News article

Exercise and high protein diet may increase gut microbiota diversity

Posted:  Monday, June 23, 2014

Exercise and a high protein diet have the ability to increase the gut microbiota diversity which in return helps to maintain weight as well as improve metabolism.

Microbiota is a representation of an ensemble of microorganisms that reside in a hospitable environment especially, the intestine. Human beings have groups of bacteria in different parts of the body.

Two thirds of our gut microbiota is our unique signature where as one third is common to all. Microbiota is diverse as it present in different parts of the body besides the intestine. The gut microbiota is hugely diverse and varies between individuals as well as may fluctuate especially during disease and early development.

Exercise combined with a high protein diet is a recipe to get a healthier and more diverse gut microbiota. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published these results after comparing the diets of professional rugby players with those of non-athletes. Through this trial they learnt that there was a co-relation between exercise, protein consumption and increased level of gut microbiota.

Researchers have been able to establish the relation between quantity and diversity of gut microbiota but are still unaware of the effect of exercise on the increase of gut microbiota.

“Exercise seems to be another important factor in the relationship between the microbiota, host immunity and host metabolism, with diet playing an important role,” the team of researchers at the University College Cork said.

Gut Microbiota diversity:

When the diets and exercise patterns of 40 athletes and the two groups of no-athletes were compared, it was found that the athletes had 22 distinct Phyla (compose gut flora) as compared to11 of the non-athletes

The consumption of high protein and Creatine Kinease production lead to reduced gut inflammation and higher CK levels in the athletes. Also the increase of akkermansia mucinphilla, a bacteria lead to lower chance of obesity and metabolic disorders.

The average body mass index (BMI) of group one was 25 while group two was 28; whereas, the athletes averaged at 29.

Even though, the athletes consumed a higher levels calories as compared to that of the non-athletes, the protein intake accounted for 22% of the total energy intake of the athlete as compared with 16% in the low BMI and 15% in the high BMI control groups.

Meat formed a large part of the dietary intake in all three groups, however, the athletes along with meat consumed 15% of whey protein.

The researchers established that microbiota diversity formed a direct correlation between protein intake and CK, further stating that exercise and dietary concerns were also facilitators of the increased gut biodiversity.

“Diversity is important in all ecosystems to promote stability and performance. Microbiota diversity may become a new biomarker or indicator of health.”

Researchers were able to determine that low levels of gut microbiota can be related to conditions such as autism, glycaemic index (GI) disease and obesity.

An increased level of gut microbiota is required to keep the body in good health.