Alterations of the gut microbiome are associated with epigenetic age acceleration and physical fitness

Ferenc Torma, Csaba Kerepesi, Mátyás Jókai, Gergely Babszki, Erika Koltai, Balázs Ligeti, Regina Kalcsevszki, Kristen M. McGreevy, Steve Horvath, Zsolt Radák*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epigenetic clocks can measure aging and predict the incidence of diseases and mortality. Higher levels of physical fitness are associated with a slower aging process and a healthier lifespan. Microbiome alterations occur in various diseases and during the aging process, yet their relation to epigenetic clocks is not explored. To fill this gap, we collected metagenomic (from stool), epigenetic (from blood), and exercise-related data from physically active individuals and, by applying epigenetic clocks, we examined the relationship between gut flora, blood-based epigenetic age acceleration, and physical fitness. We revealed that an increased entropy in the gut microbiome of physically active middle-aged/old individuals is associated with accelerated epigenetic aging, decreased fitness, or impaired health status. We also observed that a slower epigenetic aging and higher fitness level can be linked to altered abundance of some bacterial species often linked to anti-inflammatory effects. Overall our data suggest that alterations in the microbiome can be associated with epigenetic age acceleration and physical fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14101
JournalAging cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Apr


  • aging clock
  • epigenetic clock
  • epigenetics
  • fitness
  • metagenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Alterations of the gut microbiome are associated with epigenetic age acceleration and physical fitness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this