I don’t need more proof that gut bacteria is the single most important influencer of health and disease…especially considering I wrote a whole book about it. In fact, my book, Boost Your Health with Bacteria, came out years before the Human Microbiome Project even started. (In case you’re not familiar with the Human Microbiome Project, it was a five-year long NIH initiative started in 2008, which identified and characterized gut micororganisms and their role in human health and disease.)
But it’s a topic I never get tired of. And I’m fascinated and amazed by every new discovery that hits the headlines. Especially studies like the one published recently by the American Society for Microbiology—which perfectly demonstrates that you’re really only as old as your microbiome appears.
This research analyzed the gut bacteria of more than 1,000 Chinese subjects with ages that ran the gamut, spanning from just 3 years old to over 100. The older subjects were specifically selected for their extreme health—with no known personal or family histories of disease.
The goal was a noble one, to say the least. The researchers theorize that if you can diagnose potential problems in a patient’s microbiome, you can use food and probiotics to change it for the better. And part of that puzzle—the part they attempted to uncover in this study—is determining what a healthy gut looks like.
And thanks to this study’s findings, we have at least part of the answer. According to the researchers, a healthy microbiome looks pretty much the same, whether you’re 30 or 90.
That’s right: Results showed that composition of gut bacteria was nearly identical between healthy subjects in their 30s and healthy elderly subjects.
The study authors’ main conclusion? Exceptionally healthy seniors have exceptionally healthy—and young-looking—microbiomes. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not a coincidence.
These researchers couldn’t say for certain whether a “young” microbiome caused the seniors in their study to be so healthy. But one thing was clear—and it’s the same thing I have been telling you for years now. Bacterial diversity was the most essential factor for good health—no matter the subject’s age.
So maybe it’s not news to you and me. But this research brings us one step closer to seeing gut bacteria profiles become a standard biomarker of health in doctors’ offices everywhere—just like blood sugar, blood pressure, or any other metric.
It also means that probiotics may finally take their rightful place as the most essential form of preventive medicine there is. To which I can only say… welcome to the future. The mainstream always shows up late to the party. But better late than never, as they say. I’m just glad the rest of the world is finally catching up.
So if you’re not already taking a high-quality, multi-strain probiotic, there’s no time like the present to get started. I recommend Dr. Ohhira’s line of probiotics—it’s the only kind of suggest to my patients. Take one capsule, twice daily on an empty stomach to turn back the clock on your micobiome.
Bian G, et al. mSphere. 2017 Sep 27;2(5).