AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: Veillonella

Running on Bacteria

In a recent article it was found that elite athletes could have a step above average people due to some of the bacteria found in their gut. Researchers took stool samples what from elite runners from the Boston marathon in 2015 and found that there was a spike in appearance of the Veillonella. An in depth definition of what Veillonella is can be found here. For the purposes of the research it was said that these bacteria appears to take lactate produced by the muscles in the body and turns it into a compound that helps out the endurance of a runner. This same trend of increase of Veillonella was also found in 87 ultramarathon runners and Olympic rowers after a workout.

To prove their findings they cultivated one strand of Veillonella called Veillonella atypical from the runners and fed it to mice. They also gave the mice lactate in order to give the Veillonella food to feed on in the mice’s gut. The results to this was a 13 percent increase to the length of time these mice could run. However at the same time not all of the 32 mice that they gave this strand of Veillonella actually reacted to it. With the mice the Veillonella used the carbon from the lactate to grow and ended up producing propionate. An in depth definition of propionate can be found here. Propionate ended up raising the heart rate and oxygen use in the mice. For humans propionate also raises metabolism.


The overall take from these experiments give an interesting take on how these elite runners can do what they do. The food that someone eats isn’t the only thing that affects the microbiome in a humans gut. These bacteria could appear in the gut after only one session of working out or it could be something only certain people have and others don’t. It could also just be something that people who don’t focus heavily on running experience but it isn’t quite known yet. These things could also appear to The overall fact that bacteria in the stomach could be a big part of someone being athletically gifted is new and interesting to the scene of science. I find this cool as I’m a runner and a basketball player myself so to see that the bacteria in my stomach is what helps me do everything I do is incredibly interesting. Next time you run a mile or finish a game of your preferred sport thank your gut. The bacteria in there could just be the reason your body can do it at all.


The Secret of Human Gut Microbiomes in Athletes

Recently, scientists have tried to identify a correlation between the foods we eat and the microbes found in our gut. Although they were not successful in finding an answer, what they did find could be even more important in our understanding of the human gut microbiome. Two studies were conducted, one where microbes were compared between normal people, and another where microbes were compared between normal people and elite runners – all of these people ate the foods they would normally eat. Both of these studies were important in revealing the ways our diet does not impact the microbes found in our gut.

The study between regular individuals revealed that “each person has that unique mixture [of microbes] that’s special to only them” and that the same food can have drastically different effects in different individuals. Even people that consistently ate the same foods experienced changes in their microbiome. The study comparing elite runners to regular individuals found that the runners had a greater amount of microbes from the genus Veillonella after doing extreme exercise. Veillonella feast on lactate and make propionate which was found to raise heart rate and oxygen use in mice, as well as boost human metabolism. Mice given the Veillonella atypica from the runners were found to run for 13 percent longer than the mice in the control group. This study showed that it was the exercise, rather than diet, which contributed to the Veillonella in the gut microbiome, although lactate allowed the microbes to grow. Both studies concluded that they would need a larger sample to make any concrete conclusions, but they both show that diet does not determine the human gut microbiome as many thought.

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