Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Healthy aging and the human gut microbiome: why we cannot just turn back the clock

The aging research field has largely focused on reversing aging-related changes in the body. However, emerging evidence about the gut microbiome indicates that it may not be optimal to just turn back the clock. Here, we advocate for a more tailored and function-focused approach promoting health across the lifespan.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Why reverting gut microbiomes of older hosts to a ‘younger’ state may not be the optimal approach.

References

  1. Wilmanski, T., Rappaport, N., Diener, C., Gibbons, S. M. & Price, N. D. Gut Microbes 13, 1–20 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Wilmanski, T. et al. Nat. Metab. 3, 274–286 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. O’Toole, P. W. & Jeffery, I. B. Science 350, 1214–1215 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Wu, L., Zeng, T., Zinellu, A., Rubino, S., Kelvin, D. J. & Carru, C. mSystems 4, e00325-19 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Kong, F. et al. Curr. Biol. 26, R832–R833 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bárcena, C. et al. Nat. Med. 25, 1234–1242 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Boehme, M. et al. Nat. Aging 1, 666–676 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Kundu, P. et al. Sci. Transl. Med. 11, eaau4760 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Villeda, S. A. et al. Nat. Med. 20, 659–663 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Claesson, M. J. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 4586–4591 (2011). Suppl 1.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Jeffery, I. B., Lynch, D. B. & O’Toole, P. W. ISME J. 10, 170–182 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Ghosh, T. S., Das, M., Jeffery, I. B. & O’Toole, P. W. eLife 9, 50240 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Biagi, E. et al. Curr. Biol. 26, 1480–1485 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Fu, J. et al. Gut https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2022-328034 (2022).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Sovran, B. et al. Sci. Rep. 9, 1437 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Márquez, E. J. et al. Nat. Commun. 11, 751 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Collino, S. et al. PLoS One 8, e56564 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Wilmanski, T. et al. Nat. Biotechnol. 37, 1217–1228 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Wilmanski, T. et al. Med (N.Y.) 3, 388–405.e6 (2022).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Sonowal, R. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, E7506–E7515 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Powell, D. N. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 117, 21519–21526 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Mossad, O. et al. Nat. Aging 1, 1127–1136 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Molinaro, A. et al. Nat. Commun. 11, 5881 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Weber, D. et al. Blood 126, 1723–1728 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Ylilauri, M. P. T. et al. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 110, 1416–1423 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

N.D.P. and S.M.G. were supported by a US National Academy of Medicine Catalyst Award in Healthy Longevity. SMG was supported by a Washington Research Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award and by startup funds from the Institute for Systems Biology. T.W. was supported by a generous gift from C. Ellison. This publication was also supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award no. R01DK133468 (to S.M.G.). The content of this piece is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funders had no role in designing, carrying out, or interpreting the work presented in the manuscript. Thank you also to Allison Kudla for designing the accompanying figure.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Sean M. Gibbons or Nathan D. Price.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

N.D.P. is CSO of Thorne HealthTech, which sells a microbiome test with personalized health recommendations. The test is not discussed in this article.

Peer review

Peer review information

Nature Aging thanks Sven Pettersson and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wilmanski, T., Gibbons, S.M. & Price, N.D. Healthy aging and the human gut microbiome: why we cannot just turn back the clock. Nat Aging 2, 869–871 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43587-022-00294-w

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43587-022-00294-w

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing