Bacteria and various other microorganisms in the gut can impact health in various ways. Changes to the gut flora that happen with age have been associated with specific health problems, including declines in the function of the brain and eyes.
A recent mouse study suggests that fecal transplants from younger donors may help reduce some of these impacts of aging.
The microorganisms that live in the gut can improve health in various ways. However, they can be impacted by many factors. Researchers are still learning how gut bacteria changes with age and how these changes may affect health.
A recent studyTrusted Source, published in Microbiome and conducted in mice, suggests that introducing younger bacteria into the gut via fecal transfers could help to reduce the effects of aging in the gut, eyes, and brain.
Gut health and fecal transplantsThe gastrointestinal tractTrusted Source contains many microorganisms, all of which can impact our digestive health and overall health. For example, our gut flora helps us in the following ways:
Maintaining the body’s immune functionMaintaining a healthy metabolism Protecting against harmful pathogens When the gut bacteria changes, it can lead to many health problems, such as developing infections or problems with inflammation.
When the bacteria in the gut become depleted or harmed, one treatment mode is via fecal transplant. Fecal transplants are procedures when a doctor inserts feces from a donor with healthy gut flora into the colon of the person with abnormal gut flora. These transplants can help to regulate and improve gut microorganisms.
However, the uses of fecal transplants might reach farther than researchers currently understand.
Transferring gut bacteria The study examined the impact of fecal microbiota transfer (FMT) on aging using mice. The mice were divided into three age groups:Three months (young)18 months (old)24 months (aged)
Researchers first depleted the gut microbiota of the mice who received the fecal transfers by giving them broad-spectrum antibiotics. They gave the young mice fecal transfers from older mice and older mice transfers from young mice. They compared these groups with each other and with control groups that either received a transfer from mice their own age or no fecal transfer.
The researchers then performed behavioral testing to evaluate the mice’s brain functioning.