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Systematic Review

The Relationship between Physical Activity, Physical Exercise, and Human Gut Microbiota in Healthy and Unhealthy Subjects: A Systematic Review

1
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Study of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
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Escola Superior Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
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Research Center in Sports Performance, Recreation, Innovation and Technology (SPRINT), 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
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Instituto de Telecomunicações, Delegação da Covilhã, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
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The Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development (CIDESD), 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
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Department of Physical Education and Special Motricity, Transilvania University of Brasov, 500068 Brasov, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tetsuya Shiuchi
Biology 2022, 11(3), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11030479
Received: 28 February 2022 / Revised: 18 March 2022 / Accepted: 20 March 2022 / Published: 21 March 2022
To date, the influence that physical activity (PA)/physical exercise (PE) can exert on the human gut microbiota (GM) is still poorly understood. Several issues arise in structuring research in this area, starting from the association between PA/PE and diet. Indeed, the diet of an individual is a key factor for the composition of the GM and those who regularly practice PA/PE, generally, have dietary patterns favorable to the creation of an ideal environment for the proliferation of a GM capable of contributing to the host’s health. It is therefore difficult to establish with certainty whether the effects generated on the GM are due to a PA protocol, the type of diet followed, or to both. In addition, most of the available studies use animal models to investigate a possible correlation between PA/PE and changes in the GM, which may be not necessarily applied to humans. Evidence suggests that aerobic PA/PE seems capable of producing significant changes in GM; training parameters, likewise, can differentially influence the GM in young or elderly people and these changes appear to be transient and reversible.
Several studies have been conducted to find at least an association between physical activity (PA)/ physical exercise (PE) and the possibility to modulate the gut microbiome (GM). However, the specific effects produced on the human GM by different types of PA/PE, different training modalities, and their age-related effects are not yet fully understood. Therefore, this systematic review aims to evaluate and summarize the current scientific evidence investigating the bi-directional relationship between PA/PE and the human GM, with a specific focus on the different types/variables of PA/PE and age-related effects, in healthy and unhealthy people. A systematic search was conducted across four databases (Web of Science, Medline (PubMed), Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library). Information was extracted using the populations, exposure, intervention, comparison, outcomes (PICOS) format. The Oxford Quality Scoring System Scale, the Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool, and the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Analytical Cross-Sectional Studies were used as a qualitative measure of the review. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO (code: CRD42022302725). The following data items were extracted: author, year of publication, study design, number and age of participants, type of PA/PE carried out, protocol/workload and diet assessment, duration of intervention, measurement tools used, and main outcomes. Two team authors reviewed 694 abstracts for inclusion and at the end of the screening process, only 76 full texts were analyzed. Lastly, only 25 research articles met the eligibility criteria. The synthesis of these findings suggests that GM diversity is associated with aerobic exercise contrary to resistance training; abundance of Prevotella genus seems to be correlated with training duration; no significant change in GM richness and diversity are detected when exercising according to the minimum dose recommended by the World Health Organizations; intense and prolonged PE can induce a higher abundance of pro-inflammatory bacteria; PA does not lead to significant GM α/β-diversity in elderly people (60+ years). The heterogeneity of the training parameters used in the studies, diet control, and different sequencing methods are the main confounders. Thus, this systematic review can provide an in-depth overview of the relationship between PA/PE and the human intestinal microbiota and, at the same time, provide indications from the athletic and health perspective. View Full-Text
Keywords: human microbiota; physical activity; physical exercise; training; microbiome; gut human microbiota; physical activity; physical exercise; training; microbiome; gut
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cataldi, S.; Bonavolontà, V.; Poli, L.; Clemente, F.M.; De Candia, M.; Carvutto, R.; Silva, A.F.; Badicu, G.; Greco, G.; Fischetti, F. The Relationship between Physical Activity, Physical Exercise, and Human Gut Microbiota in Healthy and Unhealthy Subjects: A Systematic Review. Biology 2022, 11, 479. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11030479

AMA Style

Cataldi S, Bonavolontà V, Poli L, Clemente FM, De Candia M, Carvutto R, Silva AF, Badicu G, Greco G, Fischetti F. The Relationship between Physical Activity, Physical Exercise, and Human Gut Microbiota in Healthy and Unhealthy Subjects: A Systematic Review. Biology. 2022; 11(3):479. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11030479

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cataldi, Stefania, Valerio Bonavolontà, Luca Poli, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Michele De Candia, Roberto Carvutto, Ana Filipa Silva, Georgian Badicu, Gianpiero Greco, and Francesco Fischetti. 2022. "The Relationship between Physical Activity, Physical Exercise, and Human Gut Microbiota in Healthy and Unhealthy Subjects: A Systematic Review" Biology 11, no. 3: 479. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11030479

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