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The athlete and gut microbiome: short-chain fatty acids as potential ergogenic aids for exercise and training

journal contribution
posted on 17.08.2021, 11:40 by Tindaro Bongiovanni, Marilyn Ong Li Yin, Liam HeaneyLiam Heaney
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are metabolites produced in the gut via microbial fermentation of dietary fibers referred to as microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs). Acetate, propionate, and butyrate, have been observed to regulate host dietary nutrient metabolism, energy balance, and local and systemic immune functions. In vitro and in vivo experiments have shown links between the presence of bacteria-derived SCFAs and host health through the blunting of inflammatory processes, as well as purported protection from the development of illness associated with respiratory infections. This bank of evidence suggests that SCFAs could be beneficial to enhance the athlete’s immunity, as well as act to improve exercise recovery via anti-inflammatory activity and to provide additional energy substrates for exercise performance. However, the mechanistic basis and applied evidence for these relationships in humans have yet to be fully established. In this narrative review, we explore the existing knowledge of SCFAs synthesis and the functional importance of the gut microbiome composition to induce SCFAs production. Further, changes in gut microbiota associated with exercise and various dietary MACs are described. Finally, we provide suggestions for future research and practical applications, including how these metabolites could be manipulated through dietary fiber intake to optimize immunity and energy metabolism.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

International Journal of Sports Medicine

Publisher

Georg Thieme Verlag

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Thieme

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Sports Medicine and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1524-2095.

Acceptance date

26/05/2021

Publication date

2021-07-13

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0172-4622

eISSN

1439-3964

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Liam Heaney. Deposit date: 26 May 2021