UC Riverside has led a study showing that because antibiotics kill essential bacteria in the gut, they may be directly correlated with lack of voluntary exercise and athletic ability. The gut microbiome affects how the digestive system processes our food and therefore muscle function. “Metabolic end products from bacteria in the gut can be reabsorbed and used as fuel, fewer good bacteria means less available fuel, ” said Theodore Garland, UCR evolutionary physiologist. The mice used in this study saw a 21% decrease in endurance levels when gut bacteria was depleted from use of antibiotics.
It has only been in the last 20 years or so that we have come to better understand the microbiome, due to lack of technology we were unable to identify most of the body’s gut microbes. Now using high-throughput sequencing technology we can truly analyze and study the function of these very important microorganisms. “These microbial communities reside with varied density in different segments of the gut and play a crucial role in many aspects of physiological processes, including facilitating food digestion and energy utilization, synthesizing vitamins and essential amino acids, promoting the development of the immune system, maintaining the integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, and protecting against enterogenous pathogens” -Walter J, Ley R. The Human Gut Microbiome.
One thing we can do to help maintain a healthy gut is to take live probiotics. Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, Bacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus are the five most commonly used probiotics. You can find these in certain supplements, or you can eat a diet rich in fermented foods. Here are some examples of foods rich in probiotics; kefir, kombucha, natto, goats milk, yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso to name a few! It is so important to incorporate some of these foods into your diet.