The research indicates that there may be a window of opportunity during early human development to optimise the chances of better lifelong health.

Microbes take up residence within human intestines shortly after birth and are vital to the development of the immune system and various neural functions. The human gut harbours over 100 trillion microorganisms.

These microbes can add as many as five million genes to a person's overall genetic profile and thus have tremendous power to influence aspects of human physiology.

The study found that juvenile rats who voluntarily exercised every day developed more beneficial microbial structure, including the expansion of probiotic bacterial species in their gut compared to adult rats, even when the adult rats exercised as well.

The researchers have not pinpointed an exact age range when the gut microbe community is likeliest to change, but the preliminary findings indicated that earlier is better.

The study was published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology.


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