Is athletic performance determined by your intestinal microbiota?

Is the intestinal microbiota involved in injury and athletic performance? This is the question asked in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which researchers intend to answer. They based their hypothesis on several observations:

  • The intestinal microbiota, through the immune system, is involved in various allergies including asthma, a common problem in athletes. It also regulates bone mass and can be involved in fractures and osteoporosis.
  • An imbalance of the microbiota (dysbiosis) appears to occur in overtraining or burnout syndromes, such as after periods of physical or psychological stress.
  • Chronic tendinitis is more common in people with metabolic disorders (diabetes, dyslipidemia), associated with dysbiosis.

Consequently, the intestinal microbiota of the athlete could be used as a marker of their physical and mental health, and to serve as a therapeutic target for management in the event of disease.

 

Sources:

Rankin A. et al. 'Microbes in sport' -The potential role of the gut microbiota in athlete health and performance. Br J Sports Med. 2017 May;51(9):698-699. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/9/698.long