Does Acarbose Extend Life in Short Lived Species via Gut Microbiome Changes?

Acarbose is one of a few diabetes medications shown to modestly slow aging in short-lived species. Researchers here take a look at the evidence for this effect on life span to be mediated by changes in the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome changes with age: the relative numbers of harmful microbes increasing, contributing to the chronic inflammation of aging, while relative numbers of beneficial microbes decreases, causing a reduction in metabolites known to help tissue function. Directly changing the gut microbiome to a more youthful configuration via fecal microbiota transplantation has been shown to improve health and extend life in laboratory species, so it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that some of the pharmaceutical approaches that slow aging act at least in part by adjusting the gut microbiome.

The existing literature provides evidence that acarbose can affect the life span. This review links inflammation, mitochondria, and telomeres with the gut microbiota, illustrating individual mechanisms involved in acarbose-associated life span extension. Acarbose improves the immune system, inflammatory response, and mitochondrial function by affecting the gut microbiota. Acarbose supplementation is a cost-effective method for delaying aging given its potential health-restorative effects and limited side effects. This offers hope for analyzing the use of acarbose to improve health and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.

Additional experiments should be undertaken to verify our speculations; for instance, which bacteria affect the length of telomeres and mitochondrial function after acarbose intervention needs to be studied. The role of acarbose in affecting telomere length by regulating the gut microbiota should be investigated with a more rigorous scientific approach.

The present review describes several mechanisms by which acarbose affects the life span through the gut microbiota by considering different viewpoints and provides a new theoretical basis for the mechanism of acarbose-extended life spans. Hitherto, to the best of our knowledge, no other reviews have explained the mechanisms underlying life span extension by acarbose based on the perspective of gut microbiota. In general, many factors that affect the life span and mechanisms of acarbose that can help extend the life span of humans remain to be studied.


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