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Unlocking the Secret to Living to 100: The Key Could Be Viruses in Your Gut

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Unlocking the Secret to Longevity: How Gut Bacteria May Hold the Key

Have you ever wondered why some people live to be 100 years old while others struggle to reach their 70s? New research from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen may have found the answer – gut bacteria. Yes, you read that right, the key to a long and healthy life could be in your intestines.

In a study of 176 healthy Japanese centenarians, researchers discovered that the combination of intestinal bacteria and bacterial viruses in these individuals is unique compared to the rest of the population. These specific viruses in the intestines were found to have a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora, ultimately improving the overall health of these individuals.

Associate Professor Simon Rasmussen, the last author of the study, explains, “Our intestines contain billions of viruses living off and inside bacteria, and they could not care less about human cells; instead, they infect the bacterial cells. And seeing as there are hundreds of different types of bacteria in our intestines, there are also lots of bacterial viruses.”

Furthermore, the researchers found that the intestinal flora of the Japanese centenarians displayed high microbial diversity, typically associated with a healthy gut microbiome. This diversity may be one of the reasons why these individuals are better protected against aging-related diseases.

By understanding the dynamics of the intestinal flora and the interaction between different bacteria and viruses, researchers hope to engineer a microbiome that can help people live healthy, long lives. The ultimate goal is to create the perfect gut-balancing medication that can optimize the bacteria found in the human body and protect against disease.

While more research is needed, these new insights into the role of gut bacteria in longevity are promising. As Professor Rasmussen concludes, “Intestinal bacteria are a natural part of the human body and of our natural environment. And the crazy thing is that we can actually change the composition of intestinal bacteria. If we know why viruses and intestinal bacteria are a good match, it will be a lot easier for us to change something that actually affects our health.”

So, the next time you think about living a long and healthy life, remember that the key may lie in your gut. Take care of your intestinal flora, and who knows, you may just reach that 100-year milestone with ease.

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