Could The Key to A Long Life Lie in Your Gut?

Posted April 2024
2024-05
Beetroot Hommus, Veggie Bites & Feta on Corn Thins slices

If I asked you if you would like to live a long and healthy life my chances of you answering yes are in my favour. There is significant amount of money going towards finding the elixir to a long and healthy life. You will be able to find many different products and theories which claim to help you live longer and healthier there is no one single key.

Factors such as your genetics do play a role in influencing how long you will live but lifestyle choices play a larger role. Your choices such as if and how much you exercise, your mental health, social and family connections, sleep, diet, and drugs you may take can all influence your lifespan.

Diet is one component which can influence your longevity and health. You diet promotes the health of your cells and influences your gut microbiome. This is the types and amounts of different microbes which live in your gut. These gut microbes play a role in influencing the health and function of almost every part of your body and consequently may impact your lifespan.

The types of gut microbes which live in your gut may promote a longer life. One study found that the Firmicutes, Lactobacillus, and Bacteroidetes strains found in greater abundance in those individuals who were living longer lives.

Those individuals who were living with exceptionally low levels of chronic diseases and had a healthier lifespan has a more diverse variety of microbes. This brings out the importance of not having one or two health promoting microbes in vast numbers but variety which may help protect your body from illness and disease in different ways.

Researchers found that people living into their hundreds had a greater number of microbes known to support metabolic health and immunity. These included the strains Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Verrucomicrobia, Akkermansia, Christensenellaceae and Lactobacillus.

Key dietary habits of those individuals living into their hundreds were including three meals which were varied each day. This is a key factor to help you to meet thirty different plant foods a week. This is the number of different plant-based foods recommended a week to promote optimal amount and variety of prebiotic fuel sources. This allows the health promoting microbes in your gut to exist and stay alive.

The major fuel sources of the health promoting microbes comes from plant-based foods. This includes wholegrains like wholegrain bread, wholegrain couscous, oats, wholegrain crackers, quinoa, wholegrain pasta and wholegrain containing crackers/crispbreads like Corn Thins products. Also, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables. 

When the health promoting microbes eat the prebiotic fuel, they create short chain fatty acids. These short chain fatty acids play many key roles in promoting your longevity and health. This includes reducing inflammation and carcinogenesis. Gut microbes also help to regulate bile acid. Bile acid plays several important roles including allowing your body to digest fat. In excess, bile acid can cause DNA damage, mutation, and oxidative stress. Hence it is essential that bile acid be regulated.

Your health promoting microbes also support a healthy gut lining. If the lining of your gut is not healthy this can cause leakage of proinflammatory molecules outside the gut and cause damage to other parts of your body in many ways including promoting chronic inflammation.

Seventy percent of your immune system lies in your gut. When this is imbalanced this causes your immune system to function suboptimal. This causes your risk of diseases to be higher as this impairs the removal of senescent cells to be efficiently removed. Senescent cells are cells which stop multiplying but do not die off as they should. Instead, these cells continue to release chemicals which can induce inflammation in your body. These senescent cells can also damage the healthy cells in your body.

The number of senescent cells you have increases with age. An increase in senescent cells reduces your body’s ability to stay well and recover from stress or illness. It is evident that your gut microbiome plays many roles which may directly or indirectly impact your health and longevity.

Takeaway Message: While there is no one single elixir to a long and healthy life your gut microbiome may play a key role in promoting your longest and healthiest life. To promote a healthy gut microbiome this takes a lifestyle of healthy choices. The key may in fact be to see the importance of your life choices as a whole rather than a single factor.

 

References:

  1. Boyajian JL, Ghebretatios M, Schaly S, Islam P, Prakash S. Microbiome and Human Aging: Probiotic and Prebiotic Potentials in Longevity, Skin Health and Cellular Senescence. Nutrients. 2021; 13(12):4550. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124550
  2. Kim, B.-S.; Choi, C.W.; Shin, H.; Jin, A.-P.; Bae, J.-S.; Han, M.; Seo, E.Y.; Chun, J.; Chung, J.H. Comparison of the Gut Microbiota of Centenarians in Longevity Villages of South Korea with Those of Other Age Groups. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2019, 29, 429–440.
  3. Kong, F.; Hua, Y.; Zeng, B.; Ning, R.; Li, Y.; Zhao, J. Gut microbiota signatures of longevity. Curr. Biol. 2016, 26, R832–R83
  4. Krautkramer, K.A.; Fan, J.; Bäckhed, F. Gut microbial metabolites as multi-kingdom intermediates. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 2021, 19, 77–9
  5. Matt, S.M.; Allen, J.M.; Lawson, M.A.; Mailing, L.J.; Woods, J.A.; Johnson, R.W. Butyrate and Dietary Soluble Fiber Improve Neuroinflammation Associated with Aging in Mice. Front. Immunol. 2018, 9, 1832.
  6. Does cellular senescence hold secrets for healthier aging? National Institute on Aging. July 13,2021. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/does-cellular-senescence-hold-secrets-healthier-aging
Ashleigh Felth…
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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    • Ashleigh Felth…