The human digestive tract is home to an ecosystem packed with trillions of microbes, which change dynamically over an individual’s lifetime and are associated with numerous diseases and general health. Recently, the University of Colorado Boulder scientists have revealed that exercise early in life might shift the gut microbiome communities to a healthier long-term state, encouraging brain function and high metabolism throughout life.
This novel research, recently published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology, hints early human development may offer more opportunities to improve lifelong health.
Previous knowledge tells us that exercise affects health, namely metabolic and mental health. However, our understanding about our gut microbes is far from complete. In addition, the plasticity of gut microbes is a novel concept.
Development of the microbiome begins after birth (or as new research suggests, in the womb), which is essential for the immune system and various neural functions. Researchers found evidence that gut microbes are particularly flexible at young ages, while as adults, our bacterial communities remain somewhat fixed, and it is much more difficult to influence change. No exact age has been identified, but evidence suggests that earlier in life might have a more dramatic effect.
Agnieszka Mika, Monika Fleshner. Early life exercise may promote lasting brain and metabolic health through gut bacterial metabolites. Immunology and Cell Biology, 2015; DOI:10.1038/icb.2015.113
"Gut Microbiome Influenced by Early-Life Exercise." GEN. December 30, 2015. http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/gut-microbiome-influenced-by-early-life-exercise/81252160/.