Gut microbiota and physical activity: Is there an evidence-based link?

Paolo Pedersini, Silvia Turroni, Jorge Hugo Villafañe

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The gut microbiota appears to be a significant contributor to musculoskeletal health and disease. Genetic background, age, gender, diet, lifestyle and socio-economic aspects are also important factors that contribute to musculoskeletal health, as well as to the normal balance of the intestinal microbiota. Through the production of a large and diverse pool of bioactive small molecules, the gut microbiota can in fact signal to extra-intestinal organs, establishing a systems-level connection with the host metabolic, endocrine, immune and nervous apparatus. The gut microbiota has therefore been extensively studied in recent years, for health promotion, disease prevention and disease treatment, as well as for exercise performance. Practically, physical activity is recommended as a useful tool to prevent disease and improve prognosis when an athlete gets sick or injured. Therefore, the findings of studies performed on athletes should not be automatically transferred to all subjects undertaking non-competitive exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138648
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2020


  • Microbiota
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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