Performance-Enhancing Bacteria Has a Symbiotic Relationship With Athletes

Long-time Slashdot reader tomhath shares some big bacteria news from Harvard Medical School:
Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center determined Veillonella metabolizes lactic acid produced by exercise and converts it into propionate, a short chain fatty acid. The human body then utilizes that propionate to improve exercise capacity…
“It creates this positive feedback loop. The host is producing something that this particular microbe favors. Then in return, the microbe is creating something that benefits the host,” Aleksandar D. Kostic Ph.D. says. “This is a really important example of how the microbiome has evolved ways to become this symbiotic presence in the human host.”

By Friday, CNBC was reporting their research “could lead to a probiotic-like supplement that ‘regular joes’ could use to enhance their performance in a few years.”
“The future of fitness is here and it’s something that we’re rapidly developing,” Jonathan Scheiman, former Harvard postdoctoral fellow and CEO and co-founder of FitBiomics, tells CNBC Make It. “We want to translate this into consumer products to promote health and wellness [to the masses]…”
[The researchers] found the mice given Veillonella ran 13% longer on a treadmill compared to mice who were not given the bacteria. “It might not seem like a huge number, but I definitely think its biologically significant and certainly if you ask a marathon runner, if they could increase their running ability by 13% — I think that they will be generally interested,” Aleksandar Kostic, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of microbiology at the Joslin Diabetes Center tells CNBC Make It.

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