"Belly" athletes: the secret of performance is in the intestine?
30/08/2017 - In the stools of particular athletes, bacteria help to break down lactic acid and thus fight fatigue.
Intestinal bacteria are at the center of a huge multitude of studies: we understand that they have an influence on everything from obesity to depression, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. But as they have the power to make us feel bad, they can make us feel good: help us to shape, improve the tone of our mood, help to cure serious illnesses. Nowadays, the exasperated potentials of our tenants add one that has to do with sport. In a study on a group of athletes presented at the American Chemical Society's latest meeting by Jonathan Scheiman of Harvard Medical School, it turns out that some bacteria can help athletic performance.
"When we started thinking about it, I was asked if we could use genomics to predict who's next Michael Jordan," Scheiman explains. "But there's a better question: Can you pull Jordan's biology and transfer it to others to help build the next Michael Jordan?" To answer this question the microbes seemed like a good starting point.
"We are more bacteria than we are human," says Scheiman, a post-doctoral researcher at George Church, Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School. "The bacteria in our intestine affect our energy metabolism, making it easier to disintegrate carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers, and are also involved in inflammation and neurologic function, so maybe the microbioma may be relevant for applications that require resistance, recovery, and perhaps even Mental strength ".
As a first step towards identifying bacteria that aid athletic performance, researchers collected on a daily basis fecal samples from 20 athletes who were training for the Boston marathon a week earlier and a week after the race. "We followed athletes longitudinally to capture how the microbial between performance and recovery changes."
Let down fatigue
Scheiman and colleagues sequenced the bacterial DNA. Comparing the samples before and after the marathon, they found a spike in a particular strain after the race. "The natural function of this bacterium is to decompose lactic acid," Scheiman explained. Lactic acid is produced by the body in intense exercise and causes muscle fatigue and pain. Scheiman suggests that these bacteria could help the body eliminate it.
His team is now transferring these bacteria to mice to measure their effects on fatigue and lactic acid levels. The goal would be to develop a probiotic supplement to help athletes, amateurs and professionals, recover from difficult workouts, or transform nutrients into energy.
Every sport has its own bacterium
In another set of experiments, the researchers compared the ultramaratonet bacteria with those found in the Olympic training tankers. They found a type of bacteria in ultramaratonets that can help break down carbohydrates and fiber - essential during a 100 mile race - which is not present in the cannons, suggesting that different sports can promote niche microbes.
With Fitbiomics, Scheimam hopes to be able to launch a new probiotic on the market. "But in parallel, we are also widening our elite athlete's cohort in numerous sports to generate more microbial data and a bank of new probable logs. In essence, we are exploring biology of the most healthy and healthy people World and then extracting those information to help them and others. " While anatomy and training play a major role in the performance of high-level athletes, intestinal bacteria may help to give them a boost.