So, exercise has the ability to strengthen your gut and enhance SCFA release, which is great news. But does it work both ways? Do microbes play any role in exercise performance?
A recent study would suggest that, yes, indeed they do.
Nature Medicine published the study, noting that researchers identified a specific bacterial strain called Veillonella atypica that was dramatically increased in marathon runners post-marathon. What's cool is that this particular bacteria has the ability to break down lactic acid, which is the acid that builds up in muscles during endurance exercise. Makes sense, right?
When the scientists transferred this particular bacteria into mice, they found that the recipients had improved treadmill run time performance. Yes, they performed better athletically based purely on the presence of this microbe.
Sure, it's an exciting finding in the world of marathon running, but what I'm most excited about is to see what we find when we study different sports. Is there a special microbe that enhances the start/stop movements in basketball or that promotes muscle recovery after a vigorous workout? My guess is the answer will be yes—but only time will tell.
Now, here's the truth: Exercise is a good idea, regardless of whether it alters your microbiome. But that said, it's nice to know that physical fitness also promotes gut fitness because strong guts translate into better health.