Study finds exercise shapes our gut health

Study finds exercise shapes our gut health

In a recent study published in the journal EBiomedicineA team of scientists investigated the association between physical activity levels and gut microbiota using accelerometer-based assessments of sedentary, moderate, and vigorous physical activity levels.

Study finds exercise shapes our gut healthStudy: Accelerometer-based physical activity correlates with gut microbiota in 8416 individuals in SCAPIS. Image credit: Zhanna Mendel/Shutterstock


There is growing evidence that optimal levels of physical activity reduce the risk of mental health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. Additionally, sedentary habits, including activities involving prolonged sitting or lying down, are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular death and type 2 diabetes, and these risks can be reduced with high-intensity exercise. Recent research also suggests that the positive health effects of exercise may be mediated through changes in the gut microbiome.

Numerous studies have also shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the development of various diseases and mental health problems. In addition to interacting with the host in the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiota is thought to produce neurotransmitters that can influence the immune system, central nervous system, and the central nervous system through various neuronal pathways and the microbiota-gut-brain axis. and brain homeostasis. Physical activity and its resulting circulatory changes, enterohepatic motility of bile acids, changes in intestinal permeability and intestinal immunity affect the intestinal microbiota.

About the study

In this study, researchers used data from the Swedish Heart and Lung Bioimaging Study to determine whether sedentary, moderate, and vigorous physical activity are associated with changes in the gut microbiome. While several previous studies have examined this association, most have used self-reported physical activity levels, which may be subject to bias. Furthermore, the authors believe that the taxonomic resolution of gut microbes in these studies was limited.

This study used data from hip-worn accelerometers to obtain more reliable and accurate measurements of physical activity levels. Furthermore, the use of deep shotgun metagenomics is thought to provide high-resolution taxonomic information about gut microbial communities.

Study participants were asked to answer a detailed questionnaire about their health and medical history, diet and lifestyle habits. They underwent a series of physical and clinical examinations such as computed tomography (CT) scans of the lungs, coronary arteries and abdomen. Participants also provided stool samples for gut microbiome analysis. All participants wore the accelerometer on their hip for a week, wearing it at all times except during water activities or while sleeping.

Data from the accelerometers were converted to counts per minute and then used to define sedentary, low, moderate, and vigorous physical activity levels based on cutoffs validated by previous studies. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction was performed on all fecal samples, and the extracted DNA was used to identify metagenomic species.

Various indices of species diversity, such as the inverse Simpson index, Shannon diversity index, and species richness, were calculated to determine alpha diversity. Additionally, differences in microbial composition between samples were determined by calculating beta diversity.


The results showed that the association between sedentary habits or very low physical activity levels and the abundance of various gut microbial species was opposite to the association between moderate or vigorous physical activity levels and the abundance of gut microbial species.

richness E. coli was found to be highly associated with sedentary physical activity levels, whereas moderate levels of physical activity were associated with lower levels of physical activity. E. coli. Butyrate-producing bacteria, such as those belonging to Roseberia genus, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii It is higher in individuals with moderate and vigorous physical activity levels.

Additionally, there are differences in species abundance, e.g. Prevot cap, Differences between individuals with moderate physical activity levels and those in the vigorous physical activity group.richness P.Cover Associated with moderate levels of exercise, but not vigorous exercise P.Cover Rich.

The functional potential of the gut microbiome was also found to be associated with different levels of physical activity. Studies have found that moderate levels of physical activity are associated with higher acetate and butyrate synthesis. The study found that vigorous exercise was associated with higher propionate synthesis, while sedentary activity levels were associated with a lower ability of the gut microbiota to degrade carbohydrates.

in conclusion

Overall, the findings suggest that physical activity levels are closely related to the abundance of specific gut microbes. Furthermore, the diversity and abundance of the gut microbiota and its functional potential vary according to different levels of physical activity. Sedentary habits and higher levels of physical activity are inversely associated with gut microbiome abundance and diversity.

Journal reference:

  • Baldanzi, G., Sayols-Baixeras, S., Ekblom-Bak, E., Ekblom, Ö., Dekkers, KF, Hammar, U., Nguyen, D., Ahmad, S., Ericson, U., Arvidsson, D., Börjesson, M., Johanson, PJ, Gustav, SJ, Bergström, G., Lind, L., Engström, G., Arnlöv, J., Kennedy, B., Orho-Melander, M., and Fall, T. (2024). Accelerometer-based physical activity correlated with gut microbiota in 8416 individuals in SCAPIS. EBiomedicine,100. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2024.104989,

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