Physical fitness in community-dwelling older adults is linked to dietary intake, gut microbiota, and metabolomic signatures

Josué L Castro-Mejía, Bekzod Khakimov, Łukasz Krych, Jacob Bülow, Rasmus L Bechshøft, Grith Højfeldt, Kenneth H Mertz, Eva Stahl Garne, Simon R Schacht, Hajar F Ahmad, Witold Kot, Lars H Hansen, Federico J A Perez-Cueto, Mads V Lind, Aske J Lassen, Inge Tetens, Tenna Jensen, Søren Reitelseder, Astrid P Jespersen, Lars HolmSøren B Engelsen, Dennis S Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


When humans age, changes in body composition arise along with lifestyle-associated disorders influencing fitness and physical decline. Here we provide a comprehensive view of dietary intake, physical activity, gut microbiota (GM), and host metabolome in relation to physical fitness of 207 community-dwelling subjects aged +65 years. Stratification on anthropometric/body composition/physical performance measurements (ABPm) variables identified two phenotypes (high/low-fitness) clearly linked to dietary intake, physical activity, GM, and host metabolome patterns. Strikingly, despite a higher energy intake high-fitness subjects were characterized by leaner bodies and lower fasting proinsulin-C-peptide/blood glucose levels in a mechanism likely driven by higher dietary fiber intake, physical activity and increased abundance of Bifidobacteriales and Clostridiales species in GM and associated metabolites (i.e., enterolactone). These factors explained 50.1% of the individual variation in physical fitness. We propose that targeting dietary strategies for modulation of GM and host metabolome interactions may allow establishing therapeutic approaches to delay and possibly revert comorbidities of aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13105
Number of pages13
JournalAging Cell
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • aging
  • gut microbiota
  • host metabolome
  • physical fitness
  • energy and dietary fiber intake
  • proinsulin-C-peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


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