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Climate change linked to changes in gut microbiota and aging process

Climate change linked to changes in gut microbiota and aging process

In an article published within the journal Human Nutrition and Metabolism, scientists discussed the role of climate change in modulating human gut microbiota composition and the aging process.

Reviewing available studies on these topics, scientists have come to the conclusion that climate change can considerably influence the bidirectional relationship between gut microbiota and aging. 

Study: The interlink between climate changes, gut microbiota, and aging processes. Image Credit: Jacob_09 / Shutterstock

Impact of climate change on human gut microbiota   

An induction in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) and a discount in natural carbon sinks are the most important causes of climate change, primarily characterised by global warming and environmental pollution.

Climate change related increases in temperature can negatively impact the expansion of soil microorganisms, resulting in alteration in soil microbial composition. Studies have shown that global warming can alter the ecosystem by reducing soil labile carbon, increasing Oligotrophic bacteria, and reducing fungi and Actinobacteria.

Microbial communities present within the gastrointestinal tract (gut microbiota) are also sensitive to changing climate, especially temperature and humidity. Regarding soil microbiome, studies have shown that climate change reduces the standard of soil microbiome and fertility and changes its composition.

The alteration in soil microbiome composition is predicted to change the soil cycling of phosphorus, sulfur, and nitrogen. By altering the respiration of the microbiome, climate change can further alter carbon and nitrogen levels within the soil.

The lack of soil biodiversity because of a discount within the variety of soil microbiomes can subsequently deplete the human gut microbiota. Low organic content in soil can reduce the standard and quantity of micronutrients in crops, which in turn can impair the conventional functioning and metabolism of gut microbiota.

Reduced quality of food crops can change gut microbiota composition by increasing Proteobacteria abundance and reducing Bacteroides. These changes can further impact human health status by altering the production of essential micro and macronutrients within the body.

Food plan and gut microbiota

The gut microbiota refers to a set of helpful and pathogenic microorganisms. Food plan is one in every of the most important aspects that may directly modulate the composition and variety of gut microbiota. Macronutrients, including fat, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber, have distinct effects on the gut microbiota.

The results of probiotics and prebiotics on gut microbiota have been studied widely. Probiotics live strains of microorganisms that, when administered in appropriate amounts, provide health advantages to the host by maintaining gut microbiota homeostasis. Prebiotics check with non-viable dietary components that provide health advantages to the host by regulating the expansion and activity of helpful gut microbes.

An interaction between probiotics and prebiotics is required to provide short-chain fatty acids, which play essential roles in maintaining intestinal barrier integrity, secreting gut hormones, stopping inflammation and carcinogenesis, and regulating chromatin.

Evidence indicates that probiotic bacteria can regulate cellular senescence and age-related degeneration through a variety of dietary and immunomodulatory activities. This highlights that weight loss program can influence the aging process through its motion on gut microbiota. Changes in gut microbiota due to poor dietary status can, thus, significantly impact health status in humans.

Gut microbiota and human aging

The gut microbiota is thought to play a big role in regulating many physiological processes, including metabolism, the immune system, and the neuropsychiatric system. Any imbalance in gut microbiota composition and variety (dysbiosis) can result in health complications.

A recent model of the aging hallmark highlights an association between gut microbiota dysbiosis and the onset of the aging process. It has been observed that a reduced abundance of microbial species that produce butyrate is related to health conditions. Although gut microbiota richness increases with age, older adults exhibit a reduced abundance of bacterial species that constitute the core microbiota.

Reduced production of short-chain fatty acids and secondary bile acids and increased production of lipopolysaccharides by the gut microbiota may end up in chronic, low-grade inflammation, the hallmark of many age-related diseases.

The communication between gut microbiota and the brain (the gut-brain axis) occurs through various pathways, including the vagus nerve, enteric nervous system, immune system, and tryptophan metabolism. These pathways involve plenty of metabolites which are produced by the gut microbiota, including short-chain fatty acids, branched-chain amino acids, and peptidoglycans.    

An imbalance in helpful and pathogenic bacterial abundance can impact age-related physical capacities by inducing inflammation, reducing lean muscle mass, altering lipid metabolism, and reducing vitamin levels. A high abundance of helpful bacterial communities is related to an anti-inflammatory response, improved mitochondrial respiration, and increased production of short-chain fatty acids.

Gut microbiota dysbiosis can influence cognitive functions and psychological well-being by increasing cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, lipopolysaccharide levels, and amyloid deposition within the brain. These changes are related to the onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Gut microbiota dysbiosis can alter plenty of metabolic processes, resulting in excessive fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance. These changes are related to the event of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.


This review article finds an interlink between climate change, gut microbiota, and human aging. Nevertheless, the scientists indicate that studies exploring this interlink are limited. Thus, more studies are required to firmly establish the results of various facets of climate change on gut microbiota and the aging process.



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