Health Desk: 6 December 2017: According to two new studies, it is well established and perhaps unsurprising that what we eat affects the microbes that live in our intestine, collectively known as the gut microbiota, however, exercise has the same effect.
In mouse and human experiments, researchers found that physical activity, independent of diet, alters the composition of gut microbiota in a way that increases the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are beneficial for health.
According to Jeffrey Woods - a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the co-lead investigator of both studies. Their research is the first to show that the diversity of gut bacteria can be modified through exercise alone.
The first study, which investigated the effects of exercise on the gut microbiota of mice, was published in the journal Gut Microbes.
This study included three groups of mice: one group of mice was sedentary, the other group had access to a running wheel (the exercise group), and while the remaining group was sedentary and germ-free, meaning that they did not possess any gut microbiota due to being bred in a sterile environment.
The researchers took fecal material from both the exercise and sedentary groups and transplanted it into the colons of the germ-free mice.