Turns out you can keep your gut microbiome happy without surviving solely off of sauerkraut, probiotics and kombucha.
Yup, all it takes is a little bit o’ sweat and a lot of free time. Intrigued? Let us explain…
Researchers from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland recruited a small group of overweight women to test the impact exercise has on the collection of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living in our intestines. The participants were asked to pedal on an exercise bike at moderate intensity for up to an hour, three times a week over a period of six weeks.
Throughout this time, they were told to stick to their regular eating regimes so as to not sway the results. The microbial changes were analysed via faecal samples.
A few noteworthy (and/or interesting) things happened.
1.) the average weight of the women remained the same, despite the increase in activity. This supports the argument that exercise alone isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to trimming down.
2.) their bodily functions improved. After the experiment wrapped up, the women showed a significant increase in how much power they could generate, how much oxygen their bodies used and a reduction in the levels of very-low-density lipoproteins (aka, VLDL) present their blood.
“These changes are beneficial for cardiometabolic health because VLDL transports lipids from the liver to peripheral tissues, converts it into ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the circulation, and thus, has detrimental cardiovascular effects,” Satu Pekkala, a sport and health sciences research fellow and the study’s co-author explained in a statement.
And 3.) the conditions of their guts changed. Not only did the levels of gut microbes linked to inflammation (a type called Proteobacteria) decrease across the board, the women’s levels of microbes linked to enhanced metabolism (Akkermansia) increased.
“However, more studies are needed to prove that Akkermansia might mediate some of the health benefits of exercise,” Pekkala added.
Info worth digesting, indeed.