In this paper the genus Veillonella was identified to play a role in the exercise performance. First, authors examined the gut microbiome of the athletes who ran a marathon (n=15) and control individuals who did not (n=10). Veillonella was found to be increased in the post exercise state, compared to the pre-exercise state. In addition, Veillonella was more prevalent in runners than non-runners. To validate this finding, mice (n=16) were gavaged with Veillonella atypica isolated from one of the marathon runners. Another group of mice (n=16) served as a control group, which was gavaged with Lactobacillus bulgaricus, chosen due to its inability to metabolize lactate. Mice gavaged with V. atypica ran on treadmill 13% longer than the ones gavaged with L. bulgaricus, and had lower levels of inflammatory cytokines. The results were validated further by analyzing stool samples from 87 ultramarathoners and Olympic trial rowers. Veillonella species utilize lactate and convert it into the short-chain fatty acids acetate and propionate via the methylmalonyl-CoA pathway. In the next step the authors have shown an ability of the lactate to cross into the gastrointestinal lumen, as well as that propionate increases the running time of mice which underwent intrarectal propionate instillation. The paper concludes that Veillonella metabolizes lactate, that crosses into the gut lumen, into propionate during the exercise, which enhances physical performance of the athletes.
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