A new research has shown that gut microbiome has effects on human health and boosts ageing in older people.
This is just as a researcher with Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos, Saheed Adekola, disclosed that gut microbiome is implicated in conditions like pregnancy complication.
Gut microbiome, as defined by a molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg, is the totality of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi and the collective genetic material present in the gastrointestinal tract.
The study, which was published in Nature Metabolism, a peer reviewed journal, demonstrated that gut microbiomes has become increasingly unique to individuals starting in mid-to-late adulthood.
Lead researcher Tomasz Wilmanski, from the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, United States; and other members of the team noted that the research leveraged three independent cohorts comprising over 9,000 individuals.
Among other things, it also found that compositional uniqueness is strongly associated with microbial-produced amino acid derivatives circulating in the bloodstream.
Wilmanski disclosed that healthy individuals of older age (over 80 years) show continued microbial drift towards a unique compositional state, whereas the drift is absent in less healthy individuals.
His analysis identified an increasing compositional uniqueness of the gut microbiome as a component of healthy ageing, which is characterised by distinct microbial metabolic outputs in the blood.
“Studies over the past few years have revealed a number of associations between gut microbiome composition and measures of physical fitness, frailty and diet, highlighting the importance of proper gut microbiome function into the later decades of human life.
“Despite substantial progress in our understanding of the human gut microbiome, still very little is known about when age-associated changes in the gut microbiome begin, how these changes influence host physiology, and whether ageing patterns within the gut microbiome simply reflect, or contribute to, long-term health and survival outcomes,” he said.
He stressed that several studies conducted on centenarian populations provided potential insight into gut microbial trajectories associated with ageing.
A centenarian is a person who has reached the age of 100 years or more.
The research team also stated that similar findings have since been reported in other centenarian populations across the world, such as in Sardinian, Chinese and Korean centenarians, relative to healthy, younger controls.
Reacting to the study, a senior medical laboratory scientist and researcher at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos, Saheed Adekola, expressed reservations about the study
He told PUNCH HealthWise that although recent analyses have demonstrated a link between gut microbiome composition and long-term health outcomes, it has a limiting factor in terms of health metrics.
“This is a research papers with hypothetical facts. There is always a limitation to such study. This is an international research publication in Nature,” he said.
The scientist emphasised that there is always a gap in knowledge, adding that there is equally null and alternate hypothesis in research.
“Microbiome plays a good and bad role. It is, however, implicated in many a condition.
“It is implicated in conditions like Preeclampsia, such as hypertension in pregnancy. I read it recently in a colleague’s ongoing research work,” he stated.
According to Mayo Clinic, Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys.
It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal.
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