Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3831972. doi: 10.1155/2017/3831972. Epub 2017 Mar 5.

Abstract

The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is inhabited by a wide cluster of microorganisms that play protective, structural, and metabolic functions for the intestinal mucosa. Gut microbiota is involved in the barrier functions and in the maintenance of its homeostasis. It provides nutrients, participates in the signaling network, regulates the epithelial development, and affects the immune system. Considering the microbiota ability to respond to homeostatic and physiological changes, some researchers proposed that it can be seen as an endocrine organ. Evidence suggests that different factors can determine changes in the gut microbiota. These changes can be both quantitative and qualitative resulting in variations of the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiota which, in turn, can affect health and different disease processes. Recent studies suggest that exercise can enhance the number of beneficial microbial species, enrich the microflora diversity, and improve the development of commensal bacteria. All these effects are beneficial for the host, improving its health status. In this paper, we intend to shed some light over the recent knowledge of the role played by exercise as an environmental factor in determining changes in microbial composition and how these effects could provide benefits to health and disease prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Probiotics