fbpx Skip to content

ADVERTISEMENT

Athletes Get a Gut Check

Good reasons to catch the “exercise bug."

Microbiome of athletes

We hear a lot about the role our microbiome plays in everything from digestion to immunity to brain health—and, in turn, we learn the importance of fostering a robust population of beneficial bacteria within our gut. Beyond dietary measures like eating more fiber and fermented edibles, here’s one way to do this: Work up a sweat more often.

A narrative research review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition tells us that athletes typically have greater amounts of desirable gut microbes—and a better diversity of them, too. It’s thought that this microbiome makeup can help athletic people perform and recover better by aiding in everything from improving fuel metabolism to reducing muscle inflammation.

What remains to be seen is whether something in the diet of active people brings about a healthier microbiome or whether the exercise itself is the cause (perhaps higher levels of lactic acid produced during frequent training sessions cause an uptick in beneficial bugs, for example). Whatever the cause, it’s another good reason to encourage the general population to lace up their shoes more frequently.

See also: Understanding the Human Microbiome

ideafit-plus-logo

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.