The secret to living to 100 could all be down to your gut, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied 176 centenarians from Japan and found they had a ‘unique’ combination of gut bacteria.
Dr Joachim Johansen said: ‘Previous research has shown the intestinal bacteria of old Japanese citizens produce brand new molecules that make them resistant to pathogenic, disease-promoting, microorganisms.
‘And if their intestines are better protected against infection, well, then that is probably one of the things that cause them to live longer than others.’
Specific viruses in the intestines can have a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora and thus on our health, the study showed.
The Japanese centenarians also had a huge variety of both bacteria and bacterial viruses in their guts.
‘High microbial diversity is usually associated with a healthy gut microbiome,’ associate professor Simon Rasmussen said.
‘And we expect people with a healthy gut microbiome to be better protected against ageing related diseases.’
The key to making people live longer, it seems, will be to work out how this bacterial variety can be replicated to fight common diseases.
Using a specially created algorithm, the researchers managed to map the intestinal bacteria and bacterial viruses.
Prof Rasmussen added: ‘Intestinal bacteria are a natural part of the human body and of our natural environment.
‘And the crazy thing is that we can actually change the composition of intestinal bacteria.
‘We cannot change the genes – at least not for a long time to come.’
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