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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • 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
  • Søren B Engelsen
  • Dennis S Nielsen

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
  • Department of Orthopedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen NV, Denmark.
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen N, Denmark.
  • Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen, Department of Orthopedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • The Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
  • Faculty of Industrial Science and Technology, Industrial Biotechnology Program, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Pahang, Malaysia.
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
  • Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
  • Copenhagen Center for Health Research in the Humanities, The SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen SV, Denmark.


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.

Bibliographic note

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


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


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas