Supplements originating from a gut bacteria might help in slowing down the ageing process, according to scientists.
Researchers identified a bacterium -- C. elegans -- whose genes and compounds extend the life as well as retard the progression of tumours and the build-up of amyloid-beta -- a compound linked to Alzheimer's disease.
"The scientific community is increasingly aware that our body's interactions with the millions of microbes in our bodies, the microbiome, can influence many of our functions, such as cognitive and metabolic activities and ageing," said Meng Wang, associate professor at Baylor University.
"In this work, we investigated whether the genetic composition of the microbiome might also be important for longevity," Wang added.
For the study, appearing in the journal Cell, the team chose a complete gene-deletion library of bacterium E. coli; a collection of E. coli, each lacking one of close to 4,000 genes.
"We fed C. elegans each individual mutant bacteria and then looked at the worms' life span," Wang said.
"Of the nearly 4,000 bacterial genes we tested, 29, when deleted, increased the worms' lifespan. Twelve of these bacterial mutants also defended the worms against the tumour growth and accumulation of amyloid-beta, a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease in humans," Wang stated.
Further trials have shown that some of the bacterial mutants improved longevity by acting on some of the worm's known procedures linked to ageing.
Built on these results it might be likely in the future to design preparations of bacteria or their compounds that could help reduce the ageing process, the researchers noted.