Intense exercise can damage your gut
By now we all know that exercise comes with many benefits for our health and mental wellbeing.
But if you exercise excessively, you may be doing more harm than good.
A recent study has found that intense exercise can causes acute to chronic gut problems.
Researchers investigated literature using five databases – PubMed, EBSCO, Web of Science, SPORTSdiscus, and Ovid Medline and reviewed studies which focused on the impact of intense exercise on gastrointestinal injury and other health issues related to the gut in healthy populations and populations with gastrointestinal diseases/disorders.
The review also found that low to moderate exercise is beneficial for people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or functional gastrointestinal disorders, but intense and longer exercise is likely to be strenuous and detrimental for them.
The review revealed that as the intensity and duration of exercise increased, there was a proportional increased risk of gut damage and impaired gut function. The cells of the intestine get injured and the gut gets more leaky causing pathogenic endotoxins to pass into the bloodstream which otherwise would be isolated from the intestine.
This ‘exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome’ can lead to acute or chronic health complications.
Additionally intense exercise and running for over 2 hours causes exercise heat stress which exacerbates gastrointestinal injuries and other markers.
Exercise stress of 2 hours or more at 60 percent VO2max appears to be the threshold when significant gut disturbances seem to arise, irrespective of the fitness level of the individual.
Gastrointestinal symptoms in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, are common and a limiting factor in prolonged strenuous exercise.
The review also found that low to moderate exercise is beneficial for people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, but intense and longer exercise is likely to be strenuous and detrimental for them.
However, intense exercise has a reversible but major impact on gastrointestinal function in healthy populations.
Further investigation is recommended for patients with chronic gastrointestinal diseases/disorders to understand gut disturbances during intense exercise which can help develop special management strategies for them.
Over-exercising for a longer duration is certainly not going to make you fitter, but it is more likely to damage your gut and cause long term gut problems.
Source: Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics