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Exercise and the Gut Microbiome

A Review of the Evidence, Potential Mechanisms, and Implications for Human Health

Mailing, Lucy J.1; Allen, Jacob M.2; Buford, Thomas W.3; Fields, Christopher J.4; Woods, Jeffrey A.1,5

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: April 2019 - Volume 47 - Issue 2 - p 75–85
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000183
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The gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of microbes (collectively known as the gut microbiota) that play essential roles in host physiology and health. Studies from our group and others have demonstrated that exercise independently alters the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiota. Here, we review what is known about the gut microbiota, how it is studied, and how it is influenced by exercise training and discuss the potential mechanisms and implications for human health and disease.

Exercise independently alters the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiota, with potential implications for human health and disease.

1Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, IL,

2Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH,

3Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL,

4High Performance Computing in Biology, Carver Biotechnology Center, and

5Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, IL

Address for correspondence: Jeffrey A. Woods, Ph.D., 1206 South 4th St., 1008A Khan Annex, Huff Hall, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820 (E-mail: Woods1@illinois.edu).

Accepted for publication: January 18, 2019.

Editor: Marni D. Boppart, Sc.D., FACSM.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine