Gut microbiota composition correlates with diet and health in the elderly

Marcus J Claesson, Ian B Jeffery, Susana Conde, Susan E Power, Eibhlis M O' Connor, Siobhan Cusack, Hugh M B Harris, Mairead Coakley, Bhuvaneswari Lakshminarayanan, Orla O' Sullivan, Gerald F Fitzgerald, Jennifer Deane, Michael O' Connor, Norma Harnedy, Kieran O' Connor, Denis O' Mahony, Douwe van Sinderen, Martina Wallace, Lorraine Brennan, Catherine StantonJulian R Marchesi, Anthony P Fitzgerald, Fergus Shanahan, Colin Hill, R Paul Ross, Paul W O' Toole

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1447 Citations (Scopus)


Alterations in intestinal microbiota composition are associated with several chronic conditions, including obesity and inflammatory diseases. The microbiota of older people displays greater inter-individual variation than that of younger adults. Here we show that the faecal microbiota composition from 178 elderly subjects formed groups, correlating with residence location in the community, day-hospital, rehabilitation or in long-term residential care. However, clusteringof subjects by diet separated them by the same residence location and microbiota groupings. The separation of microbiota composition significantly correlated with measures of frailty, co-morbidity, nutritional status, markers of inflammation and with metabolites in faecal water. The individual microbiota of people in long-stay care was significantly less diverse than that of community dwellers. Loss of community-associated microbiota correlated with increased frailty.Collectively, the data support a relationship between diet, microbiota and health status, and indicate a role for diet-driven microbiota alterations in varying rates of health decline upon ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Aug 2012


  • Gut microbiota
  • Elderly

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    Claesson, M. J., Jeffery, I. B., Conde, S., Power, S. E., O' Connor, E. M., Cusack, S., Harris, H. M. B., Coakley, M., Lakshminarayanan, B., O' Sullivan, O., Fitzgerald, G. F., Deane, J., O' Connor, M., Harnedy, N., O' Connor, K., O' Mahony, D., van Sinderen, D., Wallace, M., Brennan, L., ... O' Toole, P. W. (Accepted/In press). Gut microbiota composition correlates with diet and health in the elderly. Nature, 488.