A “community” of bacteria exist in the gut, the adult gut microbiota contains up to 100 trillion microorganisms, including at least 1,000 different species of known bacteria, with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes) (2). There are a number of different variables that will affect this community including the number of and quality of calories, sleep, stress, and exercise, just to name a few. Although a fairly new area of research, initial findings have begun to show that reduced levels and variations in the bacterial community are associated with health impairments, while increased microbiota diversity improves metabolic profile and immunological responses (1).

The gut, therefore, is integral to overall health, and problems in the gut could actually be the root cause of various symptoms and/or autoimmune diseases.

How could gut health be related to exercise, performance, and athletes?

A recent study on rugby players has suggested that exercise may have a beneficial impact on gut bacteria, however the relationship is complex and may be related to accompanying dietary extremes (3). Even so, other mechanisms suggest there may be cause for concern when it comes to understanding the relationship between exercise and the gut. But…

It is common knowledge that exercise is healthy, however there is a point at which exercise may become unhealthy. Unfortunately, there is not a definitive amount of exercise that can be prescribed for each person, there is a high amount of individual variability. Excessive exercise can cause stress and can be correlated with an increased risk of infection.

more to come next time…