The experts from Bimuno® are here to explain how looking after your gut microbiome could give your fitness a helping hand…
When you think of improving your fitness, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are, optimising your gut bacteria isn’t it.
But we all want to perform at our best, and the gut could play a large role in our ability. So, if you’re new to working out or getting back to it after taking some time off, gut health could be one component which could affect performance and is worth considering if it’s an area of your health you could optimise.
What is the gut microbiome?
Inside our gut lives an entire ecosystem of trillions of bacteria and microbes called the gut microbiome. Thousands of different species of microbes co-exist in our gut.
This network is responsible for many vital functions, including vitamin, enzyme and serotonin production, and a healthy microbiome is needed to complete conversion processes like breaking down dietary fibre into small organic fragments – like glucose, amino acids or fatty acids – and passing these vital nutrients into the bloodstream.
The relationship between exercise and gut health:
Exercise can lead to important changes that help gut microbes produce short-chain fatty acids (butyrate, acetate, and propionate) that can be utilised for fuel, as well as moderating your inflammatory response. Regular exercise supports this process, increasing the diversity of microbial species in the gut and encouraging beneficial bacteria to flourish.
There are some telltale signs your digestion could require some support. Excess gas? Abdominal discomfort or pain? Bloating? Burping? Changes in poo? (yep, you read that last one right, and it’s worth keeping an eye on).
Moderate-intensity exercise can promote gut motility (movement), support gas clearance, and enhance the diversity of the gut microbiome. Increasing microbial diversity through exercise increases the amount of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), specifically butyrate, produced by beneficial bacteria and the types of bacteria correlated to lean muscle mass. Adequate butyrate production is crucial for a healthy gut and may also decrease inflammation.
Can exercise worsen gut issues?
As exercise intensity and duration increase from moderate to intense, so does the incidence of gut symptoms like bloating, cramps and diarrhoea. Exercise directs blood flow away from the gut to the working muscles and skin, and this increases along with exercise intensity. With all-out effort, gut blood flow can be reduced by as much as 80%, which may lead to abdominal cramps, sickness and diarrhoea.
The type of exercise can also influence gut health. Running is one of the toughest forms of exercise on the gut, with the stress response from the body resulting in a cascading effect on your hormones, changes in blood flow and the repetitive jostling triggers a range of symptoms – most notably an urgency to poop. Conversely, cyclists may experience more symptoms in the upper gut, and yoga or Pilates can help get you out of fight, flight or freeze mode and into rest and digestion, which is crucial for keeping your gut happy.
How to support your gut microbiome (and improve your fitness!)
But just as simple lifestyle choices can alter our gut microbes, so can we make choices that will help them flourish. Eating a diverse diet of more than 30 plant foods per week can help. Exercising over an hour requires a steady carbohydrate and fluid intake to maintain performance, but delivering these to the working muscles depends on the gut.
Thanks to sports scientists, we now know that the answer is in ‘training the gut’. That is to say that the gut can be ‘trained’ to get used to digesting and absorbing high intake of carbohydrates and fluid during exercise, reducing symptoms of gut distress.
If you have a healthy gut, you may feel more energetic, get sick less often, and have better emotional clarity and mental wellbeing. And the good news is, it’s never too late to improve the health of your gut.
Athletes have more health-promoting bacterial species and increased bacterial richness. Aside from your microbes, exercise also helps to keep your gut moving. Good gut bacteria can be just as important for your workout as any other part of your fitness plan, because they can support you in everything from weight management to workout stamina.
Ideally, we’d be able to maintain a healthy gut microbiome just by eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods and moving regularly. But let’s be honest – this is almost always easier said than done, especially considering how hectic our lives can be. Thankfully, that’s where Bimuno® comes in.
Try Bimuno® to support your gut microbiome
Prebiotics feed beneficial bacteria and can be found naturally occurring in a wide array of plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, and are also present in some grains, pulses, nuts, and seeds. They can also be found in concentrated amounts through prebiotic supplements, such as Bimuno® Original, and that’s why this 44p-a-day daily supplement is increasingly found in gym bags across the globe.
Diets high in protein may be detrimental to gut microbiota diversity in athletes and gymgoers, and taking just 20g of protein supplements can actually reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Bimuno® Original, the result of 20 years of scientific research and recommended for daily use, contains 3.65g of high in fibre, taste-free soluble powder in each daily sachet that you can slip nicely into your morning refreshment or even sprinkle over your cereal.
Better still, it contains a proprietary form of galactooligosaccharides derived from lactose, which helps feed and stimulate the growth of ‘good guy’ bacteria called bifidobacteria that naturally reside in your gut, with most people reporting results in 7 days*.
That’s why fitness fanatics have all been adding it to their health routine – to help to get their gut health into gear. And don’t just take our word for it; Bimuno® is rated ‘Excellent’ from over 3,000 independent reviews on Trustpilot.
So, the next time you are lying on the sofa, feeling sluggish and not sure why, listen to your gut.
Listen to your gut
Your gut is much more than a depository for your last meal. A healthy gut can improve digestion, increase energy levels, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, a healthy gut can support your immune system, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and promote better mood and mental clarity, all of which are important for busy women who must stay focused and productive.
*Scientific data shows that daily use of Bimuno® increases gut bifidobacteria levels within 7 days, results may vary.