Type: Response Essays
Sample donated: Ruby Steele
Last updated: June 23, 2019
There is more than 1 000 species ofbacteria living in our gut.
These microorganisms help to keep you healthy bycreating a barrier to prevent infections and harmful substances from theoutside world to come into your body through the gastric intestine tract (GIT).Microbiota also helps with metabolic functions, absorption of nutrients, buildingand maintaining of the epithelium tissue and supporting the immune system. Ifthe microbiota in your gut is not in balance it can manifest in GIT diseasessuch as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) andmetabolic conditions like as type 2 diabetes and obesity. Microbiota begin to grow from birthand a many factors influence the amount and type of bacteria in your gut. These factors include the surroundingbacteria, food and the temperature of food, the pH of the GIT, hormones andacid in the GIT, medications used and the immune system (Bull & Plummer, 2014) It is fascinating to know there isa gut to braincommunication system allowing communication between the gut and the brain.
Thegut microbiota has direct signaling access to the brain. The brain will answerby facilitating certain functions in response. Gut microbiota is thus importantto brain function it could even influence anxiety and depression.
It is well known that prebiotics, probioticsand a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains havea positive effect on the gut microbes. Lately exercise was also added to thislist as recent studies suggestedthat exercise could increase the amount of beneficial microbial species in theGIT, which in turn improves your health. By doing low intensity exercise you decrease the transientstool time allowing stools to pass quicker through the GIT. The faster stoolspass through the gut the less opportunity it gives to harmful bacteria to enterthe body or to colonize in the GIT. By exercising regular you will have a lowerrisk for colon cancer, diverticulosis, and IBD. Exercise may reduceinflammation and ensure keep the intestine in good condition (Monda et al.
,2017). A study compared 40 professional rugby players with twocontrolled groups and found that exercise has abeneficial impact on gut microbiota diversity and the rugby players were lessprone to inflammation than the two control groups (Clarke et al., 2014) Another study done on36 mice that were fed a normal or high-fat diet for 12- weeks and randomlyassigned to exercise or inactive groups also found better gut integrity andmore beneficial bacteria in theexercise group. Specificmicrobiota were observed in the exercise group, including Faecalibacteriumprausnitzi, Clostridium spp., and Allobaculum spp.
These microbes provide protection to the gut by removingharmful 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. Somemicrobiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, whichhelps to metabolize more nutrients thus increasing the nutrients availabilityand provides more energy in the body.
SCFAs helps you to eat less by communicating to the brain to releaseappetite reducing hormones called peptide YY and neurotransmitters to conveythe feeling of happiness. It also helps to keep you healthy by building theimmune system. Butyrate makes the mucosal less leaky, allowing less harmful bacteriato enter the body (Monda et al.,2017) In a third study, 32 sedentary adults (18 lean, 14 obese) weresubjected 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 tohigh intensity for 3 days/week during the training period and continued withtheir usual diet. The results of the study showed more beneficial gutmicrobiota in the lean group during training.
There was more bacteria present thatcould produce SCFA especially butyrate but the positive effect was reversedafter the exercise was stopped. It is important tohave a variety of different microbiota in your GIT and it seems that the importanceof gut health is getting more and more acknowledged as indicator of health anddisease. Exercise alone can influence your gut microbiota positively byincreasing the number and variety of beneficial in your GIT.