More and more scientific papers are highlighting the health benefits of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). The administration of stool from a healthy individual into the digestive tract of a person with a pathology related to the gut microbiota has shown very interesting results. It is even recognised as a treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. But did you know that it offers hope for limiting the effects of ageing?


Eternal youth has always fascinated humanity. In a society where we are gaining years of life thanks to medical progress, aging without looking old or being sick is the quest of most of us. This is potentially possible thanks to the intestinal microbiota.

What are the effects of aging on the gut microbiota?

It is now known that the gut microbiota, once developed and matured around the age of 2-3 years, is stable throughout life. Nevertheless, there is a loss of diversity and a change in composition around the age of 60-70. A dysbiosis appears, linked to alterations in morphology and physiological functions. Consequences:

  • Intestinal permeability increases. This leads to age-related inflammation (inflammaging) and immune system dysregulation (immunosenescence), which is the cause of several chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative dementia.
  • The thickness of the mucus layer decreases. Bacteria penetrate more easily and come into direct contact with the epithelium – inflammation sets in.

For more details, read this infographic.

Modulation of the intestinal microbiota is an avenue to be explored in order to better cope with the effects of ageing.

Is FMT a solution to reverse ageing?

This is what a recent study published in the journal Microbiome suggests. This preliminary study conducted on mice at the University of East Anglia shows both surprising and encouraging results.

The research team exchanged the gut microbiota of:

  • Young mice (3 months)
  • Old mice (18 months)
  • And aged mice (24 months)

After analysis of the changes in gut composition and metabolomics due to FMT in the different mice, it was found that:

  • Transplanting microbiota from old to young mice accelerates the ageing of the latter. The intestinal mucosa loses its integrity. Inflammation of the central nervous system and the retina accelerates. There is a decrease in key functional proteins of the eye;
  • In contrast, FMT from young to old mice reverses these effects. In fact, the level of beneficial bacteria, found in healthy young mice, increases and the metabolites produced by these bacteria lead to positive changes in lipid and vitamin metabolism.


This new evidence shows that the intestinal microbiota plays a major role in ageing. But also that its manipulation has the potential to restore some of the consequences of ageing, opening the possibility of new therapies. Further studies to provide more information on the duration of effectiveness of such a treatment and its effects on humans will be needed to support these promising results.



Picture: Freepik

PARKER A, ROMANO S, ANSORGE R, ABOELNOUR A, LE GALL G, SAVVA GM, PONTIFEX MG, TELATIN A, BAKER D, JONES E, VAUZOUR D, RUDDER S, BLACKSHAW LA, JEFFERY G, CARDING SR. Fecal microbiota transfer between young and aged mice reverses hallmarks of the aging gut, eye, and brain. Microbiome. 2022, 10(1):68