Imbalanced gut microbes have proven to be a major contributor to chronic gut inflammatory diseases, like colon cancer. Interestingly, exercise has been observed to improve colon cancer patients’ quality of life, but generally the influence of exercise on intestinal health is poorly understood and even less is known about the underlying mechanisms that exercise may exert to promote gut health. Recently, it has been observed that exercise induces a diverse microbiome. This is an important observation, suggesting that some of the influence exercise has on systemic health may be through diversifying the gut microbiome. This review explored the symbiotic relationship between host behavior, through diet and exercise, by highlighting recent papers in the field. The major findings of exercise microbiome studies to date indicate that:
  1. exercise allows for maintenance of weight despite a high fat diet;
  2. exercise protects duodenal morphology in the presence of a high-fat diet;
  3. high-fat diets increased intestinal inflammation and exercise reduced it;
  4. exercise manifested a unique microbiome independent of diet;
  5. changes in the microbiome of athletes may be related to dietary protein content;
  6. exercise changes to the microbiome are more substantial in earlier life compared to later and
  7. exercise capacity may be dependent upon the presence of a diverse microbiome


Dr. Sara Campbell, FACSM is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She received her BS and MS degrees from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from Florida State University. Following her PhD, she completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship supported by the USDA. Dr. Campbell is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a member of the editorial board for several publications. Her research focuses on understanding how exercise can protect the intestine from inflammation and maintain epithelial cell integrity, as well as understanding how changes in the microbiome impact intestinal health and disease states.
Dr. Sara Campbell

Key Learning Points:

  • How exercise induces a diverse microbiome

  • How exercise affects gastrointestinal morphology and inflammation

  • How diet affects intestinal inflammation and changes microbiome

  • How microbiome affects exercise capacity

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© 2023 Taconic Biosciences, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Taconic Biosciences, Inc. All rights reserved.