Research: Increase Disire To Exercise With Gut Bacteria


Some of us love the gym and or movement and others dread the thought of it. Recent research is showing that, like most areas of brain activity, the part of the brain linked to motivation towards movement may be triggered by a specific species of Gut Microbes and may mean big things for the current obesity epidemic. 

A  study conducted by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania studied the running preformance of mice over the span of one year. The bacteria of the mice were also notated. 

They recorded the genome sequences, gut bacterial species, bloodstream metabolites, and other data as well as the daily voluentary wheel running observed.

The data was analyzed using machine learning, seeking attributes of the mice that could best explain the animals’ “sizeable inter-individual differences in running performance.” Suprizingly, genetics seemed to account for only a small portion of these performance differences—whereas differences in gut bacterial populations appeared to be substantially more important. In fact, researchers observed that giving mice broad-spectrum antibiotics to get rid of their gut bacteria reduced the mice’s running performance by about half.

“The study involved  more than a dozen separate laboratories at Penn and elsewhere, the researchers found that two bacterial species closely tied to better performance, Eubacterium rectale and Coprococcus eutactus, produce metabolites known as fatty acid amides (FAAs). The latter stimulate receptors called CB1 endocannabinoid receptors on gut-embedded sensory nerves, which connect to the brain via the spine. The stimulation of these CB1 receptor-studded nerves causes an increase in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine during exercise, in a brain region called the ventral striatum.

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

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