One activity which is known to influence both our mental as well as physical health is undoubtedly exercising. Apart from being good for the heart, it also helps in maintaining weight and preventing certain types of cancer; additionally, it helps to keep our mood lifted and also influences our learning and creativity.
How do Exercise and Diet enhance the diversification of Gut Microflora?
As per a study published in ‘Gut’, researchers have suggested that usual exercising may play an important role indirectly in our bodies health by contributing to the diversity of our gut microbiota, however, this does not limit the advantages of microorganisms.
There has been an increase in the recent year in the studies that highlight the importance of the health, diversity, and balance of the bacterial community in our gut. Our gut microflora contributes to our body’s metabolism and also to the apt development of the immune system. It is also known to us that, a balanced and diverse microbiome can cause an individual to increase the body’s resistance against obesity, various immune system problems, diseases such as IBS and even in some cases diabetes when compared with those having a reduced microbial activity.
Until now, an individual’s diet and lifestyle were considered to be the 2 key factors which influence the gut microbiota. Very few studies had been conducted to examine the link between frequent healthy exercising and gut bacteria.
For the very first time, a new study at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, examined the effect of physical activity such as sports and exercise on the gut microbiota diversity. For this, the stool and blood samples of 40 rugby players, as well as two test groups comprising of healthy adult men (non-athletes), was analyzed. The volunteers were asked to fill a questionnaire regarding their exercise and diet routines.
It was observed that the microbiota of athletes was more diverse than the test group individuals, specifically those having weight issues. Scientists also say that rugby player had a surplus of a bacteria called Akkermansia which is highly linked with reduced risk of obesity as well as systemic inflammation. The diet routines also showed that the athletes consumed more proteins in comparison to the other two groups (22 % vs 15 %), also had more fruits and vegetables instead of snacking. According to the study these diet habits were termed as ‘extreme’.
As the finding of the study is still in their initial stages it cannot be said clearly as to how important is the physical activity to determine the diversity of the gut microflora or whether this role is played by high protein intake. Further studies are currently in progress which shall aim at making this quite clear.