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Does the Intestinal Microbiome Impact Athletic Performance?


Purpose of Review

To analyze current research involving elite athletes and the gut microbiome, with the goal to expand knowledge of potential sports performance strategies and interventions.

Recent Findings

Most of the current research focuses on theoretical applications from microbiome research and known characteristics of performance, as few studies have actually been conducted in elite athletes. However, of the studies that have been conducted, the research is promising that dietary strategies may provide targeted interventions in the future.


The majority of sports nutrition takes an external approach to diet: manipulating macronutrient intake based on type of training and performance goals. However, shifting to an internal focus, prioritizing the health of the gut microbiome, could be a new frontier for a competitive edge in athletics.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Crowson, M.M., McClave, S.A. Does the Intestinal Microbiome Impact Athletic Performance?. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 22, 53 (2020).

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  • Microbiome
  • Microbiota
  • Gut barrier defenses
  • Immune dysregulation
  • Sports
  • Athletic performance
  • Elite athletes