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The One Thing You May Need to Grow Muscles As You Age, New Study Suggests

A new study on mice reveals a fascinating connection between your gut microbiome and muscles.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

As you age, you naturally lose more and more of your muscle strength each year. It's a naturally occurring process that the body goes through, but a new study suggests that there may be a way to counteract this process. In fact, the results of the study even suggest that it's possible to grow muscles as you age, but it all comes down to one thing: your gut microbiome.

Your gut microbiome is all the bacteria living inside you, and a healthy gut microbiome could be the key to improving your muscles. New research published in The Journal of Physiology includes the results of a study done on female mice, according to News-Medical.net. The researchers split the mice into two groups and studied them over nine weeks. One group was given an antibiotic to kill some of the bacteria in their microbiome, and the other group was not. Both groups were made to exercise on running wheels over the course of the study to examine the difference in their skeletal muscles.

Related: The Best Way to Eat for Your Gut Microbiome

Findings showed that the mice with an intact microbiome (not hindered by antibiotics) had grown more muscles than the other group of mice. The researchers concluded that a healthy gut microbiome could contribute to muscle growth over the course of time.

Previous studies also suggest that a healthy microbiome could contribute to improvement in muscles, however, research is still premature and has not yet been fully proven in humans. This particular study was also only done on female mice, so there's no answer as to how male mice would have reacted—let alone humans.

While more research would need to be done to determine exactly how much the microbiome affects muscle growth, it's never a bad idea to take care of your gut with a healthy supplement routine.

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Hedy Phillips
Hedy is a freelance writer with years of experience covering buzzy food trends, wellness, and weight loss. Read more