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Why Exercise Holds the Key to Unlocking Gut Health


The gut is a hot topic these days as the light of scientific knowledge penetrates all of the secrets coiled within the 28 feet of human intestines. Recent research conducted by the University of Illinois sheds light on the role of exercise in gut health, and their findings may astonish you.


An abundance of microbes flourish in what many health professionals have aptly named the gut microbiome. Our gut is like a greenhouse, providing a habitat for over a trillion different types of bacteria to grow and flourish. However, this environment can be as fickle as the sea, morphing to unite enemy microbes that pose a threat to your health. This is why our gut health has a positive or adverse effect on our overall health.

Researchers conducted two different studies to determine the role that exercise plays in our gut health. One study involved mice and the second involved human participants. In the first study, fecal matter from exercised and sedentary mice was transplanted into the colons of sedentary mice that had no microbiota of their own.

In the second study, researchers examined changes in the composition of human gut microbiota as participants switched from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. As the study concluded, participants resumed their sedentary lifestyles to track the results.

Short Chain Fatty Acids

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The first study’s results showed a marked difference in the mice receiving microbes from exercised and sedentary mice. The recipients of exercised mice microbes demonstrated a higher level of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid. High levels of butyrate have been shown to increase healthy intestinal cells, reduce inflammation, and promote energy.

The second study’s human participants received the same benefit from exercise as the mice with increased short chain fatty acids including butyrate. The levels decreased again with the return of a sedentary lifestyle as proved by genetic testing.

Jeffrey Woods, a professor of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, led the study along with his colleague, Jacob Allen, who is a postdoctoral researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Woods stated: “These are the first studies to show that exercise can have an effect on your gut independent of diet or other factors.”

If you are interested in improving your gut health, I highly recommend researching the Autoimmune Paleo diet. I ate according to the AIP protocol to recover from intense inflammation in my gut due to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Maintaining a proactive interest in gut health is wise because science is constantly confirming the significance of our gut health to our immune systems and many other systems that impact our health every day.

In conclusion, Woods maintained that they are eager to conduct more research concerning exactly why the levels of short chain fatty acids fluctuated so much in the gut with the exercise factor. Exercise is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and this research gives us all one more good reason to implement exercise into our daily lives.

Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: You Cannot Exercise Away A Bad Diet, These Easy Tips Will Help You Lose Facial Fat in No Time, and Dead Hang, Adductor Stretch All Part of 8 Simple Exercises for Better Mobility.