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Exercise Alone Changes Gut Microbes

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Tuesday, 05 Dec 2017 12:05 PM

Exercise alone changes the microbial composition of the gut, says new research. Two studies — one in mice and one in humans — isolated changes from factors such as diet or antibiotic use, from changes caused by exercise.

 "These are the first studies to show that exercise can have an effect on your gut independent of diet or other factors," said Jeffrey Woods, a University of Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health who led the research with former doctoral student Jacob Allen, now a postdoctoral researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

In the animal study, scientists transplanted fecal material from both sedentary mice and those that exercised into the colons of sedentary germ-free mice, which had been raised in a sterile facility and had no microbiota of their own.

Changes in the microbiota of recipient mice mirrored those in the donor mice, with clear differences between those receiving microbes from exercised and sedentary mice.

"That proved to us that the transplant worked," Woods said.

Mice that received microbiota from donor mice that exercised had a higher proportion of microbes that produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) that promotes healthy intestinal cells, reduces inflammation, and generates energy for the host. They also appeared to be more resistant to experimental ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.

"We found that the animals that received the exercised microbiota had an attenuated response to a colitis-inducing chemical," Allen said. "There was a reduction in inflammation and an increase in the regenerative molecules that promote a faster recovery."

In the human study, the team tracked changes in the composition of gut microbiota in participants as they transitioned from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one — and back again.

The team recruited 18 lean and 14 obese sedentary adults, sampled their gut microbiomes, and started them on an exercise program during which they performed supervised cardiovascular exercise for 30-60 minutes three times a week for six weeks.

The researchers sampled participants' gut microbiomes again at the end of the exercise program and after another six weeks of sedentary behavior. Participants maintained their usual diets throughout the course of the study.

Fecal concentrations of SCFAs, in particular butyrate, went up in the human gut as a result of exercise. These levels declined again after the participants reverted to a sedentary lifestyle. Genetic tests of the microbiota confirmed that this corresponded to changes in the proportion of microbes that produce butyrate and other SCFAs.

Types and proportions of specific gut bacteria have been linked to a number of diseases in recent studies, including Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and the severity of strokes.

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Exercise alone changes the microbial composition of the gut, says new research. Two studies - one in mice and one in humans - isolated changes from factors such as diet or antibiotic use, from changes caused by exercise. "These are the first studies to show that exercise...
exercise, change, gut, microbes, bacteria
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2017-05-05
Tuesday, 05 Dec 2017 12:05 PM
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