2021 Volume 40 Issue 1 Pages 1-11
Aging is recognized as a common risk factor for many chronic diseases and functional decline. The newly emerging field of geroscience is an interdisciplinary field that aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of aging. Several fundamental biological processes have been proposed as hallmarks of aging. The proposition of the geroscience hypothesis is that targeting holistically these highly integrated hallmarks could be an effective approach to preventing the pathogenesis of age-related diseases jointly, thereby improving the health span of most individuals. There is a growing awareness concerning the benefits of the prophylactic use of probiotics in maintaining health and improving quality of life in the elderly population. In view of the rapid progress in geroscience research, a new emphasis on geroscience-based probiotics is in high demand, and such probiotics require extensive preclinical and clinical research to support their functional efficacy. Here we propose a new term, “gerobiotics”, to define those probiotic strains and their derived postbiotics and para-probiotics that are able to beneficially attenuate the fundamental mechanisms of aging, reduce physiological aging processes, and thereby expand the health span of the host. We provide a thorough discussion of why the coining of a new term is warranted instead of just referring to these probiotics as anti-aging probiotics or with other similar terms. In this review, we highlight the needs and importance of the new field of gerobiotics, past and currently on-going research and development in the field, biomarkers for potential targets, and recommended steps for the development of gerobiotic products. Use of gerobiotics could be a promising intervention strategy to improve health span and longevity of humans in the future.