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. 2018 Nov 14;24(42):4750-4758.
doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i42.4750.

Gut Microbiota in Common Elderly Diseases Affecting Activities of Daily Living

Free PMC article

Gut Microbiota in Common Elderly Diseases Affecting Activities of Daily Living

Yukihiro Shimizu. World J Gastroenterol. .
Free PMC article


Gut microbiota are involved in the development or prevention of various diseases such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, and malignancy such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, atherosclerotic stroke and cardiovascular disease are major diseases associated with decreased activities of daily living (ADL), especially in elderly people. Recent analyses have revealed the importance of gut microbiota in the control of these diseases. The composition or diversity of these microbiota is different between patients with these conditions and healthy controls, and administration of probiotics or prebiotics has been shown effective in the treatment of these diseases. Gut microbiota may affect distant organs through mechanisms that include regulating the absorption of nutrients and/or the production of microbial metabolites, regulating and interacting with the systemic immune system, and translocating bacteria/bacterial products through disrupted mucosal barriers. Thus, the gut microbiota may be important regulators in the development of diseases that affect ADL. Although adequate exercise and proper diet are important for preventing these diseases, their combination with interventions that manipulate the composition and/or diversity of gut microbiota could be a promising strategy for maintaining health condition and preserving ADL. This review thus summarizes current understanding of the role of gut microbiota in the development or prevention of diseases closely associated with the maintenance of ADL.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Cardiovascular disease; Cerebrovascular disease; Gut microbiota; Osteoporosis; Prebiotics; Probiotics; Sarcopenia.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: No conflict-of interest to declare.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Three possible mechanisms by which gut microbiota can affect distant organs. SCFA: Short chain fatty acids; ILCs: Innate lymphoid cells; Th17: T helper 17.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Gut microbiota may be important regulators in development of diseases that may affect activities of daily living.

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