We all have a community of bacteria that lives within our digestive tract. That microbiome is a key player in our overall health. It affects so many systems within the body, including our weight, metabolism, mood and even our blood sugar levels. Even though it affects our health in such profound ways, it is often something that is overlooked.
Researchers wanted to check out the connection and see how it works so they compared gut bacteria from 18 older adults who had "high-physical function and favorable body composition" with 11 other adults who were older that had "low-physical function and less favorable body composition." The study was then published in Experimental Gerontology1 and it showed there were significant differences in the bacterial profiles of the two groups. The group that had a more favorable body composition had higher levels of Prevotellaceae, Prevotella, Barnesiella, and Barnesiella intestinihominis bacteria.
In another portion of the study1, patients were inoculated with bacteria taken from those 2 different human groups. They wanted to observe the metabolic and physical profiles of the mice and how they changed as a result of the injection. You will be interested in knowing that the mice who received the bacteria from the more 'favorable body composition' group also showed stronger grip strength, which is often used to measure muscle strength.
They looked at the results and concluded, "We now start to understand the role of gut bacteria in the maintenance of muscle strength in older adults," said Michael Lustgarten, one of the study's main authors. "For example, if we were to conduct an intervention to increase Prevotella levels in the gut microbiome2, we would expect to see an increase in muscle strength if these bacteria are involved," he continued.
This may be able to help individuals who regularly go to the gym as well as athletes. It could also be beneficial for the older members of our population. One of the study's other authors, Roger Fielding said, "As we age, body composition, muscle strength, and lean mass all decrease. Identifying differences in bacteria present in the high-functioning and low-functioning groups in this study moves us toward a fuller understanding of both the gut microbiome and healthy aging."
One thing is certain, it's a good idea to support our general health by improving our gut microbiome. The easiest way to do this is to have a diet high inprebiotic3 fiber and by taking an all-natural probiotic supplement.
1. Muscle strength is increased in mice that are colonized with microbiota from high-functioning older adults , November 2019, 110722
3. The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat, June 8, 2016