Gut instinct: Microbiomes and Longevity

New study in fruit flies shows that a novel gut microbiome-modulating formulation can promote Longevity.

Our gut is home to tens of trillions of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi, commonly referred to as gut microbiome. Not only are these microorganisms none harmful to humans, but mounting evidence over years of research has shown their importance in maintaining human health.

However, the role of gut microorganisms in how fast or how well we age is lagging far behind [1].

The amount and composition of microorganisms residing in our guts have been linked to an overwhelming number of health diseases and conditions, including cancer, metabolic and inflammatory disorders, and depression; gut microbiome also affects how well we respond to treatments for several diseases [1].

The formulation used in this study was filed in a US provisional patent through a company co-founded by the authors.

A new study has now provided evidence that the gut microbiome can affect Longevity. Susan Westfall and her colleagues from the McGill University, Canada, performed experiments in fruit flies and showed that flies fed with a combination of probiotics and a herbal polyphenol-rich supplement called Triphala lived longer by 60%. Interestingly, they also found that this formulation protected flies against age-related symptoms [2,3]. The findings of this study were published in Scientific Reports [3], and the formulation used in this study was filed in a US provisional patent through a company co-founded by the authors [4].

“At the onset of this study, we were hopeful that combining Triphala with probiotics would be at least a little better than their individual components in terms of physiological benefit, but we did not imagine how successful this formulation would be,” says Westfall, the lead author of the study.

The importance of gut microorganisms in aging and other human conditions is not so surprising considering that their genome collectively contains about 100 times more genes than the human genome. A recent study from Stanford University has also shown that gut microorganisms produce thousands of small proteins, which could affect human health and aging [5].

Although many probiotics exist in the market, sufficient evidence for their benefits in well-designed human studies is lacking. The gut microbiome is extremely complex, and a better understanding of how exactly these microorganisms affect human diseases and aging will allow for the development of specific microbiome-modulating formulations that promote Longevity and prevent the onset of age-related disorders.


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