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Gut health and muscle strength. Could this help to prevent ageing?

For those of you who don't know me, I am on a personal and professional quest to optimise my health and get as strong as possible, and in so doing I am looking to help my patients do the same.


As a Chartered Physiotherapist, an athlete and a career in professional sport, I have watched my own ageing process as well as the ageing process of thousands of patients.

I am keen to understand what I can so personally and professionally to optimise muscle strength and prevent frailty.


As part of this quest I focus on my sleep, my eating, my thinking and my exercise and I encourage my patients to do the same.


So this week's adventure was all about going to listen to the brilliant @timspector and @dansaladino talk about the Future of Food

@timspector was promoting his amazing new book which is definitely worth reading called Food for Life and @dansaldino was promoting his book Eating to Extinction. This was a truly inspirational talk and made me want to go and live with the Hadza who apparently have the most robust and diverse gut biome.


And here are my takeaways.....


Establishing a good foundation of gut health could be exactly what you need for better gains.

Whether you’re a professional athlete, an amateur, or just someone who enjoys being active you should be aware of how much your gut can affect your performance. It’s no secret that your gut plays a major role in how you feel each day.

And anyone would agree that an unhappy digestive system makes it very difficult to enjoy physical activity! Here’s a breakdown of some of the things that I learnt although please note I am not giving advice on nutrition here as it's beyond the scope of my practice





5 way that gut health can improve your gains 1. Boost Your Energy Levels The healthy bacteria in your gut are vital for breaking dietary fibre down into substances that your body can use1. These are required for numerous processes in the body, such as reducing inflammation, maintaining the lining of the gut and warding off harmful pathogens. And because these SCFAs comprise around 10% of your body’s daily calorie requirements, they also play a major role in supporting your energy levels. 2. Improve Recovery Time After physical exercise, your body needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, as well as rehydrate and flush out the lactic acid that may have accumulated in your muscles. It also works hard to get your blood sugar back in balance in order to prevent a post-exercise drop in glucose levels. That’s where your gut bacteria are needed to break down the lactic acid2 into something more useful. Researchers from Harvard have noted increases in these specific bacteria after runners have completed a marathon. A healthy gut microbiome can help to reduce muscle soreness.

3. Boost Immune Health Research shows those who engage in regular heavy training are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections. This is usually due to the effects that intense exercise has on the immune cells. However, this can be avoided (or at least reduced) by boosting your gut microbiome3. Up to 80 percent of your immune cells reside in your gastrointestinal tract, so it makes sense to look after them. Taking probiotics and eating plenty of probiotic-rich foods – with some prebiotics on the side – can go a long way in supporting your immune function. This is also helpful to reduce any negative effects of intense training, as well as support other areas of immune function in your body A healthy gut will mean fewer interruptions to your training regimen!

4. Improve Nutrient Absorption If your body isn’t able to absorb nutrients, you won’t use them! Efficient nutrient absorption is essential for athlete performance and recovery. Absorption is largely dependent on the quality of your gut microbiome, as this is what breaks down the food you eat and allows you to absorb it. Certain bacteria even play a role in creating nutrients within your gut. Different species of beneficial bacteria are involved with maintaining the intestinal wall, where most of your nutrient absorption occurs. When these bacteria are all in balance, your intestinal wall will be better placed to absorb the nutrients your body needs for energy and regeneration.

5. Support a Healthy Weight It’s now known that your gut bacteria play a major part in weight management. This is all due to the way your body uses energy as fuel or stores it as fat. Your gut microbiome influences how your body utilizes nutrients, which has a direct impact on hormone production. The hormones involved with creating feelings of fullness and balancing your blood sugar all have a major impact on your weight. When your hormones fail to tell you that you’ve had enough to eat, you’ll suffer from hunger cravings and energy crashes. This can lead to overeating, which will, of course, lead to fat gain! Studies have also shown that the microbiome has a more direct impact on weight. For example, research on identical twins4 has found significant differences in the microbiome where one twin was obese and the other healthy.

6. Prevent Intestinal Imbalances Another consequence of intense training can be susceptibility to forms of intestinal dysbiosis like SIBO or yeast overgrowth. Being in a constant state of oxidative stress can lead to pro-inflammatory hormonal imbalances and chronic tissue inflammation. When your gut falls out of balance, you may end up suffering from joint pain, fatigue, blood sugar imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and poor post-exercise recovery. Probiotics can help to bring your gut bacteria back into balance and get those bacteria or yeast back under control. In the long term, this will not only improve the nutritional absorption that your body needs, but help reduce the inflammation that may be hindering your performance.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

Boosting the health of your gut microbiome begins with your diet. In fact, you may find that implementing a few simple dietary changes, such as adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, is a powerful way to boost your strength


So here is the general advice: Cut Out Added Sugars Avoid Processed Foods Try to eat natural Take Probiotics

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