By: Dr. Shaina Cahill, Ph.D. (Director Medical Communications & Affairs)
Aging is a natural process that affects every living organism. While aging is both natural and inevitable, people have always puzzled over how to stop aging in its tracks and live longer. From serums and supplements to diets, there is no shortage of products that claim to be the ‘elixir of youth.’ But what if the answer to slowing down the aging process lies in our gut microbiome?
Collectively, the research shows that as we age, the composition of our gut microbiome changes, with a decrease in diversity and a shift in the relative abundance of certain bacteria, leading to a range of effects on health and well-being 1–9. Studies have shown that the gut microbiome of older adults is significantly different from that of younger adults 2,8,10–14. This has led to the investigation of FMT as a possible treatment option to slow the aging process. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) involves transferring beneficial bacteria from the stool of a healthy, well-screened donor into the gastrointestinal tract of a patient to restore gut health 15–18. This procedure has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including recurrent Clostridium difficile infections, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autism spectrum disorder and metabolic disorders, to name a few 15,17–25.
Recent studies have suggested that FMT may also be beneficial in treating age-related diseases 4,6,7,26. The evidence for using young donors in FMT to help restore an aged gut is relatively new and still in the laboratory, but the results of preliminary studies have been promising 6,27–30. Three pre-clinical studies have found that FMT from a young donor was able to reduce inflammation, recolonize the gut, delay characteristic features of aging, and increase life span 27,30,31. Although the evidence for FMT using young donors to help treat the effects of aging is still in its early stages, it is an exciting prospect that could potentially revolutionize how we treat age-related diseases 6,27–31.
It has been suggested that FMT using a young donor could potentially transfer beneficial microbes to the older recipient, which could reduce age-related symptoms and improve overall health 5,6,28,29. The highlighted pre-clinical studies suggest that FMT may effectively correct age-related dysbiosis 27,30. While this research is still in animal models, it begs the question of whether advancing this research further might yield an ‘elixir of youth’ and that the young gut microbiome could result in an anti-aging therapy; only time will tell 5,6,27–31.
Novel Biome provides you with the ability to Bank your Biome! At Novel Biome, we collect and store your gut microbiome, which can be later used in the event of microbiome damage, such as after taking antibiotics or aging-related gut dysbiosis! Learn more about banking your biome here.
Team Novel Biome
References: 1. Askarova, S. et al. 2020, 2. Badal, V. D. et al. 2020, 3. Bana, B. & Cabreiro, F. 2019, 4. Buford, T. W. 2020, 5. Cryan, J. F. et al. 2019, 6. Li, H., Ni, J. & Qing, H. 2021, 7. Nagpal, R. et al. 2018, 8. O’Toole, P. W. & Jeffery, I. B. 2015, 9. Salazar, N. et al. 2017, 10. Bosco, N. & Noti, M. 2021, 11. Collino, S. et al. 2013, 12. Hohman, L. S. & Osborne, L. C. 2022, 13. Luan, Z. et al. 2020, 14. Wu, L. et al. 2019, 15. Choi, H. H. & Cho, Y.-S. 2016, 16. Gupta, S. et al. 2021, 17. Ser, H.-L. et al. 2021, 18. Xu, M.-Q. 2015, 19. Allegretti, J. R. et al. 2019, 20. Basson, A. R. et al. 2020, 21. Brandt, L. J. & Aroniadis, O. C. 2013, 22. Khan, M. Y. et al. 2018, 23. Moayyedi, P. et al. 2017, 24. Quraishi, M. N. et al. 2017, 25. Rinott, E. et al. 2021, 26. Park, S.-H. et al. 2022, 27. Bárcena, C. et al. 2019, 28. Haifer, C. et al. 2020, 29. Kong, F. et al. 2019, 30. Smith, P. et al. 2017, 31. Parker, A. et al. 2022.