Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: The microbiome consists of the populations of micro-organisms that live on our bodies surfaces, whether that be the skin, the gut or other mucosal surfaces. These populations are so vast that for every one human cell in our body there are ten microorganisms living as a part of our microbiome. The past two decades has seen a boom in microbiome research attempting to find a causal link with aging.
What did the researchers do: This review authored by two researchers from the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in Los Angeles, investigated the current literature surrounding the interaction between the gut microbiome and aging.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: As highlighted by the review, the microbiome is proving to play a key role in the aging process. The authors suggest a bidirectional relationship between the microbiome and aging. As aging occurs the integrity of the cells lining the gut declines, resulting in the absorption of microbes from the microbiome, eventually leading to inflammation. The resultant shifting in microbe populations has been shown to have a causal impact on the risk of developing age-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimers and cardiovascular disease, thus impacting biological aging.
The review also highlights the difference in microbiome between adult male and females of the same species and the impact this can have on aging. Higher ratios of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes bacteria populations within the gut is indicative of better health, it has been shown the women tend to have higher levels of these than their male counterparts of the same chronological age.