Study Suggests Gut Health Might be Linked to Exercise Performance
In a recent study conducted on mice, researchers found that gut health was linked to exercise performance. What could this mean for health and wellness?
If you’ve ever struggled to find the motivation to exercise, or lost energy mid-workout, you might want to take a closer look at your gut health. Recent research has found that a gut microbiome’s composition can have a large impact on motivation levels and physical performance.
In the study conducted on mice, researchers found that when the gut microbiome was depleted with antibiotics, the mice became exhausted, and ran less often on the treadmill. When mice had a healthy population of trillions of gut microbes, they were more likely to be motivated to run on the treadmill.
Low or imbalanced dopamine is linked to a poor drive for and adherence to physical activity, as well as major depressive disorder (MDD). If a similar pathway to the one in mice is confirmed in humans, it could offer a potential way to increase exercise levels. Dopamine management is going mainstream for its noted improvements to many aspects of life, like mental and physical wellbeing.
Companies have sprung up that address gut health in the last several years. Supergut is a brand focusing on resistant starch, a prebiotic that improves dopamine signaling. Holobiome is developing new gut therapeutics with queuine, a vitamin-like molecule that influences healthy aging and dopamine synthesis. Biopharma firm Kallyope raised $236 million last February to scale its research of the gut-brain axis, including serotonin- and dopamine-regulating therapeutics.
With a better understanding of the gut-brain connection, athletes and non-athletes alike could improve their motivation levels and overall physical performance through optimizing gut health.