โ€˜An ecological perspectiveโ€™ is needed to optimise cyclistsโ€™ gut health: Study

The researchers from Spain recruited 16 professional cyclists competing in the Vuelta a Espaรฑa, a 3,290.7 kmย Grand Tourย cycling stage race that took place in Spain,ย Andorra, and France from Aug. 24 to Sept. 15 2019.

Based on the assessment of dietary intake and faecal samples throughout the three-week race, the study concluded that changes in gut microbiota composition, which were influenced by carbohydrate (CHO) intake, correlated adversely with performance.

“The composition and periodization of supplementation during a Grand Tour, particularly carbohydrates, could be designed to modulate gut microbiota composition to allow better performance,” the researchers wrote in the journalย Nutrientsโ€‹.

“Future strategies to enhance the performance of high-level athletes could include the selective growth of specific targeted bacterial taxa usingย ร  la carteโ€‹ย prebiotics instead of the current ineffective probiotic supplementation, which usually cannot maintain stable populations in the gut ecosystem.”

Athletes’ gut healthโ€‹

Grand tours involve repeated and continuous days of competition,ย entailing extreme physiological and metabolic demandsโ€‹ย and responses, components of exercise that have been identified as factors that canย modify the diversityโ€‹ย and abundance of certain bacterial groups.

Research suggests that gut microbiota composition and metabolic activityย directly influence physical performanceโ€‹, and there is an increasing interest in the potential of sports supplements to enhance performance byย modulating gut microbiota compositionโ€‹ย and metabolic activity.



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