescent cells, immunosenescence, cell debris, and microbial burden.

We have delved into the topic of the gut microbiome in the past and its possible role as the origin point of inflammaging in a previous article, but we wanted to highlight this publication for people interested in reading further about this rapidly evolving area of aging research [1].

Abstract

The development of human gut microbiota begins as soon as the neonate leaves the protective environment of the uterus (or maybe in-utero) and is exposed to innumerable microorganisms from the mother as well as the surrounding environment. Concurrently, the host responses to these microbes during early life manifest during the development of an otherwise hitherto immature immune system. The human gut microbiome, which comprises an extremely diverse and complex community of microorganisms inhabiting the intestinal tract, keeps on fluctuating during different stages of life. While these deviations are largely natural, inevitable and benign, recent studies show that unsolicited perturbations in gut microbiota configuration could have a strong impact on several features of host health and disease. Our microbiota undergoes the most prominent deviations during infancy and old age and, interestingly, our immune health is also in its weakest and most unstable state during these two critical stages of life, indicating that our microbiota and health develop and age hand-in-hand. However, the mechanisms underlying these interactions are only now beginning to be revealed. The present review summarizes the evidence related to the age-associated changes in intestinal microbiota and vice-versa, mechanisms involved in this bi-directional relationship, and the prospects for development of microbiota-based interventions such as probiotics for healthy aging.

Conclusion

The emerging theory that the gut microbiome is potentially the initial spark that sets off inflammaging is gaining traction as more research is done, and the potential for targeting the microbiome is becoming an ever-more interesting prospect in the battle to combat age-related diseases.

Literature

[1] Nagpal, R., Mainali, R., Ahmadi, S., Wang, S., Singh, R., Kavanagh, K., … & Yadav, H. Gut microbiome and aging: Physiological and mechanistic insights. Nutrition and Healthy Aging, (Preprint), 1-19.

About the author

Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity and the technologies to promote them, Steve has provided the community with hundreds of educational articles, interviews, and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).
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