START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
680,353 people care about Real Food

Want to Improve Your Gut Bacteria? Start Exercising

Want to Improve Your Gut Bacteria? Start Exercising

There’s a lot of talk of gut bacteria these days; you know, that stuff in your stomach that keeps you healthy?

Gut bacteria is critical to our well-being, helping with metabolism and immunity, and it might even play a role in dealing with obesity. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet, full of processed foods and sugars, leads to a less diverse gut, which in turn make us less healthy. Fortunately, gut bacteria can be improved by your diet, for example, consuming more fermented foods. But if you’re after a healthy gut, food isn’t the only thing to pay attention to; exercise may help as well.

While exercise has long been a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, there has been little science to link it to what happens in our digestive system. But a new study published this month shows that there is in fact a link, and if we want a healthy gut, we should certainly think about exercising more.

The study compared the national rugby team in Ireland to two groups of healthy adult men, one with a normal body mass index and who exercised regularly, and the other who lived more sedentary lifestyles. Why do a study with professional athletes?

“We chose professional athletes as a study group, because we wanted to be sure not to miss any effect of exercise and needed a group who were safely performing at the extremes of human endeavor,” Dr. Fergus Shanahan, an author of the study who is a professor of gastroenterology and director of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center at University College Cork, told The New York Times.

After taking samples, the researchers found that the gut bacteria of the rugby team was quite different from that of their counterparts, with “considerably more diversity in the make-up of their gut microbiomes.”

An interesting component of the study was that the rugby players had large numbers of a particular bacteria, Akkermansiacea, that has been linked with decreased risk for systemic inflammation, and in turn, their blood levels showed low markers of inflammation. Despite exercising intensely, their bodies weren’t feeling the effects. The group of men that rarely exercised had much lower amounts of Akkermansiacea, and much higher markers for inflammation in their bloodstream.

It is important to note that the athletes were also on a much better diet than the control group. They ate more of all of the food groups than the control participants and they also ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer snacks. This dietary difference can also affect the gut microbe, which means that it might not all be thanks to exercise. Yet while the results are preliminary, they “draw attention to the possibility that exercise may have a beneficial effect on the microbiota,” Dr. Shanahan told the New York Times.

Shanahan and his team are continuing to study the link between gut bacteria and exercise, now looking at whether moderate exercise changes the makeup of gut bacteria in both men and women. While we wait for the results of that one, best to go ahead and go out on an extra run. Then drink a glass of kombucha.

Read more: , , , , ,

Photo Credit: E'Lisa Campbell

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

86 comments

+ add your own
7:34AM PDT on Oct 17, 2014

Another reason to exercise.

10:08AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Rugby players spend a lot of time in the field and they come into contact with dirt regularly whereas those who lead sedentary lifestyles probably never do. They don't see a connection there?

3:24PM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

noted

10:55AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

One of the best things about exercising is that it regulates appetite.

6:35AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

thanks for sharing

2:46AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Thanks for sharing

6:51PM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

Thanks

3:22PM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

ty

11:46AM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

I love to walk early in the morning before it gets too hot.

7:53AM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

I am ready to go for my morning walk. Gosh, it's great to think of all those little bugs living in me singing along in harmony because I have made time to exercise. .

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Our company - Xiamen Finehope Polyurethane Co., Ltd devoted in promoting widely usage of polyurethane…

In the depth of he Depression, FDR put America to work building our nation. People built roads, rails…

Happy Birthday, marvellous and purrfect ones! Many thanks to Big Cat Rescue for their stellar work. …

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.