Friday, August 29, 2014

Exercise (Step #6) to Be Lean, Healthy, HAWWWT, Have a Great Gut and GUT MICROBIOTA; New Study on Spectacular Diversity, Health Markers, and Guts of Elite Irish Rugby Team

Exercise (Step #6)

Did you guys see how a new trial showed that the studly, elite rugby players on the national Irish team displayed awesome guts (and abs) while they were in training? I love this topic because not only does it raise many questions but it may answer what we inherently know/suspect about the interweaved relationship between good health and lifestyles/diet/exercise AND GUT HEALTH.

Exercise is Step #6 of the 7 Steps for optimal gut health and super bionic fiber combo (Versions B and A). I used to train and do 1/2 marathons and triathlons, and got very tired of defending my beloved chronic cardio to overweight HIIT purists. No joke. Hard to defend what is obviously ancestral. Our ancestors moved. A lot. They foraged and fought -- they fed their young and fortified their dwellings. They moved consistently often for hours. Genetically some (like apoE4) need to move much more than others perhaps. True also for the Pima Indians who have ancestral-type genetics but live in a discordant, modern, carb-heavy, sedentary ecology. See here, here and here.

New Elite Irish National Rugby Team Player Study:
Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity (free PDF)
Clarke et al. Gut. 2014 Jun 9.

According to the study, “The results provide evidence for a beneficial impact of exercise on gut microbiota diversity but also indicate that the relationship is complex and is related to accompanying dietary extremes.”

Science daily recap: The Irish rugby team has exceptional guts: Exercise and diet impact gut microbial diversity

Editorial by Georgina Hold: The gut microbiota, dietary extremes and exercise

Exercise and higher dietary protein related to better guts and statistically related to diversity (=better gut) and lower inflammatory biomarkers compared with controls. Very well done IMHO, though INFINITE confounders lol.

Many factors raise diversity which the researchers failed to address:
(1) exposure to dirt/soil organisms on the rugby fields (dirt can make you happier)
(2) contact with diverse other players' skin, spit, sweat, whatever is like how dogs and their owners share microbiota
(3) being outdoors and contact with environmental microorganisms (lower disease and atopy)
(4) genetic variants (selective for warrior genes, elite athleticism, super guts, lower inflammation, etc)

Here's a synopsis from the researchers:

What is already known about this subject?
▸ An altered gut microbiota composition has
been associated with a number of diseases and
syndromes, including obesity.
▸ We and others have shown the primacy of diet
in influencing the microbiota in obesity.
▸ Loss of gut microbiota diversity has been linked
to an increasing number of conditions such as
autism, GI diseases and obesity associated
inflammatory characteristics.
▸ Akkermansia muciniphilla abundance has been
shown to inversely correlate with obesity and
associated metabolic disorders.

What are the new findings?
▸ This is the first report that exercise increases
gut microbial diversity in humans.
▸ Protein consumption positively correlates with
microbial diversity (correlation coefficients
▸ The athletes in the low body mass index (BMI)
group had significantly higher proportions of
the genus Akkermansia levels compared with
the high BMI group.

How might it impact on clinical practice in
the foreseeable future?

▸ Our findings indicate that exercise is another
important factor in the relationship between
the microbiota, host immunity and host
metabolism, with diet playing an important
role. Further, intervention-based studies to
tease apart this relationship will be important
and provide further insights into optimal
therapies to influence the gut microbiota and
its relationship with health and disease

New Zealand Rugby Team

Spectacular Abs, Spectacular Gut Microbiota Diversity

The elite athletes had way more butyrate producers (Rumino, Clostridia, etc) and Akkermansia muciniphila compared with both high BMI and low BMI controls. These species found in higher abundance in the healthy athletes are also the same found in our lean ancestral core that I discussed earlier and how to achieve: Sorry. Resistant Starch is Unlikely to Miraculously Cause Weight Loss and Body Fat Loss

A. muciniphila is very unique making up 3-5% of fecal microbiota in healthy folks. IT LOWERS BODY FAT. The mechanisms are unknown but if A. muciniphila are fed to rodents, they lose body fat. If they are fed their favorite foods (oligofructose) then A. muciniphila populations are restored and weight loss in rodent models ensues. It is also associated with elevated endocanabinnoid concentrations and maintains healthy blood glucoses (maybe this is why pot causes lower glucose... thus 'munchies'?).

Unlike Resistant Starch, Oligofructose and Inulin-like Fructans Cause Miraculous Body Fat Loss and Weight Loss

Yes. Many fibers induce fat loss, but resistant starch is not one imho.

Inulin and oligofructose often areHumans and rodent model research.

It works for me. It's half of Version B of my super bionic fiber formula. Inulin and oligos are naturally found abundantly in onions, leeks (French stay skinny on leek soup), asparagus, sunchokes, etc. It's sweet tasting with little energy/calories for us but plentiful for the intestinal flora.

I believe it's body fat reducing characteristics are related to A. muciniphila and many of our co-evolved ancestral core microbiota which have co-adapted to eating the diverse spectrum of plant polysaccharides on Earth that we feed them (oligos, inulin, xylan, arabinoxylan, lignin, arabinogalactan, beta-glucan, hemicelluloses, pectin, glucomannan, etc). They have diversified above and beyond raw resistant starch. You don't need a lot. Oligofructose and inulin-like fructans are the second most abundant 'fiber' on the planet, found in over 36,000 plants in our global ecosystem in roots, tubers, legumes, leaves, grains, agave, cacti, and stems. Tiny amounts go a LOOOOONG way.

In humans, A. muciniphila is 'missing' in the gut fingerprint of obesity, T2 diabetes and IBD, to name just a few post-industrial conditions. When I look at a gut profile, what I see matches the studies; in obese/weight-challenged, A muciniphila is low. In lean, abundant.
"In the article that appeared on 13 May in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team concluded that the bacteria are less frequent in mice with induced obesity and with type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. Furthermore, administering rather indigestible fibres such as oligofructose, known for its advantageous effect on intestinal biota, resulted in a recovery of the Akkermansia population in mice. The presence of the bacteria strengthens the intestinal barrier and is also inversely correlated with weight increase (fat storage), inflammation reactions in fatty tissues and insulin resistance.

To check that, the researchers administered Akkermansia bacteria to ordinary mice on various diets. With a normal diet, no effect was noticed but in mice that became overweight as a result of a high-fat diet, the Akkermansia bacteria caused a reduction in fat development and associated metabolic defects, without affecting food intake. After the administration of Akkermansia bacteria, there was an increase in endocannabinoid levels, a substance that ensures blood glucose remains at the correct level. In addition, the intestinal barrier function was strengthened. Only intact, living bacteria produced these results; the researchers noticed that bacteria that had been heated beforehand had no effect." Sciencedaily

Back to Healthy, Elite Rugby Players With Spectacular Guts

The athletes were in training. They exercised, built lean muscle mass (biomarker: CK), burned fat, and consumed way more fiber (conventional) 39 g/day v 20-something g/day by controls. They ate vastly higher volumes of food in general (exceeding 4400 kcal/day) because they ate more starches/carbs + vegetables/fruit + MEAT.

They ate way way way more protein including whey protein from powders (sulfur source) than controls  (median 2.4 g/kg v. 1.1-1.6 g/day in controls) and protein intake was found to be directly related to healthier guts/diversity. I think dietary protein is awesome as long as we achieve enough fiber and exercise/oxygenation/lymph-circulation... Dietary protein is aligned to our carnivorous guts and ancestral history. Given however after mass microbial extinctions in our guts that are unparalleled in the history of mammals, we do not digest as well as our ancient predecessors. Suboptimal gut health is marked by poor gastric acid secretion (hence GERD/heartburn!), low elastase and other pancreatic enzyme secretion, loss of gall bladder function/stones, poor fecal pH, lack of gut microbial fermentation and small intestinal permeability/inflammation. We are missing our ancestral core bacteria, yeasts and wild spirochetes that keep us healthy and digestion smooth and unfettered.

Dietary protein consumption also correlated with muscle mass (CK). As you're probably aware muscle is a good biomarker for longevity (sarcopenia, less longevity -- please see Jamie Scott's AHS14 Presentation).

I like how this study by Clarke and his University College Cork colleagues put a framework to muscle, diet, exercise and gut health here. These guys were in intense conditioning for their sport... no junk or 'snacks' compared with controls. Diet was apparently clean and dialed for optimal glycolytics, POWER SPRINTS and chronic cardio. Only water polo players might give them a run for their money lol.
"The athletes are an exceptional group in terms of their dietary intake, fitness/endurance and now we know, in relation to their gut microbiota! This high diversity is particularly linked with exercise and protein consumption and suggests that eating specific proteins and/or exercise can provide a means of increasing microbial diversity in the gut.

This is the first report that exercise increases microbial diversity in humans. While we and others have previously shown that diet influences microbial diversity, we can now report that protein consumption, in particular, positively correlates with microbial diversity." Source

Other related news:
How exercise may affect gut hormones, weight loss


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the chances are that the increased biodiversity of these rugby players is due more to their hawwwt, sweaty, harrrrd bodies all intertwined and writhing and then showering together and then slapping each other's hawwwwt asses?

Dr. B G said...

I'll personally conduct or supervise the study and collect samples. For science's sake, many anatomical regions require close analysis.

Dr. B G said...

On a serious note, did you see their lean mass median 80 kg ???!!! Omg wtf 50% higher than sarcopenic controls.

Anonymous said...

If you need someone to hand you swabs or wipe the sweat from your forehead, I volunteer! WOW!

Dr. B G said...

Jo, you're in!! what sacrifices all in the name of WHOA NELLY SCIENCE

Anonymous said...

What I wouldn't give to get in the middle of that scrum!

My gut flora got better just looking at those studs.

I need a shower. A cold one...

Dr. B G said...


"My gut flora got better just looking at those studs." I think your intestinal microbes are speaking to you: they like the studs' intestinal microbes and may be sending microbial msgs. lol

I think that guy has been flapping on the flagpole for a long time. No thoughts, because every is due their opinion. The science doesn't back him up IMHO.

Anybody who promotes a one-dimensional angle on the gut is retarded. Do you know what I'm talking about? There will always be promoters and pimps out there. You can tell who there are. They don't evolve. They're loud, unselective in their rhetoric and no scientific integrity. When faced with contrarian data, they shovel it under the rug quietly.

SBOs have been around since the dawn of pro-mammals. What do you think?

Unknown said...

Great post again, Grace!

Not to detract from the feeding frenzy going on here:), but one thought that went through my head was the physiological effect of activity in a highly competitive environment. These periods of "survival" type exertion probably cause countless hormonal effects, that most people in today's society don't experience. Perhaps the sympathetic surge makes it easier to relax at down time, leading to more efficient digestion.

Dr. B G said...


Good to see you again! Back at med school?


There are gender differences but I concur with your thoughts. Definitely the survival mode and down turn from sympathetic surges to PSNS tone may improve digestion as well. Less pathogens? More beneficial symbionts? I think it is all interrelated. Have you heard of 'power poses' which raise T and lower cortisol in 2 minutes?

May you and your friend who attended give me some comprehensive criticism for my AHS14 talk? I'd really appreciate ur thoughts! All criticisms WELCOME!!

Dr. B G said...

We were also just discussing this chronic cardio paper on twitter (Bill Lagakos)

450 min walking at low-mod intensity lowers cortisol quite a bit (and fat burning). EPI stays low except pre-meal time. Would've loved to see female v male and anabolic hormone profiles too!

AWebb said...

Dr. BG,

I've been able to narrow my digestive issues down to problems with protein intake. High animal protein intake in a meal leads to gas and loose stools shortly after. Is there a specific kind of dysbiosis and gut fermentation related to animal protein? And appropriate solution (besides cutting back the protein in a meal)?

Anonymous said...

Athletic > more diverse biome or
more diverse biome > athletic?

On a separate note anyone know any commercial sources of Akkermansia muciniphila?


Dr. B G said...


More studies def are needed -- pre-athletic program and post + diet/lifestyles

No commercial source yet that I'm aware of. If you hear of one, would love to see!

Carnivorous guts need a ton of acid to break down meat and induce activation of the pepsin in the stomach. What are your thoughts on kombucha, diluted natural vinegar or Betaine HCl for aiding digestion?

AWebb said...

Dr. BG,

I think that might be my problem. I take Designs for Health Digestive Enzymes, but I only take a single recommended dose, no matter the meal. I will try upping the dose/modulating dosage depending on how heavy the protein intake is and see if that fixes it. THANK YOU

Unknown said...

Low Akkermansia is reduced in ulcerative colitis, so very interesting to learn it's abundant in healthy athletes and that its favorite food is oligofructose:

Also, very interesting to learn Akkermansia raises endocannabinoids. Now that's hot. Actually, pot raises cortisol leading to improved blood sugar control. It's the endocannabinoid system responsible for the munchies, specifically the "bliss molecule", anandamide, which controls appetite.

Brace yourself to consider how our microbes stimulate release of our endogenous cannabinoids because it's a mouthful. This study used genetically modified E. coli to produce NAPE. Anandamide is formed from lipids during enzymatic reaction of NAPE to form NAE. Anandamide is a type of NAE and other types of NAE also control food intake in the hypothalamus, a gut-brain phenomenon.
"New study shows therapeutic bacteria prevent obesity in mice"

Thank you, Dr. BG! What's your favorite form of oligofructose, both food and supplement?

From Palm Beach County With Love.

Anonymous said...

Grace, Have you watched the two videos from Australia on the Catalyst show?

Dr. B G said...


THx for your mind blowing hawwwtness and deep phat brain ;)

Favorite oligoF is root vegetables
--this roasted dandy drink (dandelion root, chicory, rye/barley but gluten free)
--inulin (because if you have the right bugs, broken down into oligoF)
--onion/leek soups or onions with liver YUMMM!

NOt sure about the GMO e coli! but NAPE and anandamide are now on my radar. BLISS BUGS, luv that though! UR DA BEST

Is that the CSIRO productions? Yes caught a whiff, the media is surely catching on to what we've known now for some time. RS3 from cooked tubers since our ancestors started roast 1.8 mya is part of our DNA. RS3 feeds a vast # more intestinal flora than RS2, plus the carbs with RS3 provide energy for the blood sugars/fat synthesis (if carb tolerant enuf).

What do you think of the Catalyst shows? Thx!

Dr. B G said...


Actually I liked part 2 a lot!


And they end with "Using food as thy medicine is so simple yet so powerful... and open to all of us to put into practice."

AND THEY TALKED ABOUT POOP (coprophilic pets and animals LOL)

Unknown said...

Do you think it could be the sulfur content of a high protein diet leads to greater microbial diversity? Dr. BG mentions whey powder as sulfur source.

Akkermansia is a mucin degrader where mucin/mucus is made of sulfur. I've read MSM sulfur helps build the gut lining after months of use, making it slippery so pathogens including helminths (worms) can't adhere.

Lots of microbes utilize sulfur, perhaps leading to deficiency and/or too much microbial hydrogen sulfide wreaking havoc:

Surprisingly, Akkermansia is found relatively high in autism, yet sulfur is found low in autism and urinary excretion of sulfur is higher than normal. Since sulfur antifungal, it's not surprising autistic children suffer high yeast.

Anonymous said...

I watched part 2 before part 1, not sure why but I got more out of part 2 as well. I was surprised to see that the nutritionist who prepared the meals for Gideon didn't use sweet potatoes or white potatoes. She concentrated on brown rice and legumes. Also, she said canned legumes were fine when they were at the grocery store. Maybe that was to make it easier for him. Yeah, the poop thing fascinates, but is it just because we are Moms?

Dr. B G said...

Hey Hotness

You mean coz we're smart moms? Who track and match biomarkers to well being, happiness and health for our kidz and those around us?? lol


NSP fiber is all 'conventional' fiber other than resistant starch. I wrote this a year ago!

Legumes, lentils and whole grains (I like gluten free) are fantastic reservoirs of NSP fiber, so synergistically RS and NSP in these bundles of plant 'babies' serve both host and gut inhabitants very well. Plus we get some carbs to fuel glycolytic activity (um, yeah, brain activity is a good thing).

Low glycemic index characterizes these foods as well -- GI < 50 is good, meaning they won't spike BG (blood glucoses) too high, rather they are slowly released while they are in the stomach and small intestines.

Sw potatoes and white potatoes don't have nearly as much NSP. For the american Russet, the GI is actually higher than table sugar > 100. An heirloom roasted potato at room temp has GI < 60.

Low GI means high fiber/RS (excl fructose, HFCS).

Dr. B G said...


wonderful points made!!! thx!

Do you think the Akkermansia has invaded the SI (small intestines) where they are foreigners, not belonging there???

Morbid obesity esp those with fatty liver/NASH all have high Lacto -- and it's all in the SI.

Sabaté JM, Jouët P, Harnois F, Mechler C, Msika S, Grossin M, Coffin B. High prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with morbid obesity: a contributor to severe hepatic steatosis. Obes Surg. 2008;18:371–377.

Dr. B G said...


You might enjoy and appreciate -- autism also has high propionic acid which can combine with fungal/microbial ammonia (as I'm sure you're aware). The end product apparently is GABA-like molecule (beta-alanine).

Med Hypotheses. 2012 Dec;79(6):784-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.08.029. Epub 2012 Sep 26.
A biochemical rationale for the interaction between gastrointestinal yeast and autism.
Burrus CJ.
Author information
Autism is a disorder characterized by difficulty with social interactions, difficulty expressing empathy and intimacy and, in many cases, mild to severe language and learning deficits. Current estimates suggest autism now affects approximately one in 88 children, with rates increasing rapidly, making autism one of the most common and devastating developmental disorders. This trend is especially alarming considering that a cause for this disorder has yet to be discovered, nor are there successful biological treatments. Here a possible biochemical etiology is proposed for a certain spectrum of autism based on a reaction between propionic acid and ammonia released by Candida albicans in the gastrointestinal tract. A reaction between ammonia and propionic acid should result in the production of beta-alanine, a chemical similar in composition to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter which has been shown to be present in higher quantities in autistic patients. Assuming beta-alanine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, beta-alanine would be used in the brain as a partial antagonist, blocking the receptor sites for GABA, thus facilitating the production of more GABA to achieve equilibrium. An excess of GABA has been proposed as a possible contributor to autism. Further research should be conducted with this hypothesis to determine whether the chemical reaction in the human body between propionic acid and ammonia does in fact produce a chemical structurally and functionally similar to beta-alanine, as well as how this product affects the brain. Positive conclusions from this follow-on research could result in a preventative screening test for sensitivity to propionic acid and gastrointestinal yeast, thus slowing the progression of this type of autism. A more targeted treatment for children already diagnosed with autism could also result.

Unknown said...

Dr. BG, that's sounds very possible about Akkermansia in the small intestine. It's gram-negative which is known overgrown in SIBO and ulcerative colitis. Similarly, C. diff was once thought to be a large intestine problem, but that's no longer the case.

That's a pretty way out there theory about propionic combined with ammonia, but maybe it's true considering high yeast and high sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). I'd want to research beta-alanine. said...

Taking into account the major role gut microbiota plays in the normal functioning of the body and the different functions it accomplishes, experts nowadays consider it as an “organ”.Great post!

Laney said...

Specifically as regards rugby players, there is at least one (rather, two) simple angles that work FOR diversity:

a) DIRT. SBOs or whatever. These guys hit the face in the ground a lot, and eat a lot of dirt. Regularly.

b) It takes just viewing a single match to see that sweat and spit *has* to be regularly and plentifully exchanged between players, within the team (training) and between teams (actual games).

I'd like to see id the same analysis has been carried out to a contactless but similarly intensive sport (admittedly, tough luck on the 'similarly')..

Dr. B G said...


Very right on!! ;)

I tried to acknowledge some of these factors but do they seriously really eat that much spit and sweat???! even skin-to-skin contact will work I guess lol

thx for your thoughts and investigational research proposals! I'M ON IT~!!!!!

I've gotten so many human RCT study proposals from this post ahaha ah, you guys keep me busy