health brief

Exercise Boosts Good Gut Bacteria

Even Without Dietary Changes

Exercise Boosts Good Gut Bacteria, Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Cardiovascular exercise improves a person’s healthy gut microbes even without making dietary changes, University of Illinois researchers report.

In a study of 32 people, 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three times a week for six weeks boosted levels of healthy intestinal bacteria, especially for lean subjects, and less so for the obese. The healthy bacteria produced short-chain fatty acids that reduce the risk of colon cancer.

“The bottom line is that there are clear differences in how the microbiome of somebody who is obese versus somebody who is lean responds to exercise,” says Jeffrey Woods, Ph.D., a kinesiology professor at the university.

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