Extremely healthy seniors appear to have the same bacterial composition in their guts as healthy 30-year-olds, shows new research.
The new study was carried out by researchers at the Lawson Health Research Institute of Western University in Ontario, Canada, in collaboration with those at the Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, China.
The scientists analyzed the gut microbiota of more than 1,000 very healthy individuals aged between 3 and 100 years, and the findings were published in the journal mSphere.
Greg Gloor, a professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, is the senior investigator of the study. The first author of the paper is Gaorui Bian, of the Tianyi Health Science Institute.
Gut bacteria in the young and the elderly
Bian and colleagues used 16S Ribosomal RNA sequencing to analyze the microbial composition of the participants’ guts.
The participants were selected based on criteria of “extreme health.” These included no reported disease, either in themselves or in their family.
Participants did not smoke, did not consume any alcohol, had no reported moodiness, and had not been prescribed any drugs or antibiotics in the 3 months leading up to the study.