Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2021-12-23

Gut microbiota related to nutrition and physical activity: an integrative review

Luaira Ferreira Campos Clinic, Macae, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gut microbiota Intestinal flora Food Probiotic Physical exercise


Introduction: The gut microbiota (GM) is formed by millions of microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the colon. This intestinal homeostasis can be triggered by the union of a good diet, and even recent studies have suggested that aerobic physical training can modify its composition. Objective: To analyze the influence of healthy eating added to the practice of physical exercise in changing the composition of the GM. Methods: The research was carried out with an exploratory, qualitative and bibliographic approach. A literature review that brings together important studies on the influence of physical exercise on GM. Results: Data collection for this literature review was carried out from March to September, using articles, in addition to trustworthy websites, with the following descriptors: gut microbiota, microbiota, intestinal flora, food, probiotics, and physical exercise. Conclusion: The training was efficient to change the GM composition in sedentary men, thus being able to minimize possible negative interferences of the sedentary pattern. Bacteria that reside in our body work with a commensalism strategy, where there are two different structures, the microorganism, and the individual's body, but both live together normally and thus work together to maintain the GM balance.


  1. Bakhtiar SM. et al. Implications of the human microbiome in inflammatory bowel diseases. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 2013, 342:10-17.
  2. Pedrinola F. Microbiota e seu papel na saúde humana. 2017. Disponível em:
  3. Bermon et al., Pedrinola, Dr. Filippo. Microbiota e seu papel na saúde humana. 2017. Disponível em: Artigo/113/Microbiota-intestino-e-saude
  4. Cook MD, Allen JM, Pence BD, Wallig MA, Gaskins HR, White BA, Woods JA. Exercise and gut immune function: evidence of alterations in colon immune cell homeostasis and microbiome characteristics with exercise training. Immunology and cell biology, 2016, 94, 2:158-163.
  5. Santos TT, Varavallo MA. A importância de probióticos para o controle e/ou reestruturação da microbiota intestinal. Revista Científica do Itpac 2011, 4(1):40- 49.
  6. Allen JM, Mailing LJ, Niemiro GM, Moore R, Cool MD, White BA, Holscher HD, Woods JA. exercise alters gut microbiota composition and function in lean and obese humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2018, 50, 4:747-757.
  7. Estaki M, Pither J, Baumeister P, Little JP, Gill SK, Ghosh S, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a predictor of intestinal microbial diversity and distinct metagenomic functions. Microbiome, 2016, 4, 1:42.
  8. Fonseca JJS. Metodologia da pesquisa científica. Fortaleza: UEC, 2002. 9 GIL, A. C. Como elaborar projetos de pesquisa. 5. ed. São Paulo: Atlas, 2010.
  9. Cotillard A, Kennedy SP, Kong LC, Prifti E, Pons N, Le Chatelier E, et al. Dietary intervention impact on gut microbial gene richness. Nature, UK, 2013, 500, 7464:585-588.
  10. Delzenne NM, Neyrinck AM, Cani PD. Gut microbiota and metabolic disorders: How prebiotic can word? British Journal of Nutrion, UK, 2013, 109, 2:81- 85.
  11. Hernell O, West CE. Clinical effects of probiotics: scientific evidence from a paediatric perspective. British Journal of Nutrion, UK, 2013; 109 (Suppl 2): 70- 75.
  12. Paixão LA, Castro FFS. A colonização da microbiota intestinal e sua influência na saúde do hospedeiro. Ciências da Saúde, Brasília, 2016, 1:85- 96.
  13. Ticinesi A, Lauretani F, Tana C, Nouvenne A, Ridolo E, Meschi T. Exercise and immune system as modulators of intestinal microbiome: implications for the gut-muscle axis hypothesis. Exerc. Ommunol. Rev., 2019, 25:84-95.
  14. Wosinska L, Cotter PD, O’Sullivan O, Guinane C. The potential impact of probiotics on the gut microbiome of athletes. Nutrients, 2019, 11:2270-2292.
  15. Soares DKNS. Modulação da microbiota intestinal com probióticos e sua relação com a obesidade. Revisa, 2019, 8, 3:356-366.
  16. Silva-Júnior, VL, Lopes FAM, Albano RM, Souza MGC, Barbosa CML, Maranhão PA, et al. Obesity and gut microbiota: what do we know so far? Medical Express, 2017, 4:1-11.
  17. Clarke SF, Murphy EF, O’Sullivan O, Lucey AJ, Humphreys M, Hogan A, Hayes P, O’Reilly M, JEery IB, Wood-Martin R. Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity. Gut, 2014, 63:1913-1920.
  18. Petersen LM, Bautista EJ, Nguyen H, Hanson BM, Chen L, Lek SH, Sodergren E, Weinstock GM. Community characteristics of the gut microbiomes of competitive cyclists. Microbiome, 2017, 5:98.
  19. Barton W, Penney NC, Cronin O, Garcia-Perez I, Molloy MG, Holmes E, Shanahan F, Cotter PD, O’Sullivan O. The microbiome of professional athletes di_ers from that of more sedentary subjects in composition and particularly at the functional metabolic level. Gut 2017, 67, 625–633.
  20. Durk RP, Castillo E, Marquez-Megana L, Grosicki GJ, Bolter ND, Lee CM, Bagley JR. Gut microbiota composition is related to cardiorespiratory fitness in healthy young adults. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2019, 29, 3:249-253.
  21. Resende AS. Efeito de 10 semanas de treinamento físico aeróbio sobre a microbiota intestinal de homens adultos jovens e sedentários. [Dissertação mestrado]. Universidade de São Paulo. Escola de Educação Física e Esporte. São Paulo, 2019, 141.

How to Cite

Campos, L. F. (2021). Gut microbiota related to nutrition and physical activity: an integrative review. International Journal of Nutrology, 15(1).