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article imageIrish rugby players have exceptional guts

By Tim Sandle     Jul 3, 2014 in Science
Various reports have indicated that exercise and diet impact gut microbial diversity. A new study of Irish rugby players shows that the gut bacteria of athletes are more diverse than other people, and that athletes have a healthier metabolism.
With the diversity of gut microbes and health, high microbial diversity has been associated with increased health whereas a low diversity of gut microbes has been associated with several diseases and syndromes, including obesity. New research suggests that athletes have some of the most diverse gut microbial communities of all.
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers have investigated the impact of exercise and diet using the Irish Rugby football team. The study was carried out with 40 male elite professional rugby players immediately prior to the last Rugby World Cup. The rugby players were examined alongside men of similar age from the general population.
The scientists concluded that the high diversity is linked with exercise and protein consumption and suggests that eating specific proteins along with exercise can provide a means of increasing microbial diversity in the gut.
The research was carried out by Science Foundation Ireland-funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark. The findings have been published in the journal Gut. The paper is titled “Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity.”
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