Friday December 6, 2019

Microorganisms Living In The Gut May Alter The Ageing Process

A new study says that the microorganisms found living in the gut may alter ageing process

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Microorganisms
Researchers have found that microorganisms living in the gut may alter the ageing process. Pixabay

Researchers have found that microorganisms living in the gut may alter the ageing process, which could lead to the development of food-based treatment to slow it down.

All living organisms, including human beings, coexist with a myriad of microbial species living in and on them, and research conducted over the last 20 years has established their important role in nutrition, physiology, metabolism and behaviour.

“We’ve found that microbes collected from an old mouse have the capacity to support neural growth in a younger mouse,” said study researcher Sven Pettersson from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

“This is a surprising and very interesting observation, especially since we can mimic the neuro-stimulatory effect by using butyrate alone,” Pettersson added.

Using mice, the research team transplanted gut microbes from old mice (24 months old) into young, germ-free mice (six weeks old).

After eight weeks, the young mice had increased intestinal growth and production of neurons in the brain, known as neurogenesis.

The team showed that the increased neurogenesis was due to an enrichment of gut microbes that produce a specific short chain fatty acid, called butyrate.

Butyrate is produced through microbial fermentation of dietary fibres in the lower intestinal tract and stimulates production of a pro-longevity hormone called FGF21, which plays an important role in regulating the body’s energy and metabolism.

Microorganisms, mice
Using mice, the research team transplanted gut microorganisms from old mice into young, germ-free mice. Pixabay

As we age, butyrate production is reduced.

The researchers then showed that giving butyrate on its own to the young germ-free mice had the same adult neurogenesis effects.

“These results will lead us to explore whether butyrate might support repair and rebuilding in situations like stroke, spinal damage and to attenuate accelerated ageing and cognitive decline,” Pettersson said.

The team also explored the effects of gut microbe transplants from old to young mice on the functions of the digestive system.

With age, the viability of small intestinal cells is reduced, and this is associated with reduced mucus production that make intestinal cells more vulnerable to damage and cell death.

However, the addition of butyrate helps to better regulate the intestinal barrier function and reduce the risk of inflammation.

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The team found that mice receiving microbes from the old donor gained increases in length and width of the intestinal villi – the wall of the small intestine. In addition, both the small intestine and colon were longer in the old mice than the young germ-free mice.

The discovery shows that gut microbes can compensate and support an ageing body through positive stimulation. (IANS)

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Start Checking Your Cholestrol Level from Mid-20s to Avoid Heart Disease: Study

Cholesterol is a fatty substance - a lipid - found in some foods and also produced in our liver

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Heart
Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of Heart disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more. Pixabay

A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke.

The study, published in “The Lancet”, is the most comprehensive yet to look at the long-term health risks of having too much “bad” cholesterol for decades, the BBC reported.

Researchers maintain that earlier the people take action to reduce cholesterol through diet changes and medication, the better.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance – a lipid – found in some foods and also produced in our liver. It is needed to make hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, Vitamin D and other compounds.

While High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is “good” as it keeps the body healthy, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is “bad” as it can clog arteries.

Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more.

They were able to estimate the probability of a heart attack or stroke for people aged 35 and over, according to their gender, bad-cholesterol level, age and risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, height and weight, and blood pressure.

The BBC quoted the report’s co-author Stefan Blankenberg of the University Heart Center in Hamburg: “The risk scores currently used in the clinic to decide whether a person should have lipid-lowering treatment only assess the risk of cardiovascular disease over 10 years and so may underestimate lifetime risk, particularly in young people.”

Heart
A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke. Pixabay

Blankenberg told BBC: “I strongly recommend that young people know their cholesterol levels and make an informed decision about the result – and that could include taking a statin.”

However, he added, there is a danger that people could rely on statins rather than leading a health lifestyle and although they were usually well tolerated, studies had not been done on the potential side-effects of taking them over decades.

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British Heart Foundation medical director Nilesh Samani said: “This large study again emphasises the importance of cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

“It also shows that for some people, taking measures at a much earlier stage to lower cholesterol, for example by taking statins, may have a substantial benefit in reducing their lifelong risk from these diseases.” (IANS)