Treatment with the α-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose increases median lifespan by approximately 20% in male mice and 5% in females. This longevity extension differs from dietary restriction based on a number of features, including the relatively small effects on weight and the sex-specificity of the lifespan effect. By inhibiting host digestion, acarbose increases the flux of starch to the lower digestive system, resulting in changes to the gut microbiota and their fermentation products. Given the documented health benefits of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the dominant products of starch fermentation by gut bacteria, this secondary effect of acarbose could contribute to increased longevity in mice. To explore this hypothesis, we compared the fecal microbiome of mice treated with acarbose to control mice at three independent study sites.
Read more at: BMC Microbiology