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article imageExercising early changes gut microbes for the better

By Tim Sandle     Jan 1, 2016 in Health
A new study has found how exercising while younger alters the types of gut microbes so that the composition is different than a person who takes up exercise later in life. These changes to the gut microbiome are beneficial.
The study reveals exercising early in life alters the gut microbial community for the better. These changes to some of the trillions of bacteria that make up the intestinal microbiome help to promote healthier brain and metabolic activity, as measured over the course of a person's lifetime.
The research was undertaken by microbiologists based at University of Colorado at Boulder. Here it was found the types of microorganisms that colonize the gut of an infant add 5 million genes to a person's overall genetic profile. How beneficial these genes and genetic interactions are with the immune system and hence everyday health varies. During early years the colonization process is especially fluid.
To test out how environmental factors can shape the mammalian gut, scientists examined juvenile rats.
American blue rat
American blue rat
Photo by Barbara B. Amsterdam
The rats were split into two groups. A group that exercised every day were found to develop a more beneficial microbial structure. By this, the researchers referred to bacterial species known to be probiotic. In contrast, sedentary rats were found to have lower numbers of so-called "good" bacteria. By varying the ages of the rats, the researchers concluded the earlier physical activity starts the better, in terms of the chances of developing higher populations of beneficial bacteria.
Future research will need to focus on the precise roles played by beneficial bacteria and how they influence immune and brain function. Furthermore, by identifying the precise composition of beneficial bacteria, it may be possible to transfer pellets of these organisms into adults in an attempt to improve health.
The research is published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology, in a paper titled "Early life exercise may promote lasting brain and metabolic health through gut bacterial metabolites."
More about Exercise, Children, Infants, Gut, Microbes
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