Your gut is home to billions and billions of microscopic entities, including fungi, viruses, and (of course) bacteria.
They play an essential role in health, wellness, and performance, affecting not only your ability to properly digest and metabolize food, but also mood, immune function, and cognitive performance.
Essentially, you are only as healthy as your gut is.
As research continues to evolve in the exciting world of gut health, researchers are unearthing yet another significant impact your gut microbiome has -- aging.
How Gut Health Affects Aging
Aging is inevitable. It’s something that will eventually catch up with us all (there’s a reason the saying “Father Time is undefeated and untied.”).
And yet, how an individual ages can vary wildly based on their lifestyle decisions.
For instance, we’ve all seen the quintessential 40-something rocker who looks closer to 80 than he does 40. Similarly, we’ve seen individuals in the 60s who barely look past their 40th birthday.
Sure, genetics play a role (and for a select few, plastic surgery as well), but by and large how “gracefully” you age can be significantly impacted by the choices you make on a daily basis.
Healthy lifestyle habits like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, and being smart about sun exposure all help you age better.
As mentioned at the outset, recently published research suggests that gut microbes may play a role in healthy aging and longevity.[1,2] Scientists noted that older adults whose gut microbiome composition changes the most over time tended to live longer than individuals who experienced relatively little change in their gut microbiome.
More specifically, individuals’ gut microbiomes that evolved over their life were able to perform better physically and have greater mobility compared to individuals who showed less gut microbiome changes.
Now, this doesn’t mean that an ever-evolving gut microbiome causes you to live longer, but greater changes in the microbiome during an individual’s lifespan was associated with lower cholesterol levels, faster walking speeds, and higher levels of certain beneficial biomarkers -- all of which supports a longer life span.
How to Support Healthy Aging
Eat a Healthy Diet
No surprise here.
Regardless of what your physique, performance, or wellness goal is, consuming a healthy diet is essential.
Consuming a micronutrient-rich diet supplies the body with the essential compounds it needs to thrive. Plus, the foods that are “good” for you are also good for your gut, particularly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
These foods contain fiber. While our bodies won’t be able to break down and utilize the fiber in plant foods, our gut microbes need to to survive and grow. And, as we’ve mentioned numerous times before, having a healthier gut improves multiple facets of life -- immune function, skin health, mood, cognition, sleep, athletic performance, etc.
Essentially, if you want to live a long, healthy life, begin by nourishing your mind, body, and gut with wholesome foods that supply all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, and fatty acids you need to thrive.
Regular exercise promotes greater gut microbiome diversity, and research is showing that the effects that regular exercise has on the gut are beneficial for the host (i.e. improving health status).
How exercise does this is a combination of factors including:
- Improving the ratio of Bacteroidetes-Firmicutes bacteria which could aid weight reduction and GI disorders
- Stimulate growth of bacteria which can modulate immunity and improve barrier functions
- cause bacteria capable of producing substances (such as short-chain fatty acids, SCFAs) that protect against gastrointestinal disorders and other diseases
Beyond the obvious lifestyle factors (diet, exercise, sleep, not smoking, etc.) one last suggestion that may benefit the gut microbiome is to supplement with probiotics ("good" bacteria that naturally occur in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut).
In addition to consuming fermented foods, you can also utilize dietary supplements that contain probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes such as 1UP Organic Vegan Greens & Reds Superfoods.
Every serving of 1UP Organic Vegan Greens & Reds Superfoods supplies 19 fruits and veggies along with heat-stable probiotics, digestive enzymes, and prebiotic fiber (to help fuel the bacteria already residing in your gut).
Our easy-to-mix formula with 10 natural flavors can be stirred into water and drunk on its own, or it can be added to your favorite protein shake for an added nutritional boost.
- Wilmanski, Tomasz et al. Gut microbiome pattern reflects healthy ageing and predicts survival in humans. Nature metabolism. vol. 3,2 (2021): 274-286.
- Ghosh, T.S., Shanahan, F. & O’Toole, P.W. The gut microbiome as a modulator of healthy ageing. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 19, 565–584 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-022-00605-x
- Monda V, Villano I, Messina A, Valenzano A, Esposito T, Moscatelli F, Viggiano A, Cibelli G, Chieffi S, Monda M, Messina G. Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3831972. doi: 10.1155/2017/3831972. Epub 2017 Mar 5. PMID: 28357027; PMCID: PMC5357536.