microbiome, marathon runners, diabetes, chronic illness

Scientists Discover Special Bacteria in Gut of Marathon Runners

Ever wonder how marathon runners can keep going for so long? Scientists may have found a reason in their gut microbiome. 

The body is an amazing thing. Turns out the microbiome might be more important to overall health than we think. What’s more, the gut’s microbiome can change based on how athletic one is. 

The microbiome is defined as the microorganisms in a particular environment, or the combined genetic makeup of these microorganisms. In this case, it refers to the gut, whose microbes can change depending on diet, exercise, stress, and a variety of factors. 

Harvard Medical School study

Marathon runners have a special bacteria present in their guts that forms a symbiotic relationship with their body. A study at Harvard Medical School published in Nature Medicine found that a bacteria called Veillonella was present in the guts of Boston Marathon runners, but not in those who were sedentary. 

The special bacteria uses lactic acid made by muscles during exercise to make propionate, which it then uses to help the body exercise harder and longer.


Implications for a new supplement

“Having increased exercise capacity is a strong predictor of overall health and protection against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and overall longevity,” said Dr. Aleksandar Kostic, a researcher at Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School.

Scientists are looking into how this discovery could be honed into making a probiotic supplement that could help people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses exercise with more intensity and for longer periods of time. The process of honing the probiotic will take extensive testing.