Summary: A new study reports six weeks of endurance exercise training has beneficial effects on gut bacteria composition. Researchers report exercise inflammation causing microbes decrease while microbes linked to enhanced metabolism increase.
Source: University of Jyväskylä.
According to recent research, endurance exercise training beneficially modifies gut microbiota composition. After six weeks of training, potentially inflammation causing microbes (Proteobacteria) decreased and microbes that are linked to enhanced metabolism (Akkermansia) increased.
Even though there was no significant drop in the weight of the subjects, exercise had other beneficial health effects, says Academy of Finland research fellow Satu Pekkala from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä.
“We found that phospholipids and cholesterol in VLDL particles decreased in response to exercise. These changes are beneficial for cardiometabolic health because VLDL transports lipids from the liver to peripheral tissues, converts into ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the circulation, and thus has detrimental cardiovascular effects.”
Exercise training also decreased Vascular adhesion protein-1 activity, which can have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects especially on vasculature, though the underlying mechanisms could not be determined in this study.
Whether Akkermansia mediates the health benefits of exercise is under further investigation
A few other cross-sectional studies have shown that microbes belonging to the Akkermansia genus are more abundant among physically active subjects than they are among inactive ones. Akkermansia has been a target of intense research recently, and some researchers believe that it may prevent obesity and diabetes.
“However, more studies are needed to prove that Akkermansia might mediate some of the health benefits of exercise,” Pekkala says.
In addition to the composition of the gut microbiota, changes in their genes, that is, in their functionality, were studied.
“The abundance of the functional genes did not change much, which was perhaps to be expected because the diet did not change during training,” Pekkala points out. “If the training period had been longer, greater effects probably would have been seen.”
The research team made an exercise intervention for overweight women, which was completed by 17 subjects. Over a six-week period, previously sedentary women participated in three training sessions per week with a bicycle ergometer. The training intensity was controlled with heart rate. During the study, other lifestyle factors, including diet, were not changed in order to ensure that the effects of exercise could be observed.
The research was carried out as a collaboration between the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä, University of Turku and the Spanish nonprofit research and healthcare organization FISABIO.
Source: Satu Pekkala – University of Jyväskylä
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Original Research: Open access research for “Six-Week Endurance Exercise Alters Gut Metagenome That Is not Reflected in Systemic Metabolism in Over-weight Women” by Eveliina Munukka, Juha P. Ahtiainen, Pere Puigbó, Sirpa Jalkanen, Katja Pahkala, Anniina Keskitalo, Urho M. Kujala, Sami Pietilä, Maija Hollmén, Laura Elo, Pentti Huovinen, Giuseppe D’Auria and Satu Pekkala in Frontiers in Microbiology. Published October 3 2018.
Six-Week Endurance Exercise Alters Gut Metagenome That Is not Reflected in Systemic Metabolism in Over-weight Women
Recent studies suggest that exercise alters the gut microbiome. We determined whether six-weeks endurance exercise, without changing diet, affected the gut metagenome and systemic metabolites of overweight women. Previously sedentary overweight women (n = 19) underwent a six-weeks endurance exercise intervention, but two were excluded due to antibiotic therapy. The gut microbiota composition and functions were analyzed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and metagenomics. Body composition was analyzed with DXA X-ray densitometer and serum metabolomics with NMR metabolomics. Total energy and energy-yielding nutrient intakes were analyzed from food records using Micro-Nutrica software. Serum clinical variables were determined with KONELAB instrument. Soluble Vascular Adhesion Protein 1 (VAP-1) was measured with ELISA and its’ enzymatic activity as produced hydrogen peroxide. The exercise intervention was effective, as maximal power and maximum rate of oxygen consumption increased while android fat mass decreased. No changes in diet were observed. Metagenomic analysis revealed taxonomic shifts including an increase in Akkermansia and a decrease in Proteobacteria. These changes were independent of age, weight, fat % as well as energy and fiber intake. Training slightly increased Jaccard distance of genus level β-diversity. Training did not alter the enriched metagenomic pathways, which, according to Bray Curtis dissimilarity analysis, may have been due to that only half of the subjects’ microbiomes responded considerably to exercise. Nevertheless, tranining decreased the abundance of several genes including those related to fructose and amino acid metabolism. These metagenomic changes, however, were not translated into major systemic metabolic changes as only two metabolites, phospholipids and cholesterol in large VLDL particles, decreased after exercise. Training also decreased the amine oxidase activity of pro-inflammatory VAP-1, whereas no changes in CRP were detected. All clinical blood variables were within normal range, yet exercise slightly increased glucose and decreased LDL and HDL. In conclusion, exercise training modified the gut microbiome without greatly affecting systemic metabolites or body composition. Based on our data and existing literature, we propose that especially Akkermansia and Proteobacteria are exercise-responsive taxa. Our results warrant the need for further studies in larger cohorts to determine whether exercise types other than endurance exercise also modify the gut metagenome.