A New research has suggested that excessive strenuous exercise may lead to gut damage.
“The stress response of prolonged vigorous exercise shuts down gut function,” said lead author Ricardo Costa, a senior researcher with the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food at Monash University in Australia.
“The redistribution of blood flow away from the gut and towards working muscles creates gut cell injury that may lead to cell death, leaky gut, and systemic immune responses due to intestinal bacteria entering general circulation,” Costa added.
Researchers observed that the risk of gut injury and impaired function seems to increase along with the intensity and duration of exercise.
The problem is dubbed “exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome.” The researchers reviewed eight previously done studies that looked at this issue.
Two hours appears to be the threshold, the researchers said. After two hours of continuous endurance exercise when 60 per cent of an individual’s maximum intensity level is reached, gut damage may occur. Costa said that examples of such exercise are running and cycling.
He said heat stress appears to be an exacerbating factor. People with a predisposition to gut diseases or disorders may be more susceptible to such exercise-related health problems, he added.
Dr. Elena Ivanina is a senior gastroenterology fellow at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She wasn’t involved with this research but reviewed the study. She said that normal blood flow to the gut keeps cells oxygenated and healthy to ensure appropriate metabolism and function.—