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Exercise, Nutrition and Gut Microbiota: Possible Links and Consequences

Costa et al. Int J Sports Exerc Med 2017, 3:069
Volume 3 | Issue 4
DOI: 10.23937/2469-5718/1510069
International Journal of
Sports and Exercise Medicine
Citaon: Costa AV, Leite G, Resende A, Blachier F, AH Lancha Jr (2017) Exercise, Nutrion and Gut
Microbiota: Possible Links and Consequences. Int J Sports Exerc Med 3:069.
Received: July 13, 2016; Accepted: August 21, 2017; Published: August 24, 2017
Copyright: © 2017 Costa AV, et al. This is an open-access arcle distributed under the terms of the
Creave Commons Aribuon License, which permits unrestricted use, distribuon, and reproducon
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• Page 1 of 8 •
Open Access
ISSN: 2469-5718
Costa et al. Int J Sports Exerc Med 2017, 3:069
Exercise, Nutrion and Gut Microbiota: Possible Links and Con-
AV Costa1, G Leite1, A Resende1, F Blachier2* and AH Lancha Jr1*
1School of Physical Educaon and Sport, University of São Paulo, Brazil
2UMR PNCA, Agro Paris Tech, INRA, University Paris-Saclay, Paris, France
*Corresponding authors: AH Lancha Jr, School of Physical Educaon and Sport, University of São Paulo, Brazil, Tel:
+33144088676, E-mail:;
F Blachier, UMR PNCA, Agro Paris Tech, INRA, University Paris-Saclay, Paris, France, Tel: +33144088675, Fax: +33144081858,
Gut microbiota plays an important role in the modulation
of physiological processes associated with the digestion
of nutrients, immune system and control of energy homeo-
stasis. Changes in gut microbiota composition have been
associated notably with obesity, diabetes, and inammatory
diseases. Diet is one of the major factors capable of modu-
lating the intestinal microbiota composition. In addition, the
literature has shown that exercise can affect the gut micro-
biota composition and modulate the balance between the
interaction of host and benecial microbiota. Physical exer-
cise improves the diversity and relative amounts of bacterial
species under different nutritional contexts. However, the
impact of exercise associated or not with dietary changes
on the gastrointestinal environment and consequences for
gut health remain poorly understood. Some proposals re-
garding the biological mechanisms possibly involved high-
light the short chain fatty acid production and alteration in
intestinal pH as main forms by which exercise may affect
gut microbiota composition. Thus, the aim of the present
review is to present an overview of the effects of physical
exercise associated with diet on the characteristics of the
intestinal microbiota.
Exercise, Diet, Gut microbiota, Immune system, Short chain
fatty acid
commensal bacteria have been shown to be able to af-
fect gut metabolism and physiology by several mecha-
nisms, including the producon of various bacterial me-
tabolites from dietary and endogenous substrates [2].
While carbohydrate fermentaon is mainly considered
benecial for the host through the producon of Short-
Chain Fay Acids (SCFA) in the intesnal luminal con-
tent, protein fermentaon gives rise to a wide variety
of compounds, some of which could be detrimental for
gut health when present at excessive concentraon [3].
Some bacterial metabolites can be transferred through
the intesnal epithelium from the intesnal luminal con-
tent to the portal bloodstream reaching the liver, and
then, to the peripheral blood stream [4]. Some of these
metabolites have been shown to be acve on dierent
ssues, such as in the liver and adipose ssue, by inter-
fering with metabolism and physiology [5]. In addion,
high fat diet consumpon may be capable of promot-
ing gram-negave bacteria growth and favoring a local
inammaon, which would be harmful for gut health
[6]. There are several reports regarding the eects of
the diet but, recently, exercise was revealed as another
factor capable of inuencing the diversity, composion
and metabolic acvity of gut microbiota, as well as its
fermentaon capacity and diet SCFA producon [6,7].
The aim of the present review is to present an overview
of the eects of physical exercise associated with diet on
the characteriscs of the intesnal microbiota.
Gut microbiota is now established as a key player
in various aspects of health and diseases [1]. Recently,
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Gut Microbiota Composion
The human gastrointesnal tract is colonized by ap-
proximately one trillion microorganisms known as gut
microbiota. This diversity represents a number much
larger than human cells [8,9]. Bacterial density varies
along the gastrointesnal tract due to the specic con-
dions of each poron, such as dierences in the gradi-
ent of pH, anmicrobial pepdes (including bile acids),
and in the amount of oxygen, which limits the growth of
some bacteria [10].
Human gut microbiota composion varies since the
birth up to two years of age, when the birth delivery
by vaginal or cesarean mode and early nutrion by
breaseeding or formula milk and the introducon of
new food modulate inially the microbial populaons,
quantavely and qualitavely, of the child toward
adulthood [11,12]. From there, several environmental
factors, mainly diet, exercise, aging, hygiene, medicine,
geographic area, pregnancy and the presence or not of
some disease will inuence the microbial composion
in a host-specic way [13,14]. In this complex commu-
nity of bacteria, two phyla appear to be the most pre-
dominant and common among individuals: Firmicutes
(60-80%) and Bacteriodetes (15-30%) [15]. The rst one
is the most abundant phylum covering, mainly, Clostrid-
ium, Ruminococcus, Lactobacillus and the butyrate-pro-
ducing bacteria, such as Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium
and Roseburia, which are known for their abundance in
healthy individuals. The Bacteroidetes phylum is com-
posed, primarily, by gram-negave bacteria, including
Bacteroides genus, which is recognized, mostly, for its
contribuon to the degradaon of complex glycans [16].
Furthermore, there are others phyla, which are part of
the gut microbiota, but in minor proporon, such as
Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Acnobacteria, Fuso-
bacteria and Cianobacteria [17].
The complexity between diet-related gut microbi-
ota and intesnal health
Diet inuences gut microbiota composion since it
provides senergy, nutrients and oligoelements/micro-
nutrients, which will be used by both the host and in-
tesnal bacteria. The gut microbiota produces several
vitamins and a range of enzymes, which will ferment
the nutrients that are not digested by human digesve
enzymes [18]. The most abundant SCFAs produced by
fermentaon of carbohydrates are acetate, propionate
and butyrate (which constute > 95% of the SCFA con-
tent). It has been shown that butyrate acts locally on
intesne by aecng metabolism and gene expression
in the colonic epithelium [19,20] while acetate and pro-
pionate reach systemic circulaon and are ulized by
other organs, such as adipose ssue and liver, and con-
tribute up to 10% of the energy required by the host
[21]. Moreover, as weak acids, they also help to main-
tain a slightly acidic pH in the proximal colon.
Nondigested proteins or pepdes might also be
substrates for microbial producon of SCFA [2]. How-
ever, microbial protein fermentaon by proteolyc
bacteria (for example some bacteria of Clostridium’s
group) yields a diverse range of metabolites, including
Branched-Chain Fay Acids (BCFA), lactate, and aromat-
ic components, and amines suldes, phenols and in-
doles [22]. Many of these protein fermentaon-derived
metabolites might have negave consequences on ep-
ithelial cell metabolism and barrier funcon, aecng
the host’s gut health [23]. Moreover, high protein diets
are usually accompanied by a reducon in carbohydrate
intake, which may not be benecial for host health [24].
Currently, lile is known about the eects of protein
supplementaon, associated (or not) with exercise.
Animal fat-rich diets quickly increase the abundance
of bacteria resistant to bile acids in humans, such as
Bacteroides and Bilophila, which can metabolize dier-
ent types of bile acids and promote the development
of inammatory bowel disease [25]. Furthermore, con-
sumpon of a high fat diet is capable of unbalancing the
proporons of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes, raising Lipo-
polysaccharide (LPS) circulaon and the concentraon
of inammatory cytokines, favoring systemic inamma-
on [25,26].
The Eect of Physical Exercise on the Gut Mi-
Studies in humans reporng the eects of physical
exercise on gut microbiota composion, diversity and
metabolic acvity are limited. Clarke, et al. [27] accom-
plished the sole study performed with healthy individu-
als. In this pioneering work, elite rugby players were re-
cruited, and, in agreement with several animal studies,
this study reported that athletes displayed an increase
of the gut microbiota richness and diversity (22 disnct
phyla), and also a decrease of systemic pro-inammato-
ry cytokines [27] (Table 1). The authors reported this bi-
ota prole in individuals with exercise training program
in athletes as compared to sedentary controls group.
However, the most relevant insight on the eect of
exercise on gut composion was provided by exper-
imental models. Matsumoto, et al. [28] were the rst
authors to demonstrate that chronic voluntary physical
exercise is able to change the composion of rat gut mi-
crobiota [28]. Some studies performed aerwards asso-
ciated physical exercise with some pathological states
or dietary intervenon (Table 1).
A study performed with polychlorinated biphenyls
(pollutant model) demonstrated that voluntary physical
exercise is able to cause changes in the biodiversity and
composion of microbiota in mice, and aenuated the
eects of the pollutant contaminaon of the microbiota
[29]. Furthermore, under dierent dietary condions,
voluntary exercise appears to reshape the gut microbi-
ota. Evans, et al. [25] proposed that physical exercise
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Table 1: Exercise and microbiota studies.
Reference Exercise
Subjects Groups Analyses of gut
Matsumoto, et
al. [28]
exercise; 5
Animals Exercised and
PCR-TGGE and a
sequencing analysis
for bacterial DNA and
HPLC for organic
Increase of n-butyrate
concentrations and butyrate-
producing bacteria in exercise
Choi, et al. [29]Voluntary
exercise; 5
Animals Model of
in exercise
and sedentary
PhyloChip Array Exercise attenuates the decrease
of the abundance of bacterial taxa
and the phylum Proteobacteria after
PCB-treatment in both groups.
Exercise was capable to attenuate
PCB-induced changes on gut
microbiota. Activity level was
positively correlated with a shift in
abundance of the microbiota.
et al. [30]
exercise; 6
Animals Model of caloric
restriction in
exercise and
V2-V3 regions 16S
and qPCR
Increase of the phylum
Proteobacteria, decrease of
phyla richness and of the genus
Bidobacteria was observed in
exercise plus CR group. Moreover,
this group showed increase in
Clostridium and Enterococcus
and decrease of B. coccoides-E.
rectal and Lactobacillus unlike the
changes in exercise group without
Evans, et al.
exercise; 12
Animals Model of LFD
and HFD in
exercise and
V4 region 16S rRNA,
Exercise increased Bacteroidetes
and decreased Firmicutes in
both LFD and HFD groups and
displayed a trend toward to
increase Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes
ratio. Actinobacteria levels were
lower in LFD-e than LFD-s. Also,
exercise increased the content of
the families Lachnospiraceae and
Ruminococcaceae and decreased
Lactobacillaceae in both diets.
Kang, et al. [45]Controlled
exercise; 60
min/d; 5 d/
16 weeks
Animals Model of ND
and HFD in
exercise and
V3-V5 regions 16S
rRNA, Illumina MiSeq
and qPCR
Exercise was capable to reduce
the levels of Streptococcus genus
in HFD group. Also, there was a
signicant increase in Firmicutes
and decrease in Bacteroidetes
phyla in HFD-e compared to HFD-s.
Petriz, et al.
exercise; 30
min/d; 5 d/
week; 4 weeks
Animals Control,
and obese
V5-V6 regions
16S rRNA, 454
GS FLX Titanium
sequencer platform
Exercise reduced Streptococcus
genus in control rats, increased of
Allobaculum genus and reduced
Aggregatibacter and Suturella in
hypertensive rats and increased
Lactobacillus levels in obese rats.
At post exercise, only obese rats
showed more abundance of some
bacteria species.
Lambert, et al.
exercise; LIT;
5 d/week; 6
Animals Diabetic type
II and control
qPCR Exercise increased the abundance of
Firmicutes species (Lactobacillus spp.
and Clostridium leptum cluster IV)
and reduced Bacteroides/Prevotella
spp. and Methanobrevibacter spp.
in both control and diabetic groups.
Bidobacterium spp. was greater
in exercised control but not diabetic
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only in the group submied to exercise, as we observe
on Evans, et al. [25] research, hence supporng the hy-
pothesis that exercise causes changes in gut microbiota
independent of changes in diet [26].
Short term (6 days) voluntary exercise showed that
nutrional status and physical acvity alter gut micro-
biota diversity in dierent manners. When exercise is
combinated with food restricon protocol (restricng
access for 23 hours per day and conned to running
wheels except during a 60 min meal), a negave impact
on bacterial richness is reported with respect to the Lac-
tobacillus and Bidobacterium genera [30]. The caloric
restricon was also able to modify the phyla, even in
the presence of exercise [30] (Table 1). It seems that ex-
modies the bacterial balance in the gut, with alteraon
of the major phyla levels, and increase of the relave
proporon of butyrate-producing bacteria (Clostridia-
ceae, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae). The au-
thors appoint that the exercise pracce would be able
to prevent the eects of a High Fat Diet (HFD) [25]. In
fact, Campbell, et al. [26] showed that exercise is able
to modify not only the specic populaons of commen-
sal bacteria in the gut, but also cause morphological
changes in gut microenvironment. In the Campbell et al.
study [26], the exercised group showed reduced intes-
nal inammaon due to a high-fat diet and morpho-
logical characteriscs similar to the control. Likewise, in
a previous study, Faecalibacterium prausnitzi and Lach-
nospiraceae group (a Clostridia-cluster) were detected
Liu, et al. [31]Voluntary
exercise; 11
female rats)
Model of LCR
and HCR in
exercise and
groups; all
groups with
V4 region 16S rRNA,
Illumina MiSeq
Exercise decreased the abundance
of Firmicutes in LCR and increased
in HCR group. Also, it was capable
to increase Proteobacteria and
Cyanobacteria phyla in LCR, but
decreased in HCR group. At family
level, exercise decreased the
abundance of Ruminococcaceae
and Lachnospiraceae in LCR,
but increased in HCR. Exercise
increased Clostridiaceae and,
mainly, Clostridium genus, in both
exercise groups.
Mika, et al. [34]Voluntary
exercise; 6
Animals Healthy
juveniles and
adults with
exercise and
V4 region 16S rRNA,
The juvenile runners, although
less diverse and richness than
their adults counterparts, showed
more changes as an increase in
Bacteroidetes and a decrease in
Firmicutes and Proteobacteria
phyla, which remains over 25 days
even without exercise.
Campbell, et al.
exercise; 12
Animals Model of ND
and HFD in
exercise and
TRFLP and 454 GS
FLX 454 Genome
Sequencer platform
Allobaculum spp. and Clostridiales
were enriched within the exercise
group in ND. Faecalibacterium
prausnitzi was detected only in
exercise groups in both ND and
HFD and Lachnospiraceae was
not present in the HFD-e or HFD-s
Denou, et al.
exercise; HIIT;
3 d/week; 6
Animals Model of ND
and obesity-
inducing HFD
in exercise
and sedentary
V3 region 16S rRNA,
Illumina MiSeq and
HIIT increased the overall
richness of the microbiota in the
colon of obese mice, mainly,
within Bacteroidetes phylum and
Bacteroidales order unlike to the gut
microbiota composition in HFD-s
Clarke, et al.
No intervention Humans Athletes
(rugby players)
and healthy
V4 region 16S
rRNA, 454 Genome
FLX platform
Athletes showed a higher
richness with less abundance of
Bacteroidetes phylum. The family
Akkermansiaceae and the genus
Akkermansia showed higher
levels in athletes when compared
to control group with high BMI
and lower levels of Bacteroides,
Lactobacillaceae and Lactobacillus
when compared to control group
with low BMI.
d: day; LIT: Low Intensity Training; HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training; LFD: Low Fat Diet; ND: Normal Diet; HFD: High Fat Diet;
LFD-e: Low Fat Diet plus exercise; LFD-s: Low Fat Diet within sedentary group; HFD-e: High Fat Diet plus exercise; HFD-s: High
Fat Diet within sedentary group; LCR: Low Capacity Running; HCR: High Capacity Running.
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more plasc and sensive to environmental changes
during early life. Then, exercise iniated during the ju-
venile period may show a more robust impact on the
gut microbiota than exercise iniated in adulthood [34].
In other words, the changes that occur in childhood may
last longer even with the absence of exercise than the
changes occurring later. The authors show that exer-
cise-induced alteraons in microbiota during early life
contribute to metabolic consequences such as increased
SCFA producon, increased energy expenditure and re-
duced fat accumulaon in the adipose ssue. Indeed,
increased Bacteroidetes phyla along with decreased Fir-
micutes phyla within the gut have been associated with
these metabolic consequences. The results obtained by
Denou, et al. [33] reinforce this proposion [33-35].
It is important to observe that only one study regard-
ing gut microbiota and exercise science was carried out
with athletes [27], a populaon in which the amount of
exercise training is very large and intense, and its out-
comes are dierent when compared with voluntary ex-
ercise performed in some animals’ protocols or short
session of moderate exercise performed by acve indi-
viduals, as shown in Table 1.
Possible Mechanisms Connecng Physical Ex-
ercise and Gut Microbiota
The eect of exercise on microbiota is sll largely un-
known. They are likely to be mediated, at least in part,
by altering parameters that inuence the intesnal mi-
Short chain fat acids
Exercise may increase butyrate-producing bacteria
species [25,28]. Matsumoto, et al. [28] were the rst to
show that chronic voluntary physical exercise in animals
is able to change SCFA producon (n-butyrate) in the ce-
cum with modicaons in butyrate-producing bacteria
species. In addion, this study reported alteraon in the
cecal microbiota prole aer exercise. These authors
explain that part of the benecial eects of exercise re-
lated to microbiota and subsequent variaons in intes-
nal health may be related to changes in the SCFA prole,
especially for butyrate concentraons [28]. This shi in
butyrate bacteria producon in exercise group was also
shown by Evans, et al. [25].
The inuence of physical exercise on the composi-
on of the microbial environment has been linked to a
decreased pH in the gut from SCFA producon. Speci-
cally butyrate promotes cell dierenaon and cell cy-
cle arrest, inhibits the enzyme histone deacetylase, and
decreases the transformaon of primary to secondary
bile acids promong colonic acidicaon [36]. Changes
in intesnal luminal pH may modify the environment in
such way that it becomes more favorable for the prolif-
eraon of some bacterial species [37].
ercise cannot aenuate the eect of caloric restricon,
whereas it would be able to cause improvements on gut
microbiota composion even under high fat diets.
Voluntary exercise with dierent aerobic capacies,
intensity, volume and frequency may present dier-
ent outcomes. Evans, et al. [25] showed a signicant
increase in the abundance of Bacteroidetes, while the
evidence provided by Liu, et al. [31] showed a reduc-
on in the abundance of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria
phylum. Apart from both studies exposing the animals
to the same diet (HFD), these dierences observed be-
tween these two studies may originate from the dier-
ent experimental models used. Liu, et al. [31] study was
performed with ovariectomized female rats fed with
HFD, divided in High Capacity Running (HCR) and Low
Capacity Running (LCR), performed 11 weeks of volun-
tary exercise whereas Evans, et al. [25] performed 12
weeks voluntary exercise in male rats [25,31].
Petriz, et al. [32] proposed that training status and
intensity may be favorable to the proliferaon of spe-
cic families of bacteria [32]. The authors reported an
inverse correlaon between exercise and Clostridiace-
ae/Bacteroideae families and Ruminococus genera, and
a posive correlaon between Oscillospira in exercise
intensity. Aerobic training may be associated with a
favorable environment for Clostridiaceae, Bacteroide-
ae and Ruminococus, but an unfavorable environment
for Oscillospira due to acidicaon of the intesnal
environment. The proposion by Petriz, et al. [32] is in
agreement with modicaon of the gut environment
following high intensity or long period exercise. Exer-
cise should modify the environment in a favorable way
in terms of anaerobic bacteria populaon, or acidic en-
vironment since a decrease splanchnic blood ow and
oxygen supply occurs [32].
A recent study performed using High Intensity In-
terval Training (HIIT), demonstrated that HIIT exerts
opposed changes to the gut microbiota compared to
those imposed by obesity prole. Indeed, HIIT reduces
the predicted metabolic genec capacity of the fecal
microbiota, alters microbiota metabolic pathways, and
raises the possibility that this type of exercise training
may elicit some of its benecial eects on metabolism
through alteraons in the gut microbiome [33]. Howev-
er, this same study did not compare the dierent types
of exercise, such as connuous versus intermient, or
voluntary versus controlled exercise. These parameters
should be taken into consideraon in future invesga-
ons, since it remains unclear if the dierent types of
exercise can cause similar benecial eects regarding
gut microbiota, and intesnal health as suggested by
Liu, et al. and Petriz, et al. [31,32].
Related to the benecial impact of exercise on the
microbiota composion and diversity in the early life,
Mika, et al. [34] propose, “The sooner, the beer”. This
proposion is related with the fact that microbiota is
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stanal changes in the cecal microbiome composion
by smulang the growth of Firmicutes at the expense
of Bacteroidetes; and provoked outgrowth of several
bacteria in the Clostridia and Erysipelotrichi classes [44].
Anmicrobial acvity of the bile acids may elicit selec-
ve pressure on the bacterial communies in exercised
mice, leading to a shi of the gut microbiota composi-
on [11].
Conclusion and Perspecves
Exercise and diet are considered as possible factors
capable of modulang the intesnal balance between
the hosts by independent manners. Exercise has been
shown to improve the diversity of bacterial species and
richness under dierent nutrional strategies thus al-
lowing for instance to reduce the negave eects of
high fat diet. The modicaon in short chain fay acids
producon and alteraon in intesnal pH appear to be
the main forms by which exercise may aect gut micro-
biota composion.
It is important to note that, the studies performed up
to now, used solely the voluntary exercise as model. The
inuence of specic features related to exercise train-
ing, such as volume, intensity, types of exercise (aerobic
or anaerobic or combinaon) may impact gut microbio-
ta in dierent ways. Likewise, changes in the diet and/
or dierent pathological condions in the experimen-
tal design raise some dicules in evaluang only the
exercise eect on the gut microbiota composion and
metabolic acvity, as well as in comparing the results
Studies also have shown that butyrate may induce
mucin synthesis [38], and improve gut integrity by in-
creasing ght juncon assembly [34,39,40]. Mucins are
the protecve layer consisng of glycoproteins that help
forming the mucosal barrier lining of gastrointesnal
tract. This mucin layer has been recognized to play an
important role for the interacon with gut microbiota,
and may serve as a substrate for intesnal bacteria, as
Akkermansia muciniphila, and may alter the microbial
community composion [41].
Butyrate producon in the large intesne is associ-
ated with producon of Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70).
Hsp70 maintains the funconal and structural proper-
es of intesnal epithelial cells in response to intense
exercise [42]. Since physical exercise and butyrate sm-
ulate epithelial cell Hsp70 producon, this may provide
structural and funconal stability to intesnal epithelial
cells undergoing unfavorable condions [25] ( Figure 1).
Bile acids
Physical acvity has been reported to increase excre-
on of primary bile acids in the gastrointesnal tract.
Since butyrate (that has been reported to be increased
by physical acvity) diminishes the conversion of bile ac-
ids into secondary bile acids, physical acvity may con-
sequently favor the rising of primary bile acids concen-
traons in the intesnal luminal content [23].
The primary bile acids have established an-micro-
bial acvity. In agreement with this hypothesis, Islam,
et al. [43] demonstrated that cholic acid induced sub-
Figure 1: Schematic view representing the possible ways by which physical exercise may impact the gut microbiota. This
includes Short-Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) production by the microbiota, and bile acid production, as well as related alteration
of the luminal pH. Exercise may also impact gut transit time and intestinal immune response, which in turn may modify the
microbiota composition and metabolic activity.
ISSN: 2469-5718DOI: 10.23937/2469-5718/1510069
Costa et al. Int J Sports Exerc Med 2017, 3:069 • Page 7 of 8 •
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obtained in dierent studies and this may hinder our
Further experiments, including molecular biology
studies, are obviously required in order to delineate the
precise mechanisms by which exercise impacts the in-
tesnal microbiota. Studies involving human volunteers
are also necessary to beer elucidate the exercise-mi-
crobiota relaonships and involved mechanisms.
This represents an important research area given the
evident impact of physical exercise on gut microbiota
composion and possible benet on gut health.
The authors thanks CAPES/PROEX that support this
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... Even in healthy and normal weight subjects, Sket et al. [12,13] demonstrated that 21 days of predominantly sedentary behavior promoted both functional and compositional modifications to the gut microbiota that were associated with a reduction in intestinal transit time and an enhancement in the concentration of secondary bile acids and neurotoxins within stool samples. Hence, science has progressed towards environmental approaches that positively influence human gut microbiota and health, such as exercise [14,15]. ...
... Moderate aerobic exercise affects the intestinal system mainly through gut immune function [18]; gut barrier integrity through tight junction proteins expression [19] and IgA production [20]; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stimulation which, in turn, affects enteric nervous system and intestinal transit time, as well as gut motility, intestinal pH and gut hormones release [20]; and bile acids metabolism within enterohepatic circulation [21]. These exercise-induced intestinal adaptations affect the gut environment in a way that may select the surviving microorganisms, leading to alterations to gut microbiota composition [14,20,22]. ...
... Moderate aerobic exercise is known to improve physical health, mainly through the cardiorespiratory system, which affects energetic metabolism, neuronal and hormonal activities and immune tolerance and thus can affect gut microbiota [6,14,18]. In our study, EG subjects experienced substantial improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness parameters (measured by VO 2 peak, peak power, first aerobic threshold; respiratory exchange ratio), which was not observed in CG. ...
Full-text available
Nutrient consumption and body mass index (BMI) are closely related to the gut microbiota, and exercise effects on gut bacteria composition may be related to those variables. Thus, we aimed to investigate the effect of 10-week moderate aerobic exercise on the cardiorespiratory fitness and gut bacteria composition of non-obese men with the same nutritional profile. Twenty-four previously sedentary men (age 25.18 [SD 4.66] years, BMI 24.5 [SD 3.72] kg/m2) were randomly assigned into Control (CG; n = 12) or Exercise Groups (EG; n = 12). Body composition, cardiorespiratory parameters, blood markers, dietary habits and gut bacteria composition were evaluated. EG performed 150 min per week of supervised moderate (60–65% of VO2peak) aerobic exercise, while CG maintained their daily routine. The V4 16S rRNA gene was sequenced and treated using QIIME software. Only EG demonstrated marked improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak, p < 0.05; Effect Size = 0.971) without changes in other gut bacteria-affecting variables. Exercise did not promote clustering based on diversity indices (p > 0.05), although significant variations in an unclassified genus from Clostridiales order and in Streptococcus genus were observed (p < 0.05). Moreover, α-diversity was correlated with VO2peak (Pearson’s R: 0.47; R2 0.23: 95%CI: 0.09 to 0.74, p = 0.02) and BMI (Pearson’s R: −0.50; R2 0.25: 95%CI: −0.75 to −0.12, p = 0.01). Roseburia, Sutterella and Odoribacter genera were associated with VO2peak, while Desulfovibrio and Faecalibacterium genera were associated with body composition (p < 0.05). Our study indicates that aerobic exercise at moderate intensity improved VO2peak and affected gut bacteria composition of non-obese men who maintained a balanced consumption of nutrients.
... Moreover, according to the literature, some reviews [16,17] argue that the consumption of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics could be effective in improving the performance of athletes by maintaining gastrointestinal and immune function, thus reducing the susceptibility to illness. However, Costa et al. (2017) [18] believe that sport itself could modify the intestinal immune response and gastrointestinal functions, thus modifying the microbiota composition. ...
... Moreover, according to the literature, some reviews [16,17] argue that the consumption of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics could be effective in improving the performance of athletes by maintaining gastrointestinal and immune function, thus reducing the susceptibility to illness. However, Costa et al. (2017) [18] believe that sport itself could modify the intestinal immune response and gastrointestinal functions, thus modifying the microbiota composition. ...
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The main objective of this research was to carry out an experimental study, triple-blind, on the possible immunophysiological effects of a nutritional supplement (synbiotic, Gasteel Plus®, Heel España S.A.U.), containing a mixture of probiotic strains, such as Bifidobacterium lactis CBP-001010, Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036, and Bifidobacterium longum ES1, as well as the prebiotic fructooligosaccharides, on both professional athletes and sedentary people. The effects on some inflammatory/immune (IL-1β, IL-10, and immunoglobulin A) and stress (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and cortisol) biomarkers were evaluated, determined by flow cytometer and ELISA. The effects on metabolic profile and physical activity, as well as on various parameters that could affect physical and mental health, were also evaluated via the use of accelerometry and validated questionnaires. The participants were professional soccer players in the Second Division B of the Spanish League and sedentary students of the same sex and age range. Both study groups were randomly divided into two groups: a control group—administered with placebo, and an experimental group—administered with the synbiotic. Each participant was evaluated at baseline, as well as after the intervention, which lasted one month. Only in the athlete group did the synbiotic intervention clearly improve objective physical activity and sleep quality, as well as perceived general health, stress, and anxiety levels. Furthermore, the synbiotic induced an immunophysiological bioregulatory effect, depending on the basal situation of each experimental group, particularly in the systemic levels of IL-1β (increased significantly only in the sedentary group), CRH (decreased significantly only in the sedentary group), and dopamine (increased significantly only in the athlete group). There were no significant differences between groups in the levels of immunoglobulin A or in the metabolic profile as a result of the intervention. It is concluded that synbiotic nutritional supplements can improve anxiety, stress, and sleep quality, particularly in sportspeople, which appears to be linked to an improved immuno-neuroendocrine response in which IL-1β, CRH, and dopamine are clearly involved.
... It is well known that physical exercise has a positive impact on human health, helping to prevent excessive weight gain and triggering a cascade of events leading to the metabolic balance of the human body, preventing or treating several diseases such as diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome and heart disease (Pedersen and Saltin 2015;Weiss et al. 2017). Apart from the already known beneficial factors provided by exercise, several recent studies have reported that exercise has an impact on the composition and on the metabolic activity of the gut microbiota (Petriz et al. 2014;Costa et al. 2017;Monda et al. 2017;Chen et al. 2018b;Codella et al. 2018;Denou et al. 2018). According to Petriz et al. (2014), Monda et al. (2017) and Codella et al. (2018), physical exercise is able to improve the microbiota diversity, to stimulate different bacteria capable of improving the barrier function as well as the mucosal immunity and to produce SCFAs under different nutritional contexts, therefore offering a therapeutic approach for obesity and other metabolic diseases. ...
... Even though the mechanisms behind exercise and positive gut modulation remain undetermined (Codella et al. 2018), some hypotheses have been proposed and can be viewed in Fig. 1. Increases of short-chain fatty acid production and consequent alteration of intestinal pH, as well as the reduction of gut transit time and increased excretion of primary bile acids (reported to have anti-microbial activity), are some of the suggested factors by which exercise may affect gut microbiota composition (Evans et al. 2014;Costa et al. 2017;Monda et al. 2017;Codella et al. 2018). ...
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The rising worldwide prevalence of obesity has become a major concern having many implications for the public health and the economy. It is well known that many factors such as lifestyle, increased intake of foods high in fat and sugar and a host’s genetic profile can lead to obesity. Besides these factors, recent studies have pointed to the gut microbiota composition as being responsible for the development of obesity. Since then, many efforts have been made to understand the link between the gut microbiota composition and obesity, as well as the role of food ingredients, such as pro- and prebiotics, in the modulation of the gut microbiota. Studies involving the gut microbiota composition of obese individuals are however still controversial, making it difficult to treat obesity. In this sense, this mini-review deals with obesity and the relationship with gut microbiota, summarising the principal findings on gut microbiome approaches for treating obesity in humans.
... Moreover, SCFAs, in response to aerobic exercise, can decrease the luminal pH (colon) by decreasing the conversion of primary bile acids to secondary bile acids and promoting colonic acidification. The environment created as a result of these changes is more favorable for the growth of healthy commensal bacteria [190,191]. Figure 2 summarizes the beneficial effects of exercise on the dysbiotic gut. ...
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The microbiome has emerged as a key player contributing significantly to the human physiology over the past decades. The potential microbial niche is largely unexplored in the context of exercise enhancing capacity and the related mitochondrial functions. Physical exercise can influence the gut microbiota composition and diversity, whereas a sedentary lifestyle in association with dysbiosis can lead to reduced well-being and diseases. Here, we have elucidated the importance of diverse microbiota, which is associated with an individual’s fitness, and moreover, its connection with the organelle, the mitochondria, which is the hub of energy production, signaling, and cellular homeostasis. Microbial by-products, such as short-chain fatty acids, are produced during regular exercise that can enhance the mitochondrial capacity. Therefore, exercise can be employed as a therapeutic intervention to circumvent or subside various metabolic and mitochondria-related diseases. Alternatively, the microbiome–mitochondria axis can be targeted to enhance exercise performance. This review furthers our understanding about the influence of microbiome on the functional capacity of the mitochondria and exercise performance, and the interplay between them.
... The human microbiota is considered the most complex ecosystem on earth that has coexisted and evolved over millions of years to reform human development, which can enhance immune defense. These residents are distinctive in implementing protective, trophic, and metabolic functions of healthy persons (Costa, 2017;Oliveira et al., 2017). The gut microbes survive by the uptake of nutrients from the host, in turn, are beneficial and thereby stimulate the T-cells to regulate immune homeostasis (Andoh, 2016), produce Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that act as ligands of G-protein coupled Receptor 41 (GPR41) to regulate energy homeostasis (Samuel et al., 2008) and insulate against pathogens (Pasquali et al., 2014). ...
The novel coronavirus disease pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has infected millions of people around the world with a surge in transmission and mortality rates. Although it is a respiratory viral infection that affects airway epithelial cells, a diverse set of complications, including cytokine storm, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological distress, and hyperactive immune responses have been reported. However, growing evidence indicates that the bidirectional crosstalk of the gut-lung axis can decipher the complexity of the disease. Though not much research has been focused on the gut-lung axis microbiome, there is a translocation of COVID-19 infection from the lung to the gut through the lymphatic system resulting in disruption of gut permeability and its integrity. It is believed that detailed elucidation of the gut-lung axis crosstalk and the role of microbiota can unravel the most significant insights on the discovery of diagnosis using microbiome-based-therapeutics for COVID-19. This review calls attention to relate the influence of dysbiosis caused by COVID-19 and the involvement of the gut-lung axis. It presents first of its kind details that concentrate on the momentousness of biotics in disease progression and restoration. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma
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Studies investigating exercise-induced gut microbiota have reported that people who exercise regularly have a healthy gut microbial environment compared with sedentary individuals. In contrast, recent studies have shown that high protein intake without dietary fiber not only offsets the positive effect of exercise on gut microbiota but also significantly lowers the relative abundance of beneficial bacteria. In this study, to resolve this conundrum and find the root cause, we decided to narrow down subjects according to diet. Almost all of the studies had subjects on an ad libitum diet, however, we wanted subjects on a simplified diet. Bodybuilders who consumed an extremely high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet were randomly assigned to a probiotics intake group (n = 8) and a placebo group (n = 7) to find the intervention effect. Probiotics, comprising Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. helveticus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, were consumed for 60 days. As a result, supplement intake did not lead to a positive effect on the gut microbial environment or concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). It has been shown that probiotic intake is not as effective as ergogenic aids for athletes such as bodybuilders with extreme dietary regimens, especially protein and dietary fiber. To clarify the influence of nutrition-related factors that affect the gut microbial environment, we divided the bodybuilders (n = 28) into groups according to their protein and dietary fiber intake and compared their gut microbial environment with that of sedentary male subjects (n = 15). Based on sedentary Korean recommended dietary allowance (KRDA), the bodybuilders′ intake of protein and dietary fiber was categorized into low, proper, and excessive groups, as follows: high-protein/restricted dietary fiber (n = 12), high-protein/adequate dietary fiber (n = 10), or adequate protein/restricted dietary fiber (n = 6). We found no significant differences in gut microbial diversity or beneficial bacteria between the high-protein/restricted dietary fiber and the healthy sedentary groups. However, when either protein or dietary fiber intake met the KRDA, gut microbial diversity and the relative abundance of beneficial bacteria showed significant differences to those of healthy sedentary subjects. These results suggest that the positive effect of exercise on gut microbiota is dependent on protein and dietary fiber intake. The results also suggest that the question of adequate nutrition should be addressed before supplementation with probiotics to derive complete benefits from the intervention.
Although current guidelines for obesity treatment endorse lifestyle modifications to achieve weight loss, energy-restricted diets are still the most commonly used method for the management of overweight. Diet restriction, however, not only is ineffective in promoting long-term weight loss but also may have more costs than benefits, predisposing the individual to fat regain. Several physiological and psychological mechanisms protect the body against starvation and explain how food restriction can promote paradoxically the opposite of what it is planned to achieve, triggering changes in energy metabolism, endocrine function and, thus, body composition. New approaches that focus on behavioral treatment without diet restriction, such as nutritional coaching, are showing strong growth that arises as an innovative way to create sustainable and effective lifestyle changes.
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The colonic epithelial cells represent a border between the colon luminal content, containing notably bacteria and a complex mixture of compounds, and the “milieu interieur” as defined by the French physiologist Claude Bernard. The physical-chemical composition of the luminal content, including luminal pH and bacterial metabolite, that obviously is not constant, is modified for instance according to the diet. Data obtained recently indicate that physical exercise may also modify the colonic luminal content. Evidence has indicated that modification of the luminal content characteristics has, indeed, consequences for the colonic epithelial cells, notably in terms of energy metabolism and DNA integrity. Although such alterations impact presumably the homeostatic process of the colonic epithelium renewal and the epithelial barrier function, their contribution to pathological processes like mucosal inflammation, pre-neoplasia, and neoplasia remains partly elusive. Open questions remain regarding the individual and collective roles of luminal changes, particularly in a long-term perspective. These questions are related particularly to the capacity of the bacterial metabolites to cross the mucus layer before entering the colonocytes, to the concentrations of metabolites in proximity of the colonic crypt stem cells, and to the capacity of colonocytes to detoxicate deleterious compounds, to take up and utilize beneficial compounds.
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Animals assemble and maintain a diverse but host-specific gut microbial community. In addition to characteristic microbial compositions along the longitudinal axis of the intestines, discrete bacterial communities form in microhabitats, such as the gut lumen, colonic mucus layers and colonic crypts. In this Review, we examine how the spatial distribution of symbiotic bacteria among physical niches in the gut affects the development and maintenance of a resilient microbial ecosystem. We consider novel hypotheses for how nutrient selection, immune activation and other mechanisms control the biogeography of bacteria in the gut, and we discuss the relevance of this spatial heterogeneity to health and disease.
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The gut microbiota is considered a relevant factor in obesity and associated metabolic diseases, for which postmenopausal women are particularly at risk. Increasing physical activity has been recognized as an efficacious approach to prevent or treat obesity, yet the impact of physical activity on the microbiota remains under-investigated. We examined the impacts of voluntary exercise on host metabolism and gut microbiota in ovariectomized (OVX) high capacity (HCR) and low capacity running (LCR) rats. HCR and LCR rats (age = 27 wk) were OVX and fed a high-fat diet (45% kcal fat) ad libitum and housed in cages equipped with (exercise, EX) or without (sedentary, SED) running wheels for 11 wk (n = 7-8/group). We hypothesized that increased physical activity would hinder weight gain, increase metabolic health and shift the microbiota of LCR rats, resulting in populations more similar to that of HCR rats. Animals were compared for characteristic metabolic parameters including body composition, lipid profile and energy expenditure; whereas cecal digesta were collected for DNA extraction. 16S rRNA gene-based amplicon Illumina MiSeq sequencing was performed, followed by analysis using QIIME 1.8.0 to assess cecal microbiota. Voluntary exercise decreased body and fat mass, and normalized fasting NEFA concentrations of LCR rats, despite only running one-third the distance of HCR rats. Exercise, however, increased food intake, weight gain and fat mass of HCR rats. Exercise clustered the gut microbial community of LCR rats, which separated them from the other groups. Assessments of specific taxa revealed significant (p
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The mammalian intestine harbors a complex microbial ecosystem that influences many aspects of host physiology. Exposure to specific microbes early in development affects host metabolism, immune function, and behavior across the lifespan. Just as the physiology of the developing organism undergoes a period of plasticity, the developing microbial ecosystem is characterized by instability and may also be more sensitive to change. Early life thus presents a window of opportunity for manipulations that produce adaptive changes in microbial composition. Recent insights have revealed that increasing physical activity can increase the abundance of beneficial microbial species. We therefore investigated whether six weeks of wheel running initiated in the juvenile period (postnatal day 24) would produce more robust and stable changes in microbial communities versus exercise initiated in adulthood (postnatal day 70) in male F344 rats. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used to characterize the microbial composition of juvenile versus adult runners and their sedentary counterparts across multiple time points during exercise and following exercise cessation. Alpha diversity measures revealed that the microbial communities of young runners were less even and diverse, a community structure that reflects volatility and malleability. Juvenile onset exercise altered several phyla and, notably, increased Bacteroidetes and decreased Firmicutes, a configuration associated with leanness. At the genus level of taxonomy, exercise altered more genera in juveniles than in the adults and produced patterns associated with adaptive metabolic consequences. Given the potential of these changes to contribute to a lean phenotype, we examined body composition in juvenile versus adult runners. Interestingly, exercise produced persistent increases in lean body mass in juvenile but not adult runners. Taken together, these results indicate that the impact of exercise on gut microbiota composition as well as body composition may depend on the developmental stage during which exercise is initiated.
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p-cresol that is produced by the intestinal microbiota from the amino acid tyrosine is found at millimolar concentrations in the human faeces. The effects of this metabolite on colonic epithelial cells were tested in this study. Using the human colonic epithelial HT-29 Glc(-/+) cell line, we found that 0.8mM p-cresol inhibits cell proliferation, an effect concomitant with an accumulation of the cells in the S phase and with a slight increase of cell detachment without necrotic effect. At this concentration, p-cresol inhibited oxygen consumption in HT-29 Glc(-/+) cells. In rat normal colonocytes, p-cresol also inhibited respiration. Pre-treatment of HT-29 Glc(-/+) cells with 0.8mM p-cresol for 1 day resulted in an increase of the state 3 oxygen consumption and of the cell maximal respiratory capacity with concomitant increased anion superoxide production. At higher concentrations (1.6 and 3.2mM), p-cresol showed similar effects but additionally increased after 1 day the proton leak through the inner mitochondrial membrane, decreasing the mitochondrial bioenergetic activity. At these concentrations, p-cresol was found to be genotoxic towards HT-29 Glc(-/+) and also LS-174T intestinal cells. Lastly, a decreased ATP intracellular content was observed after 3 days treatment. p-cresol at 0.8mM concentration inhibits colonocyte respiration and proliferation. In response, cells can mobilize their "respiratory reserve". At higher concentrations, p-cresol pre-treatment uncouples cell respiration and ATP synthesis, increases DNA damage, and finally decreases the ATP cell content. Thus, we have identified p-cresol as a metabolic troublemaker and as a genotoxic agent towards colonocytes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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Sedentary lifestyle is linked with poor health, most commonly obesity and associated disorders, the corollary being that exercise offers a preventive strategy. However, the scope of exercise biology extends well beyond energy expenditure and has emerged as a great 'polypill', which is safe, reliable and cost-effective not only in disease prevention but also treatment. Biological mechanisms by which exercise influences homeostasis are becoming clearer and involve multi-organ systemic adaptations. Most of the elements of a modern lifestyle influence the indigenous microbiota but few studies have explored the effect of increased physical activity. While dietary responses to exercise obscure the influence of exercise alone on gut microbiota, professional athletes operating at the extremes of performance provide informative data. We assessed the relationship between extreme levels of exercise, associated dietary habits and gut microbiota composition, and discuss potential mechanisms by which exercise may exert a direct or indirect influence on gut microbiota.
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Cecal microbiota from type 2 diabetic (db/db) and control (db/(+)) mice was obtained following 6 weeks of sedentary or exercise activity. qPCR analysis revealed a main effect of exercise, with greater abundance of select Firmicutes species and lower Bacteroides/Prevotella spp. in both normal and diabetic exercised mice compared with sedentary counterparts. Conversely, Bifidobacterium spp. was greater in exercised normal but not diabetic mice (exercise × diabetes interaction). How exercise influences gut microbiota requires further investigation.
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A strategy to understand the microbial components of the human genetic and metabolic landscape and how they contribute to normal physiology and predisposition to disease.
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Traditionally bacteria have been considered as either pathogens, commensals or symbionts. The mammal gut harbors 10(14) organisms dispersed on approximately 1000 different species. Today, diagnostics, in contrast to previous cultivation techniques, allow the identification of close to 100% of bacterial species. This has revealed that a range of animal models within different research areas, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergy, behavior and colitis, are affected by their gut microbiota. Correlation studies may for some diseases show correlation between gut microbiota composition and disease parameters higher than 70%. Some disease phenotypes may be transferred when recolonizing germ free mice. The mechanistic aspects are not clear, but some examples on how gut bacteria stimulate receptors, metabolism, and immune responses are discussed. A more deeper understanding of the impact of microbiota has its origin in the overall composition of the microbiota and in some newly recognized species, such as Akkermansia muciniphila, Segmented filamentous bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, which seem to have an impact on more or less severe disease in specific models. Thus, the impact of the microbiota on animal models is of a magnitude that cannot be ignored in future research. Therefore, either models with specific microbiota must be developed, or the microbiota must be characterized in individual studies and incorporated into data evaluation.
Diet and exercise underpin the risk of obesity-related metabolic disease. Diet alters the gut microbiota, which contributes to aspects of metabolic disease during obesity. Repeated exercise provides metabolic benefits during obesity. We assessed if exercise could oppose changes in the taxonomic and predicted metagenomic characteristics of the gut microbiota during diet-induced obesity. We hypothesized that high intensity interval training (HIIT) would counteract high fat diet (HFD)-induced changes in the microbiota without altering obesity in mice. Compared to chow-fed mice, an obesity-causing HFD decreased the Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes ratio and decreased the genetic capacity in the fecal microbiota for metabolic pathways such as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. After HFD-induced obesity was established, a sub-set of mice were HIIT for 6 weeks, which increased host aerobic capacity, but did not alter body or adipose tissue mass. The effects of exercise training on the microbiota were gut segment-dependent and more extensive in the distal gut. HIIT increased the alpha diversity and Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes ratio of the distal gut and fecal microbiota during diet-induced obesity. Exercise training increased the predicted genetic capacity related to the TCA cycle among other aspects of metabolism. Strikingly, the same microbial metabolism indices that were increased by exercise were all decreased in HFD-fed versus chow diet-fed mice. Therefore, exercise training directly opposed some of the obesity-related changes in gut microbiota, including lower metagenomic indices of metabolism. Some host and microbial pathways appear similarly affected by exercise. These exercise and diet-induced microbiota interactions can be captured in feces.