Jan 26 2020

Is Our Gut a Predictor of How Long we Will Live?

Published by at 1:01 pm under probiotic supplements

Is our gut a predictor of how long we will live?
A group of scientists believes they can predict future health by examining the microbiome.

The microbiome is at the core of our health. It has been linked to all sorts of health issues including digestive disorders, mood patterns, inflammation, and arthritis. Eighty percent of our immune system originates from the gut so if our guts are healthy so are we. Scientists are now suggesting that our microbiome can be an indicator of our future health in terms of years we will live. There are two new studies that find our mix of microbes can “reveal the presence of many diseases…” and may “…anticipate our risk of dying within the next 15 years…” According to this research, our gut microbes may be better at determining diseases than our own genes can.1*

“…In the first study, researchers reviewed 47 studies looking at associations between the collective genomes of the gut microbes and 13 common diseases. These included schizophrenia, hypertension, and asthma—all of which are considered “complex” because they are caused by both environmental and genetic factors. They then compared these studies with 24 genome-wide association (GWA) studies, which correlate specific human genetic variants with diseases….”1*

In a paper posted on the preprint server bioRxiv, the research team reported that the “…genetic signature of gut microbes was 20% better at discriminating between a healthy and an ill person than a person’s own genes…” The microbiome was better at predicting whether someone had colorectal cancer by 50%  than GWA studies. The only genetic profile that outperformed the human microbiome was that of predicting whether someone had type 1 diabetes.1*

The study’s author Braden Tierney is a computational biologist at Harvard Medical School. He acknowledges that this is a preliminary analysis and that the work could ultimately benefit people, by using both the microbiome and human genetics to improve patient quality of life by “…identifying key markers in both sets of genomes that could help diagnose these complex diseases…”1*

According to Tierney, a person’s environment, including what they eat and how often they exercise may continue to remain a better predictor of diseases which tend to have a large environmental component. This includes such diseases as type 2 diabetes.1*

A second study looked at the link between a person’s microbiome and how long they lived. The analysis referred to a Finnish study that has been collecting health information and data from thousands of participants since 1972. Participants donated stool samples in 2002 that were sequenced 15 years later. “…The data reveal that individuals with an abundance of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria—a family of potentially infectious bacteria that includes Escherichia coli and salmonella—are 15% more likely to die in the next 15 years…” This link between gut bacteria and increased risk of death was consistent across the eastern and western Finnish populations, whose genetic backgrounds and lifestyles are quite different. 1*

For both research studies, researchers say they are still unclear as to why there is this connection between the microbiome and death and disease. Is it that the microbes are causing disease? Or, are they shortening a person’s life span in some way? Or, it is that the gut is just reflective of whatever else is going on in the body?  Regardless, doctors, researchers, and scientists who are focused on treating and preventing human diseases are starting to pay a lot more attention to what is going on in the gut and will most likely find that all the above are true. *

While the microbiome is still relatively new and unexplored in so many ways, there is hope and enthusiasm that soon microbiome-based therapeutics and diagnostics will be developed. 1*

It’s encouraging to know that the science and health communities are putting their energy and resources towards examining gut health for determining health issues and diseases. At Body Biotics™, we know the importance of it and that is why we developed Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ so many years ago. As conventional medicine and health practitioners continue to recognize and acknowledge the importance of gut health, more emphasis will be put on prevention as opposed to addressing issues after they have developed. By keeping our guts healthy and ensuring we are replenishing depleted microbes whether it be from antibiotic use, poor diets or just daily living in our fast world with Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™,  we are one step ahead as we focus on staying healthy for the long run.*

Healthiest wishes,




  1. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/microbes-your-gut-could-predict-whether-you-re-likely-die-next-15-years

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