Retiring Mice

Flipping through the bio papers in the scientific literature, I seem to come across a very large number associated with aging – or its reversal and longevity. Of course we would all like to be long lived with the minimal amount of aging related lack of spryness. Many of the studies are associated in one way or another with our diet, and diet and exercise is what we are told to pay attention to when we visit the doctor if we can bring ourselves to do that.

Today’s post is about a helping retired mice grow older. The paper is by Matsumoto et al in the Public Library of Science (1). The retirees were all females who had spent the previous ten months raising litters. Male retirees couldn’t be considered for the study as they tend to be very, very, grumpy and fight all the time.

So, these old girls were allowed to enjoy their retirement for another eleven months with half of them fed on a probiotic diet. The good bacteria were from milk although the mice didn’t have access to live Greek yogurt, or any yogurt come to that. The good bacteria in the diet result in there being higher levels of polyamines in the colon.

The simplest polyamine is putrescine, so as you can imagine, these don’t smell too good, but they are important in body functions such as cell growth and the synthesis of our DNA and RNA. But they are also anti-inflammatory and this was at the root of the reason for the study. Is longevity increased if chronic low-grade inflammation is suppressed?

Those on the probiotic diet were longer lived and also ended up with better colons. So it’s just like your Mom told you about an apple a day, but now it’s take care of your colon and it’ll take care of you. I will be eating more live Greek yogurt and using lots more Soy sauce in my cooking and am looking forward to a long retirement (eventually).


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