Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Exercise May Spur More Varied Gut Microbes

In turn, that may boost immune system and overall health, researchers note

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise can increase the diversity of bacteria found in the gut, possibly boosting the immune system and improving long-term health, British researchers report.

High levels of dietary protein might have the same effect, according to their study, published June 9 in the journal Gut.

"Understanding the complex relationship among what we choose to eat, activity levels and gut microbiota richness is essential," Dr. Georgina Hold, of the Institute of Medical Sciences at Aberdeen University in Scotland, said in a journal news release.

"As life expectancy continues to increase, it is important that we understand how best to maintain good health. Never has this been more important than in respect of our resident [gut] microbiota," she added.

In conducting the study, the researchers examined the blood and stool samples of 40 professional rugby players in the middle of a rigorous training program. The athletes were chosen for the study because intense exercise regimens are often associated with extreme diets. The researchers used the samples collected from the men to determine the variety of bacteria in the players' guts.

The rugby players' samples were then compared to samples taken from 46 similar men who were healthy, but not athletes. Half of these men had a normal body-mass index (BMI) -- a measure that can help determine if someone is a normal weight for their height. The rest had a higher-than-normal BMI.

All of the men answered questions about 187 types of food, including how much of them they ate in the past four weeks and how often. The men were also asked about their typical levels of physical activity.

The study revealed the athletes had higher levels of a specific enzyme that signals muscle or tissue damage. These men also had lower levels of inflammatory markers and a better metabolic profile than the men in the "non-athlete" control group with a higher BMI.

The research doesn't prove, however, that their workouts and eating habits made the athletes healthier than the other men.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea