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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.

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


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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.

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

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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.

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

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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).

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