It is well known that reduced gut bacterial diversity is the critical aspect of the microbiome that has been associated with human disease. A new study explores another aspect to supporting your microbiome.
This concept of the lack of gut bacterial diversity has been implicated in many disease conditions, such as, diabetes, cancer, autoimmunity and other inflammatory conditions.
Conversely, a more diverse microbiome is becoming a marker for better human health.
Studies have shown that cultures which nurture their gut bacteria with ancestral foods (such as the Hunza) host a much greater diversity of intestinal bacteria than people in the western world, where refined and processed foods are common fare.
Cardiovascular Exercise is Another Way to Support Gut Bacteria
A new study published in the journal Microbiome suggests that having a good level of cardiorespiratory fitness supports good gut diversity – something that seems to be a no-brainer, but here we have some science to back it up.
Researchers measured peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) which is the gold standard for cardiorespiratory fitness. They studied 41 healthy males and female adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who had varied fitness levels and comparable diets. They excluded those who had been on antibiotics within the previous 6 months.
The researchers analyzed the fecal microbiota of these individuals in order to study:
- Taxonomical richness of the microbiome in relationship to cardiorespiratory fitness
- Abundance of particular taxa in relationship to cardiorespiratory fitness
- Functional aspects of the microbiome in relationship to cardiorespiratory fitness
The researchers found that cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2 peak) correlates with increased microbial diversity.
If you scroll down to page 6 of the study, you will see a chart that shows that as the richness of the microbiome increases, the VO2 peak of the subjects also increase.
What I find most interesting about this study, is that here we have some science confirming, in a seemingly unrelated body system – the cardiovascular system – that healthy and diverse gut bacteria contribute to good health.
The more studies we have of this phenomenon, the greater our understanding of something alternative practitioners have been saying for years – the body is a whole and has to be treated in a holistic manner because every body system is connected.
LPS Marker Studied
The researchers also measured LPS which is an important marker of inflammation. They found that VO2 peak was inversely correlated with LPS synthesis (which corresponds with previous research).
In other words, the higher the VO2 peak – greater level of fitness – the lower the LPS – a good thing.
They also measured butyrate, a short chain fatty acid critical to good bowel health and they found that it was higher in those with the highest VO2 (respiratory fitness).
Find out more about health promoting buyrate here.
Interestingly, they also studied protein diets on the relationship – and concluded that dietary protein moderates microbial community composition.
Hmmm. Now there is a subject for further study.
In conclusion, higher levels of respiratory fitness correlated with microbiola diversity, lower LPS and higher butyrate levels.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that pursuing cardiovascular fitness will automatically increase gut diversity. However, the study does show a relationship between cardiovascular fitness and three markers of good health:
- Microbial diversity
- Low LPS
- High butyrate
Cardiorespiratory Fitness Is the Best Predictor of Mortality and Gut Diversity
Mortality prediction is typically based on risk factors such as smoking, diabetes and hypertension. However, the results from this study suggest that cardiorespiratoy fitness is a better predictor of mortality.
Additionally, it has now been shown to also be a good predictor of microbiome diversity – outperforming sex, age, BMI and dietary components.
Having a Healthy Lifestyle Supports Gut Bacteria
In our western world, it is clear, that people who go out of their way to eat real, nourishing foods are healthier than those who eat processed and packaged foods.
Additionally these folks can actually recover from serious chronic illness when following a healing diet.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits Include:
- Getting enough good sleep (get the guide to good sleep here)
- Drinking clean water (find out how tap water may fuel allergies)
- Avoiding chemicals in personal care products and home cleaning products
- Avoiding medications (like antibiotics) that kill off gut bacteria
- Avoiding negative lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
How is your cardiorespiratory fitness? Do you think it correlates with your level of health?
Get the Most Current Information about the Microbiome
Are you as fascinated by the microbiome as I am? Are you hoping for a cure through this new research explosion?
Check out my newest ebook, Heal Your Microbiome Optimize Your Health – on sale today!
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