Intense Exercise Disrupts Gut Bacteria and Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome

Volume 14    |   Issue 26

When it comes to exercise, we often think that more is better. But this isn't always the case, particularly when it comes to intense workouts. Too much exercise can actually damage your health — and not just by exhausting you or making you more vulnerable to injuries.

If you've ever needed to run to the bathroom in distress after a particularly tough workout, you may understand this, though the reason may still surprise you. It turns out that too much intense exercise may actually disrupt your gut microbiota.

In fact, it appears excess exercise may contribute to "leaky gut syndrome." In leaky gut, the intestinal walls become permeable, allowing harmful substances into our bodies. This happens in part because we don't have the right quantities or qualities of bacteria to act as security. Good bacteria recognize what should and should not be allowed through the intestinal wall and into the body.

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There are a number of factors that can contribute to leaky guy syndrome. And new research is showing that prolonged intense exercise may be one of them. This study focused on 73 soldiers in the Norwegian Army who participated in a cross-country skiing program. Over the course of four days, the soldiers skied 31 miles while carrying 99-pound packs. Researchers evaluated blood and stool samples before and after the training program, and they found some significant differences in their microbiomes. They also identified higher levels of sucralose excretion after the training, indicating that the soldiers' intestinal permeability had increased.

One weakness of this study is that it didn't define what intense exercise is. So it's difficult to know how this directly affects each person. The athletes in this study exercised heavily on a regular basis. For someone who doesn't exercise as hard or as often, intense exercise might be something considerably easier than what these athlete do. This study doesn't answer how this type of "intense" exercise will impact you. Other studies suggest intense exercise can be beneficial. 

However, if your gut is in distress, it can take a toll on the body. So if you notice you're having bowel problems and you exercise intensely, then you might want to lighten your workout until you get your gut back into shape. You also can protect yourself at least partially with a good probiotic, such as Advanced Probiotic Formula. In fact, even if you aren't exerting yourself at maximum capacity, Advanced Probiotic Formula will help to "reset" your gut on a daily basis. Most of us need some reinforcements for the "good guys" in our guts.

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