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Gut health in sport

Sport is healthy and fun!

For many of us it is not just a hobby, but an essential part of life. As an ambitious hobby athlete, you dedicate almost all of your free time to sport and have specific goals. Training plans make a lot of sense when achieving these goals and bring structure to building performance. But what about other important influencing factors, such as nutrition, regeneration and your general health?

This is exactly what we focus on in our work, because only a fit, well-rested athlete who stays healthy in the long term will achieve his goals.

We have been dealing with the topic of intestinal health for many years and for some time intensively with intestinal health in sport. After all, exercise is healthy and has a positive influence on our intestines. But why do food intolerances, allergies, frequent susceptibility to infections and even gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps or vomiting occur very often, especially among athletes, during times of intensive training?

So: Isn't sport as healthy as postulated?

What influence does (competitive) sport have on our intestines? And what can we do to stay healthy in the long term and therefore be successful in sport? We want to answer all of these questions for you in our science series “no guts – no glory”.

You can send individual questions to or post topics that particularly interest you.

What the hell... is a microbiome please?

The human microbiome consists of bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses and, similar to the human fingerprint, is highly individual.

The tasks of the microbiota are diverse: Among other things, they produce short-chain fatty acids, produce amino acids, vitamin K and folic acid, break down bile acids, prevent the colonization of pathogenic germs and have immunological effects such as stimulation of IgA production or have an anti-inflammatory effect. Their influence on the ability to absorb nutrients and thus generate energy is also crucial and contributes to health.

Nerd knowledge to go

Important factors such as age, birth method, use of antibiotics and diet have been recognized by research as shaping factors for the intestinal microbiota. However, the important role of physical exercise is less researched and therefore understood. Training, as is usual in competitive sports in terms of intensity and scope, as well as the individual nutritional habits of athletes, also seem to have a major influence on the composition and functionality of the microorganisms in our body.

Exercise and the associated diet seem to promote a healthy and intact intestinal mill. A high density of health-promoting bacterial species, as well as a large microbial diversity, functional metabolic capacity and microbially associated metabolites, the stimulation of bacterial abundance that can modulate mucosal immunity and an improved gastrointestinal barrier function seem to be crucial for this.

Our experts

about the author

Simone Kumhofer, BA, BSc./MSc.

Professional triathlete
Sports and nutrition scientist