The researchers examined a variety of variables using a machine-learning algorithm, such as genomic sequences, gut bacteria species, and bloodstream chemicals that may help to explain why mice had different degrees of activity.
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that there was minimal evidence linking genetics to exercise level. Instead, gut flora appeared to be the main motivator for mice to exercise.
The mice’s running distance was reduced by 50% when broad-spectrum antibiotics were administered, eradicating their gut microbes. The brain region of the mice responsible for motivation, the striatum, was then sequenced by the researchers. When compared to controls, they discovered lower dopamine levels. Therefore, mice receiving antibiotic treatment had less dopamine following their run.
Researchers discovered two bacteria strains linked to greater performance over the course of several years of extremely creative experiments: Coprococcus eutactus and Eubacterium rectale. Fatty acid amides produced by these bacterial species interact with the gut’s endocannabinoid receptors.
The brain receives a signal from endocannabinoid receptors to reduce monoamine oxidase. Dopamine is broken down by a substance called monoamine oxidase. As a result, raising dopamine causes a decrease in monoamine oxidase. Mice experience the positive effects of exercise as a result, making them want to exercise more frequently.
The key query at this point is whether humans share this gut-brain link. To put it another way, may altering our gut flora help us stick to our commitment to work out this year?