NYT: Could a Gut Bacteria Supplement Make Us Run Faster?

Running a marathon ramps up levels of a gut bacteria that made mice run faster, but it’s unclear whether it would work in people.

Our Scienctific Advisor Aleksandar Kostic is featured in The New York Times article covering our findings on how Veilonella can benefit both elite and everyday athletes.

The article is a review of our Nature Medicine paper, discussing the scientific research and discovery fueling our (FItBiomics) innovation platform. Provoking the question of how to help those living more sedentary lives to be more active, science shows that the microbiome has a significant role to play in overall health and specifically in our physical activity.

NY Times writer Gretchen Reynolds eloquently summarized the science in this piece, explaining the beneficial impact Veillonella has in strenuous exercise, from endurance to reduced inflammation.

“This change interested the scientists because Veillonella is one of the few microbes known to metabolize lactate as its preferred fuel. Lactate, a form of lactic acid, is created by working muscles and can cross into the blood and from there, into the gut. When microbes metabolize lactate, they break it down into several substances, including one called propionate, that can influence blood-sugar metabolism, oxygen consumption and inflammation, including in muscles. And scientists found genetic evidence now that the increase in Veillonella in runners after the marathon was pumping up the production of propionate in their guts.

So, could it be, the scientists wondered, that the extra Veillonella and propionate prompted by the strenuous exercise might create an environment inside runners that would enable them to run better and longer, thanks to improved fuel metabolism and lower inflammation?”

Dr. Aleksandar Kostic, the study’s senior author and acting Scientific Advisor to FItBiomics, is quoted explaining the optimism he and the research team have in translating these findings into real world solutions to aid both athletes as well as those that struggle to exercise. Dr. Kostic is an assistant professor of microbiology at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Read the full New York Times article here.