Pump up Your Gut Bacteria


Why am I so surprised?  Scientists are constantly discovering new connection between our gut bacteria and other body functions outside the gut.  In this case, I am so looking forward to a fuller understanding of how gut bacteria appear to effect muscle strength in older adults. 

In a recent study, Tufts University researchers found that the gut bacteria of more active older adults differed from those who were more sedentary.  The more active adults showed higher levels of Prevotella, Barnesiella, and Barnesiella intestinihominis. At this point, others could say, “so what?”. The different activity could contribute to different gut bacteria or the gut bacteria could contribute to increased activity.  The researchers took it one step further by transplanting bacterial samples from the more active adults into 18 germ free mice and samples from the sedentary adults into 18 different germ-free mice.

Being germ free, means the mice were raised from birth in a completely bacterial free environment so they could later inoculate the mice with bacteria for whatever experiment they wanted to do.  In this case, they wanted to know if the different gut bacteria collections would produce any observable differences that matched what they saw in the human subjects.

After 4 weeks, they put the mice through their exercise test and body composition analysis to see if anything was different between the two groups  Amazingly, the mice who had received fecal transfer from the more active adults had increased grip strength as compared to the other mice.  On the downside, they found no difference in terms of endurance or body composition (muscle versus fat, etc.)

The researchers readily acknowledge that the study was very short and very small, but the findings do encourage further study into the role of gut bacteria in our overall health.  I don’t expect there to one day be a probiotic that turns us into the Hulk or makes us live to 100, but I do believe we will learn to modulate the gut microbiome (bacteria in our body) in coming years to further optimize our health.  Until then, we will continue to work on overall gut health with a low inflammatory, high fiber, organic nutrition plan which includes fermented foods for those who don’t have histamine or yeast issues.  That is just one step towards a healthier more abundant life at Sanctuary.


Original Article:

Roger A. Fielding, Andrew R. Reeves, Ravi Jasuja, Christine Liu, Brittany B. Barrett, Michael S. Lustgarten. Muscle strength is increased in mice that are colonized with microbiota from high-functioning older adults. Experimental Gerontology, 2019; 127: 110722 DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2019.110722


Thanks to Science Daily:

Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus. “Microbiome may be involved in mechanisms related to muscle strength in older adults.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190917193639.htm>.

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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