Exercise, Diet And Stress

As modulators of the Gut Microbiota

2 min read

The gut flora consists of a dynamic microbial system that is constantly challenged by many biological variables, including environmental factors, especially exercise, diet and stress.1

The impact of exercise on
the Gut Microbiota

Exercise has been proven to have positive effects on the microbiota, increasing its diversity and ensuring balance between beneficial and pathogenic bacterial communities

Exercising increases beneficial bacteria in our gut (such as butyrate producers) and accelerates the passage of stool, thus reducing the time in which pathogens can come in contact with the intestinal mucosa; this helps to decrease the action of these undesirable agents. The positive effects of exercise on gut health provide a better understanding of the benefits on overall health and quality of life that are boosted physiologically by exercising.

Beneficial effects of diet on Microbiota

Diet is a key factor in shaping the microbial communities in the gut.

A Mediterranean diet has been observed to have beneficial effects on the microbiota. This diet is characterized by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and complex carbohydrates, with moderate consumption of fish and olive oil as the main source of fat, and a low to moderate amount of red wine during meals. Subjects following the Mediterranean diet have more propionate and butyrate in their feces (beneficial substances, produced by intestinal bacteria during digestion) and thus have a better bacterial population than those following a Western diet.1

Stress and intestinal alteration

Stress can be classified as environmental, physical, and psychological. To various degrees, is present everywhere in daily life

Exposure to stressors has been shown to directly affect the composition of the gut microbiota and is therefore considered a promoter of dysbiosis, i.e., an imbalance in the composition or function of the microbiota. This can give rise to various physiological and behavioral responses, such as increased inflammation and impaired gut barrier function.1


  1. Gubert C, et al. Neurobiol Dis. 2020; 134:104621

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