There immune system. If the microbiota in your

There is more than 1 000 species of
bacteria living in our gut. These microorganisms help to keep you healthy by
creating a barrier to prevent infections and harmful substances from the
outside world to come into your body through the gastric intestine tract (GIT).

Microbiota also helps with metabolic functions, absorption of nutrients, building
and maintaining of the epithelium tissue and supporting the immune system. If
the microbiota in your gut is not in balance it can manifest in GIT diseases
such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and
metabolic conditions like as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

 

Microbiota begin to grow from birth
and a many factors influence the amount and type of bacteria in your gut.  These factors include the surrounding
bacteria, food and the temperature of food, the pH of the GIT, hormones and
acid in the GIT, medications used and the immune system (Bull & Plummer, 2014)

 

It is fascinating to know there is
a gut to brain
communication system allowing communication between the gut and the brain. The
gut microbiota has direct signaling access to the brain. The brain will answer
by facilitating certain functions in response. Gut microbiota is thus important
to brain function it could even influence anxiety and depression.

 

It is well known that prebiotics, probiotics
and a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains have
a positive effect on the gut microbes. Lately exercise was also added to this
list as recent studies suggested
that exercise could increase the amount of beneficial microbial species in the
GIT, which in turn improves your health.

 

By doing low intensity exercise you decrease the transient
stool time allowing stools to pass quicker through the GIT. The faster stools
pass through the gut the less opportunity it gives to harmful bacteria to enter
the body or to colonize in the GIT. By exercising regular you will have a lower
risk for colon cancer, diverticulosis, and IBD. Exercise may reduce
inflammation and ensure keep the intestine in good condition (Monda et al.,
2017).

 

A study compared 40 professional rugby players with two
controlled groups and found that exercise has a
beneficial impact on gut microbiota diversity and the rugby players were less
prone to inflammation than the two control groups (Clarke et al., 2014)

 

Another study done on
36 mice that were fed a normal or high-fat diet for 12- weeks and randomly
assigned to exercise or inactive groups also found better gut integrity and
more beneficial bacteria in the
exercise group.  Specific
microbiota were observed in the exercise group, including Faecalibacterium
prausnitzi, Clostridium spp., and Allobaculum spp. These microbes provide protection to the gut by removing
harmful bacteria. The good microbiota in the exercising mice produced more butyrate,
which helped to promote a healthy digestive tract. (Campbell et al., 2016)

 

The microbiota helps with metabolic functions. Some
microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, which
helps to metabolize more nutrients thus increasing the nutrients availability
and provides more energy in the body. 
SCFAs helps you to eat less by communicating to the brain to release
appetite reducing hormones called peptide YY and neurotransmitters to convey
the feeling of happiness. It also helps to keep you healthy by building the
immune system. Butyrate makes the mucosal less leaky, allowing less harmful bacteria
to enter the body (Monda et al.,
2017)

 

In a third study, 32 sedentary adults (18 lean, 14 obese) were
subjected to 6 weeks of training followed by a 6-week period of inactivity (Allen et al.,
2017). The participants trained for 30-60 minutes at moderate to
high intensity for 3 days/week during the training period and continued with
their usual diet. The results of the study showed more beneficial gut
microbiota in the lean group during training. There was more bacteria present that
could produce SCFA especially butyrate but the positive effect was reversed
after the exercise was stopped.

 

It is important to
have a variety of different microbiota in your GIT and it seems that the importance
of gut health is getting more and more acknowledged as indicator of health and
disease. Exercise alone can influence your gut microbiota positively by
increasing the number and variety of beneficial in your GIT.