Physical Activity Early in Life Benefits the Brain and Metabolism: Study

Physical Activity Early in Life Benefits the Brain and Metabolism: Study

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 5 Jan 2016 - 14:27


A physically active life involving exercises everyday right from your childhood can do wonders for your health in the long term says a study. Regular exercising alters over a 100 trillion micro-organisms present in the gut, which eventually promotes healthier metabolic activity and brain health over time.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder stress on the need to start exercising at an early age, to enhance overall health in the future years. Study author, Monika Fleshner, a professor in CU-Boulder's Department of Integrative Physiology says, "Exercise affects many aspects of health, both metabolic and mental, and people are only now starting to look at the plasticity of these gut microbes. That is one of the novel aspects of this research."

Soon after birth, these trillions of micro-organisms start residing in human intestines  and play an important role in the various neural functions and building up of the immune system. These microbes impart nearly 5 million genes to an individual’s overall genetic profile and hence possess extraordinary power to regulate aspects of human physiology.

Although these different microbes are found throughout adult life, it is affected by environmental factors like changes in diet and sleeping patterns. In the study, researchers have discovered that gut microorganisms are especially elastic during youth

Study Findings: Researchers discovered that immature rats who voluntarily exercised regularly, developed a healthier microbial structure and also expanded the pro-biotic bacterial species in their gut as compared to inactive and adult rats (even when the adult rats exercised). However, the team has not yet indicated the correct age when the gut microbe community is liable to change, but recent findings suggest the earlier, the better.

Fleshner says that a healthy microbial community also seems to boost healthy brain function and offer anti-depressant effects.

Senior author of the study, Agniezka Mika, a graduate researcher in CU-Boulder's Department of Integrative Physiology said, "Future research on this microbial ecosystem will hone in on how these microbes influence brain function in a long-lasting way”

In the future, researchers hope to search for new ways to boost positive gut microbe plasticity in adults.


Reference: Early life exercise may promote lasting brain and metabolic health through gut bacterial metabolites, Agnieszka Mika, and Monika Fleshner, Immunology and Cell Biology, doi: 10.1038/icb.2015.113, published online 9 December 2015;  University of Colorado Boulder


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