During the winter months it can be hard to drag yourself out of the house to get any kind of exercise.
If you’ve been reading my Health eTips for a while now, you know that studies have shown time and again that being active benefits your heart and brain… helps you sleep better and live longer… and can even reduce your risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes.
And now, two new studies out of the University of Illinois have uncovered another surprising benefit: Exercise can beef up your muscles and your good gut bacteria.
In the first study, researchers transplanted faecal material (yes, “poop”) from the colons of either sedentary or active mice into the colons of “sterile” mice who were raised with no microbiomes of their own.
It turned out that the sterile mice who received transplants from donor mice who exercised had a higher proportion of beneficial bacteria in their guts than those whose donors were sedentary.
More specifically, these were bacteria that produced butyrate — a short-chain fatty acid known to promote gut health, reduce inflammation, and even produce energy for your body.
And when the researchers introduced a chemical known to set off ulcerative colitis into the mice’s guts, those who’d received transplants from active mice were less likely to develop it than their counterparts with sedentary donors.
These positive gut changes weren’t limited to mice — because in the second study, researchers analysed the gut microbes of a group of sedentary adults after they participated in an exercise programme for six weeks and after they’d returned to a sedentary lifestyle for six weeks.
It turned out that concentrations of butyrate and other beneficial short-chain fatty acids increased following the exercise programme… and decreased after they went back to being couch potatoes.
So, for the good of your gut, get moving! Especially considering the “ick factor” of having somebody else’s faecal matter transplanted into you.
Not an option!
Any form of exercise will do. If the cold weather is side-lining you from your favourite outdoor activities, you can always take a brisk walk around the block or in your local park… try a dance class… or join a health club for the season.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3831972, doi.org/10.1155/2017/3831972