The Strength of the Microbiome

Posted on 16 December 2019

Emerging evidence supports a role for the gut microbiome on the maintenance of lean body mass and physical functioning.

Researchers investigating the effect of a gut microbiota transplant from high functioning (HF) older adults (70-85 years old) into mice, to that of a low functioning (LF) older adults, found a 6.4% increase in grip strength in the HF-colonised mice compared to that of the LF-colonised mice

Grip strength when comparing HF with LF colonised mice

Subjects of the study were categorised into HF or LF by their short physical performance battery (SPPB) score being ≤8 or ≥11, respectively. SPPB consists of a sum of three metrics ranked from 0 (worst performance) to 12 (best performance): the total balance score, chair stand score and gait speed score. 

It was concluded that a rise in population of family-level Prevotellaceae, genus-level Barnesiella and Prevotella, and species-level Barnesiella intestinihominis may be involved in mechanisms related to the maintenance of muscle strength 

These findings suggest a role for gut bacteria on the maintenance of muscle strength and adds to the elucidation of the gut-muscle axis in older adults


  1. Roger A. Fielding, Andrew R. Reeves et al. Muscle strength is increased in mice that are colonized with microbiota from high-functioning older adults. Experimental Gerontology, 127, 11 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2019.110722
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