NANNING, April 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese researchers have found that the gut microbiome of centenarians resembles that of young adults, which may hold the secrets of their longevity.
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China is known for its local longevity culture. Bama, a remote and mountainous county in Guangxi, is recognized by the International Natural Medicine Society as the “hometown of longevity” or a centenarian-clustered area.
In the study, researchers from Lanzhou University and Guangxi Academy of Sciences studied the gut microbiomes of 1,575 individuals aged 20 to 117, including 297 reported to be 100 years old or older. All participants are local residents of Guangxi.
According to the research published in the journal Nature Aging, the participants were divided into five age-related groups, namely young adults, middle-aged, old adults, nonagenarians, and centenarians.
The researchers found that the gut microbiome signature in centenarians has a structure that resembles that in young adults.
Compared with other groups, the gut microbiome of centenarians and young adults is both dominated by Bacteroides spp. Meanwhile, the gut microbiome of the two groups is more diversified and stable.
Fecal samples were collected from 45 centenarians for a year and a half. The results showed that as the centenarians aged, they kept the signature of the gut microbiome.
The researchers said that their study highlights links between gut microbiota patterns and extreme longevity, but how the pattern of the gut microbiota contributes to healthy aging or longevity is unclear.
They added that another question is how the gut microbiome helps centenarians reduce susceptibility to aging-related chronic diseases.
The researchers are now isolating thousands of bacteria strains from the centenarians and testing their benefits on animals, hoping to find microorganisms that can extend the human lifespan or promote health.
(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)