It’s all about the gut these days, and with good reason. I’m starting to think there’s nothing about our bodies, and even our lives, that isn’t connected to the gut. From helping us sleep to soothing anxiety to affecting everything about your health. So, it should come as no surprise that there is now research that indicates a connection between gut bacteria and muscle strength.
Methods and Results of the Study
Let’s take a quick look at how the study was conducted and what the researchers found. This recent study measured the increase in muscle strength in mice by comparing gut bacteria from humans and transplanting them into mice.
First, the researchers compared the gut bacteria in eighteen older adult humans who had favorable body composition and high physical function with eleven who didn’t. The gut bacterial profiles of these groups were quite different. Higher levels of Prevotellaceae, Prevotella, Barnesiella, and Barnesiella intestinihominis bacteria were found in the group with favorable body composition.
The researchers then transplanted gut bacteria from both human adult groups into two groups of mice without gut bacteria (germ-free mice). Using strength and movement-related exercises, researchers found that mice with gut microbes from the favorable body composition humans had stronger skeletal muscles. This group could produce more energy than mice with gut bacteria from the low favorable body composition humans.
After the transplant of gut bacteria, the high favorable body composition germ-free mice had increased muscle growth and increased grip strength. In comparison to the low favorable body composition group. Grip strength is a common way to measure muscle strength. If you weren’t picturing mice lifting small weights or doing deadlifts with mouse-sized barbells before, you are now.
What We Learned from the Study
The results of the study give us insight into the role of gut health and muscle strength. More importantly, it adds more credence to the existence of the gut-muscle axis. The study was small. But, it serves as a jumping-off point for further studies on the link between gut health and muscle strength that may have broad applications.
The study also offers more evidence of the importance of probiotics and gut health. This may be of benefit to regular gym-goers and athletes alike. One thing the research tells us for sure is that improving our gut health is a good idea if we want to improve our general health.