Live to 100: With a Little Help from Little Friends
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living longer

I always say I'd love to live to be 100 but only if I remained healthy enough to enjoy it. And today, that's more likely than 30 years ago. Over that time, the number of centenarians have grown by two thirds in this country. It's still a small number at about 55,000, but we're obviously doing something right!

One new finding is that they may have unique microbes in their gut. Japanese centenarians' gut microbiome reduces their risk for chronic diseases and infections. These microbes impact digestion, produce vitamins, and even protect us against pathogens. But as we age, we lose some of the diversity within the microbial species there. That may lead to more frailty in older people.

Another study compared the microbiomes of three groups: 160 centenarians, one hundred twelve people ages 85 to 89, and 47 people ages 21 to 55. Again, the guts of the centenarians were distinct. They had bacterial populations not present in the other groups and lost some others found in those groups. They also had much higher levels of secondary bile acids made by their microbiome. The impact of this is that bile acids can stop the growth of damaging bacteria in the gut, giving them a "healthy" gut.

How this leads to long life is speculative. Who knows, one day a factor of long life long life may be taking a "centenarian" probiotic for healthy gut.

For more information…

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