After reviewing several published studies, researchers suggest that among those who exercise with increasing intensity and duration, there may be an increased risk of gut damage and impaired gut function.

Dubbed “exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome,” this occurs when the cells of the intestine are injured and the gut becomes more leaky, allowing pathogenic endotoxins normally present and isolated in the intestine to pass into the bloodstream, resulting in acute or chronic health complications, according to a media release from Wiley.

Exercise stress of 2 hours at 60% VO2max appeared to be the threshold whereby significant gut disturbances arise, irrespective of an individual’s fitness status. Running and exercising in hot ambient temperatures appear to exacerbate the gut disturbances.

The review also found that for patients who have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, low to moderate physical activity may be beneficial. The health implications of more strenuous exercise have not been researched, but are likely to be detrimental for such patients, the release continues.

“Despite excessive exercise being confirmed to compromise gut integrity and function, we have identified several exacerbating factors which can be controlled, and several prevention and management strategies that can attenuate and abolish the damage and compromised function,” explains Dr Ricardo Costa, lead author of the study, which appeared recently in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

“It is recommended that a full gut assessment during exercise should be undertaken by individuals with symptoms of gut disturbances during exercise, to ascertain what is causing the issue and to develop individually tailored management strategies,” he adds.

[Source(s): Wiley, Science Daily]