Int J Sports Med 2020; 41(05): 292-299
DOI: 10.1055/a-1079-5450
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Comparative Analysis of Gut Microbiota Following Changes in Training Volume Among Swimmers

Jarrad Timothy Hampton-Marcell
1   Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, United States
2   Department of Biosciences, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, United States
3   Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, United States
Tifani W. Eshoo
2   Department of Biosciences, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, United States
Marc D. Cook
4   Human Performance and Leisure Studies, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, United States
Jack A. Gilbert
5   Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, United States
Craig A. Horswill
3   Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, United States
Rachel Poretsky
1   Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted 01 December 2019

Publication Date:
23 January 2020 (online)


Exercise can influence gut microbial community structure and diversity; however, the temporal dynamics of this association have rarely been explored. Here we characterized fecal microbiota in response to short term changes in training volume. Fecal samples, body composition, and training logs were collected from Division I NCAA collegiate swimmers during peak training through their in-season taper in 2016 (n=9) and 2017 (n=7), capturing a systematic reduction in training volume near the conclusion of their athletic season. Fecal microbiota were characterized using 16S rRNA V4 amplicon sequencing and multivariate statistical analysis, Spearman rank correlations, and random forest models. Peak training volume, measured as swimming distance, decreased significantly during the study period from 32.6±4.8 km/wk to 11.3±8.1 km/wk (ANOVA, p<0.05); however, body composition showed no significant changes. Coinciding with the decrease in training volume, the microbial community structure showed a significant decrease in overall microbial diversity, a decrease in microbial community structural similarity, and a decrease in the proportion of the bacterial genera Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus. Together these data demonstrate a significant association between short-term changes in training volume and microbial composition and structure in the gut; future research will establish whether these changes are associated with energy balance or nutrient intake.

Supplementary Material

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