In your body there are 10 gut bacteria to every 1 human cell, it’s a wonder we don’t grow six legs or antenna. But, before you freak out, these bacteria are beneficial to us. They can improve the functioning of the gut lining; reduce body fat, inflammation and insulin resistance, amongst other things.
So, how do you ensure your body encourages these good bacteria? You’ve probably seen the ads that tell you to eat probiotic yogurt, but a new study believes exercise increases the presence of gut microbes.
The University Collage of Cork in Ireland investigated the gut bacteria of 40 pro rugby players via stool and blood samples. For comparison two controls were used; one group of men who exercised lightly and had healthy BMI’s and a group of sedimentary males with unhealthy BMI’s. All the men completed questionnaires about their diet and exercise regimes.
The men’s DNA revealed that the rugby players had more gut bacteria, in particular akkermansiaceae which is associated with reduced risk of obesity, systemic inflammation and mental disorders like ADHD and anxiety.
The athletes had on average: 22 phyla, 68 families and 113 genera of bacteria. The light exercisers had 11 phyla, 65 families and 65 genera of bacteria and the non exercisers had only 9 phyla, 33 families and 61 genera.
However, diet may have also influenced the men’s gut bacteria. The pro sports men ate more the other men and consumed a higher amount of protein. But, the university is on to this issue as there next study will not include pro athletes.
Though the link between exercise and gut bacteria is not clear, one thing is for sure. Exercise is super beneficial. It “does a lot of things that aren’t obvious” says Fergus Shanaha, lead study author. So get moving and feel great in more ways than you can imagine.