A Prospective Metagenomic and Metabolomic Analysis of the Impact of Exercise and/or Whey Protein Supplementation on the Gut Microbiome of Sedentary Adults

Owen CroninFergus Shanahan


Many components of modern living exert influence on the resident intestinal microbiota of humans with resultant impact on host health. For example, exercise-associated changes in the diversity, composition, and functional profiles of microbial populations in the gut have been described in cross-sectional studies of habitual athletes. However, this relationship is also affected by changes in diet, such as changes in dietary and supplementary protein consumption, that coincide with exercise. To determine whether increasing physical activity and/or increased protein intake modulates gut microbial composition and function, we prospectively challenged healthy but sedentary adults with a short-term exercise regime, with and without concurrent daily whey protein consumption. Metagenomics- and metabolomics-based assessments demonstrated modest changes in gut microbial composition and function following increases in physical activity. Significant changes in the diversity of the gut virome were evident in participants receiving daily whey protein supplementation. Results indicate that improved body composition with exercise is not dependent on major changes in the diversity of microbial populations in the gut. The diverse microbial chara...Continue Reading


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