Navigation Links
Gut Microbes Might Reflect Health, Diet of Older Adults

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- The health of elderly people appears closely linked with their diet and the type of microorganisms living in their gut, suggesting that what you eat may affect how well you age, according to new research.

"Our findings indicate that any two given older people, independent of [their] starting health status and genetic makeup, could experience very different rates of health loss upon aging due to dietary choices that impact on their gut bacterial ecosystem," said Paul O'Toole, senior author of the study appearing July 13 in the journal Nature.

"You can think of [diet] as another controllable environmental factor that we can act upon to promote healthier aging," O'Toole added.

Numerous studies have indicated a link between the "microbiota" that live in the human gut and health, including obesity and perhaps even brain health. More recent studies have noted greater variation in the microbiota of elderly people than younger people.

To study the potential meaning of this greater variation, these authors looked at the gut microbiota of 178 elderly individuals (average age 78). None was being treated with antibiotics, which can alter the composition of your gut.

The researchers discovered that intestinal flora (microbes) varied depending on where the participants lived and also with their health.

For instance, people living independently in the community had more varied flora and were the healthiest.

On the other hand, people living in long-term, assisted-living situations had less diverse flora and tended to be frailer.

The differences in flora were associated with differences in diet, although it's unclear if the diet was responsible for the number and type of flora and health status or the other way around.

It does seem likely that it's diet that ultimately determines a person's health status, the authors stated.

"The diet of older people changes quickly when they move from community to long-term care (in a couple of weeks), but the microbiota changes more slowly -- up to a year for full change from community type to long-term residential type," O'Toole explained. "One would not expect that the rate of heath decline in this time could be responsible for the change in microbiota composition. It's more plausible to be driven by diet."

A September 2011 study in the journal Science found that people who ate a diet high in fats and animal proteins had a different assortment of bacteria in their digestive tracts than people who ate a diet with more plant-based foods and higher carbohydrates.

Identifying exactly what lives in our guts could point to dietary interventions that might lead to longer and healthier lives, authors of the new study stated.

"To combat frailty, it makes sense if our microbiota is helping our bodies to be as effective and efficient as possible," said O'Toole, a senior lecturer in genetics at University College Cork, in Ireland.

Gut microbiota synthesizes vitamins, helps metabolism and appears also to profoundly affect how our immune systems work.

"[Some studies] have shown that gut bacteria can 'talk' to the brain by synthesizing compounds that affect the brain-gut axis," O'Toole said. "An exciting theory is that altered gut bacteria in older subjects could impact on cognitive function or mood."

Gastroenterologist Dr. Ilseung Cho commented on the findings. "This is one of the first studies that correlates differences in the gut microbiome to disease in the elderly. It remains to be seen whether the observed differences are a result or cause of infirmity in this particular population," said Cho, an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City. "Regardless, these findings add to the growing body of evidence that shows that the gut microbiome can affect human health and disease at all stages of life," Cho added.

Dr. David Bernstein, a gastroenterologist and chief of hepatology at North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System, in Manhasset, N.Y., considers the findings preliminary. "We know that there are millions or billions of bacteria throughout the gut, and how we manipulate those certainly affects health," said Bernstein, who is also a professor of medicine at Hofstra-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine.

"This is an important topic [but] it requires a lot more research," Bernstein said.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on human microbiota.

SOURCES: Paul O'Toole, Ph.D., senior lecturer in genetics, University College Cork, Ireland; Ilseung Cho, M.D., gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; David Bernstein, M.D., gastroenterologist and chief, hepatology, North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System, Manhasset, N.Y., and professor of medicine, Hofstra-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine, Hempstead, N.Y.; July 13, 2012, Nature

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Probe Diversity of Human Bodys Microbes
2. New Stool Test Might Aid in Early Detection of Colon Cancer
3. Depo-Provera Birth Control Might Raise Breast Cancer Risk
4. Brain Falters Near End of Life, but Games, Puzzles Might Slow Decline
5. Infection Might Raise Blood Clot Risk for Older Adults: Study
6. Anxiety Might Help People Sniff Out Threats
7. Lung Cancer Screening Might Pay Off, Analysis Shows
8. Mobile Stroke Units Might Trim Time to Treatment
9. Common Plastics Chemical Might Boost Diabetes Risk
10. Media Multitasking Might Have Mental Upside
11. Brain Surgery Might Ease Tough-to-Treat OCD
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Gut Microbes Might Reflect Health, Diet of Older Adults
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all ... brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway ... call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting ... restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its ... Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding ... Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions ... initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first ... is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that it ... software solution of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates ... to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic ... establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of choice ... clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred EDC ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: