No Guts, No Glory—Scientists Probe Microbiomes of Elite Athletes

Elite athletes work hard to excel in sports, but they may also get a natural edge from the bacteria that inhabit their digestive tracts. Scientists have now tapped into the microbiomes of exceptional runners and rowers, and have identified particular bacteria that may aid athletic performance. The goal is to develop probiotic supplements that may help athletes -- and even amateur fitness enthusiasts -- recover from a tough workout or more efficiently convert nutrients to energy. The researchers presented their work on Sunday August 20, 2017 at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world's largest scientific society, is holding the meeting in Washington, DC, through Thursday. It features nearly 9,400 presentations on a wide range of science topics. The microbiome presentation was titled “FitBiomics: Understanding Elite Microbiomes for Performance and Recovery Applications.” "When we first started thinking about this, I was asked whether we could use genomics to predict the next Michael Jordan," Jonathan Scheiman, Ph.D., says. "But my response was that a better question is: Can you extract Jordan's biology and give it to others to help make the next Michael Jordan?" To answer that question, microbes seemed like a good place to start.
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