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Moderate Exercise May Change Gut Microbe Composition

Regular, moderate exercise is beneficial for numerous tissues including muscle, adipose, and brain, and can help reduce inflammation. A recent study suggests that exercise may also help change the composition of gut microbes.


Participants in the study included 18 lean and 14 obese sedentary adults. The researchers took samples of their gut micro biomes. Then, all of the participants underwent a six-week exercise program that included supervised cardiovascular exercises for 30 to 60 minutes three times per week. The researchers took another sample at the end of the exercise period and again after six weeks of sedentary behavior. All of the participants followed their usual diets during the study period.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted increases in fecal concentrations of short chain fatty acids that promote intestinal health, particularly butyrate, after the exercise period. Once the participants returned to a sedentary lifestyle, the proportion of short chain fatty acids and butyrate declined again.


The researchers noted greater changes in the lean participants, who had lower levels of short chain fatty acids in their guts at the beginning of the study than the obese participants. In comparison, the obese participants had only slight increases in short chain fatty acid producing microbes. In addition, the ratios of different microbes differed between the lean participants and the obese participants at every stage of the study.


Researchers from the University of Illinois led the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 22, 2017, in the journal Gut Microbes.


Previous clinical studies suggest that moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health.

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