What is the secret to living to a hundred years? The answer may be in the gut

    What is the secret to living to a hundred years? The answer may be in the gut

    New research suggests that centenarians have their gut microbiome to thank - at least in part

    Living over a hundred years is a rare milestone for a human being. Now new research suggests that centenarians must thank their gut microbiome - at least in part.

    We might think that the secrets of the long life are written in our genes. In reality, genetic factors contribute less than 30% to our life expectancy, while the rest of the responsibility is attributable to other factors that can change over time - such as nutrition, the quality of our relationships, the type of physical activity performed. Centenarians, in general, are less susceptible to age-related chronic diseases and are somehow capable of avoiding infectious diseases. Now it seems that the intestinal microbiome - the millions of microorganisms that live in our digestive system - can explain why this 'resistance'.

    A study, conducted by Keio University School of Medicine (Tokyo) on Japanese 100-year-olds, shows that those over 160 harbor different groups of bacteria within their gut, which generate unique combinations and which can ward off infections and other stressors deriving from the environment in which they live. The study looked at 107 112-year-olds from different areas of Japan (their average age was 80) and compared the bacterial communities found in their stool samples with those of 90 other elderly people (aged 47 to XNUMX years). ) and XNUMX young people.

    Already a study conducted a few years ago on over XNUMX years old in Sardinia had analyzed the microbiome of these people and had discovered a wide variety of microbial species that live in the intestines of the elderly compared to those that live in the young or the less elderly.

    (Read also: Longevity molecule discovered in Japanese plant used by samurai)

    While some of the centenarians participating in the study showed the typical signs of aging, most of the elderly did not have symptoms of the most common chronic diseases - such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer. In addition, the centenarians presented a unique mix of bile acids, thanks to the bacterial chains capable of synthesizing them.

    The study, however, did not focus on analyzing other factors such as diet and lifestyle, so we cannot say what contributed to this very particular microbiotic profile. The microbiome present in the intestine, in fact, is as complex as it is extremely sensitive to changes: its bacterial composition can change significantly within a few days, even if only if you change your diet, favoring the proliferation of some colonies of bacteria to the detriment of other.

    There are therefore many ways to stay healthy and extend your life: in addition to a healthy and varied diet, the intake of live lactic ferments also contributes to the health of the intestinal microbiome; Furthermore, keeping away from emotionally stressful and tiring situations allows our intestines to function better and keep us alive longer.

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    Source: Nature

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