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Gut microbes may increase motivation to exercise

Gut microbes may increase motivation to exercise

The Playing sports It has a wide range of beneficial health effects, but the motivation-regulating mechanisms behind it are still poorly understood. Currently, A new study on mice He asserts that gut microbes can increase this craving.

consequences Investigationled by scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (United States of America), it was published on Wednesday in nature.

An important factor motivating both competitive and recreational exercise the stimulating pleasure derived from prolonged physical activity, It is triggered by exercise-induced neurochemical changes in the brain.

This article describes a Gut connection Which improves athletic performance by increasing dopamine neurotransmitter signaling during physical activity.

The scientists found that the differences in running performance within a large group of lab rats were largely due to running Presence of certain types of bacteria The intestines of those animals are of high performance.

“If we can confirm that a similar pathway exists in humans, we may offer an effective way to increase people’s exercise levels to Improving public health in general. Lead author Christoph Theiss summarizes.

More than genetics

Search factors that determine performance In the exercise, the team recorded genome sequences, types of gut bacteria, bloodstream metabolites, and other data from genetically diverse mice.

Then they measured The amount of voluntary daily work In the wheel made by animals and their resistance.

They analyzed the data using machine learning, Searching for rat traits that could best explain the significant interindividual differences in running performance.

The team was surprised to find that genetics seemed to explain only a small part of these differences in performance Inequality in bacterial populations The gut seems to be far more important, explains a statement from the University of Pennsylvania.

In fact, they found that giving mice broad-spectrum antibiotics killed gut bacteria lowered its performance in the race for the half.

Extra dopamine

Researchers have found that two closely related bacteria perform better, “Eubacterium rectale” and “Coprococcus eutactus”, Production of metabolites known as amides of fatty acids.

The latter stimulates receptors called CB1 endocannabinoids on sensory neurons in the gut, which Connect with the brain through the spinal cord.

This stimulus causes a Increased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine During exercise, in an area of ​​the brain called the striatum.

The striatum is a critical node in the brain’s reward and motivation network. The researchers concluded that extra dopamine is in this region during exercise It increases performance by enhancing the desire to exercise.

The findings open up new avenues for scientific research, according to the authors.

For example, experiments have shown that the best-performing rats saw A “runner high” More intense—measured in this case by reduced sensitivity to pain—suggesting that this phenomenon is also controlled, at least in part, by intestinal bacteria.

In addition to providing the possibility of cheap and safe and Diet based To get ordinary people running and to improve the performance of elite athletes, exploration of this pathway could also provide easier ways to modify motivation and mood in contexts such as Addiction and depression Details of J. Nicholas Betley, another of the signatories.

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