Aging is a highly complex process that affects a wide range of physiological, genomic, metabolic and immunological mechanisms. It has been known for decades that the aging process involves a decline in healthy metabolism and the body’s ability to maintain a strong and effective immune response. However, it is only recently that advances in cellular and molecular research have made it possible to better understand underlying schemes of complex processes of age-related defects, such as inflammation and metabolic ones, namely lysosomal disorders.
Indeed, these disorders may be one of the major risk factors for age-related increased susceptibility to different chronic ailments, including cardio-vascular defects, infections, bowel disease, autoimmune ailments, carcinomas, diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative defects. Recent studies on aging have made extraordinary progress: it is assumed that aging can be controlled by supporting homeostasis of various genetic, biochemical and immunological processes.
Interestingly, many of the clinical problems, such as multi-drug effects, dietary modification, and constipation commonly connected with aging, are also related to disruptions in the cellular structure and function of the gut microbiome. Since gut microbiome is related to barrier integrality, anti-inflammatory balance, immune and cardio-metabolic health, the gut-brain axis, and aging-associated clinical problems, there may be an increased susceptibility to various infectious and intestinal ailments, causing modifications in microbiota in elderly.
Microbiota can also be associated with age-related chronic diseases, therefore, can be used as a target to combat aging process. In addition, healthy cells of the body must respond in time in order to repair lysosomal breaches. And maintaining this particular ability of theirs is also very important.
Gut microorganisms do not age by themselves, but the incidence of comorbidities connected with microbiota generally increases as the body ages and wears out. Older adults have been found to have a different microbiota profile in comparison with younger healthy people. This difference can be explained by several reasons associated with aging: lifestyle and dietary changes, less mobility, weakened immune response, reduced bowel function, modifications in bowel morphology and physiology, recurrent infections, hospitalization and drug use, etc. In most cases in the elderly, microbiota diversity is decreased, while levels of opportunists such as enterobacteria are increased.
However, these changes may vary by geographic region, as different outcomes have been observed in elderly populations from different localities. It remains unknown whether gut dysbiosis is a direct catalyst for or a consequence of aging. However, gut microbiota homeostasis is critical for hence restoring it could contribute to longevity.
Given microbiota has a major impact on numerous aspects of health, and abnormalities in microbiota diversity and functionality are connected with various inflammatory conditions, it is important to look at biology from a microbiota perspective and consider some abnormalities as signs of the aging process.
Not surprisingly, the gut microbial ecosystem is now attracting significant attention in the context of developing new mechanisms for calm aging and well-being in older people. However, the concept of manipulation of microbiome for aging may go back to the hypothesis that age-connected diseases are primarily the consequences of reactive phagocytes that damage tissues in response to the presence of autotoxins in the gut, and that the restoration of microflora through regular intake of, for example, yogurt may promote healthy aging.
Although a causal relationship has not yet been established, the evidence available on the relationship between the gut microbiome and nutrition suggests that dietary interventions to regulate microbiota composition can foster healthy aging and longevity. In this context, probiotics and prebiotics are promising candidates for developing nutritional strategies for anti-aging therapy.