STUDY: Antibiotics Wreak Havoc On Athletes’ Performance

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Previous research shows that exposure to antibiotics at least one time can disrupt the delicate microbiome balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria. Not only are you at risk for antibiotic-resistance infections, but a new mouse study finds the drugs can also affect your athletic performance.

Researchers found antibiotics can impede speed and endurance. In mice, this translated to a shorter and slower time on their running wheel. The antibiotics did not cause nausea or sickness in the mice, suggesting the decreased motivation was from antibiotic effects on the gut microbiome.

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“We believed an animal’s collection of gut bacteria, its microbiome, would affect digestive processes and muscle function, as well as motivation for various behaviors, including exercise,” says Theodore Garland, University of California, Riverside (UCR) evolutionary physiologist and study coauthor in a media release. “Our study reinforces this belief.”

Two breeds of mice — those who are genetically high runners and those that are not — were given antibiotics for 10 days. Poop samples from mice confirmed there was less diversity in the gut after the antibiotic treatment.


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