Research Topic

Nutrition, Exercise and the Gastrointestinal Tract

About this Research Topic

The regular practice of exercise has been demonstrated to decrease the risk of several gastrointestinal-related diseases such as diverticular diseases, constipation and cholelithiasis. In addition, regular exercise can accelerate gut transit of chyme, fecal residues and intraluminal gas. Recent studies have also demonstrated that regular exercise can promote beneficial modifications in the gut microbiota, and these changes can be potentiated by the consumption of prebiotics, probiotics and other food components.

Although regular moderate exercise can indeed positively impact gastrointestinal function, vigorous or prolonged exercise can also lead to gastrointestinal distress and a host of upper gut symptoms (i.e., reflux, nausea, vomiting, belching, stomach pain, bloating) and lower gut symptoms (i.e., abdominal cramps, side ache, flatulence, intestinal bleeding, urge to defecate, diarrhea). Experiencing gastrointestinal distress during exercise is common among athletes, particularly among endurance runners, 30–90% of whom may present with one or more gastrointestinal symptoms. If severe enough, these symptoms can interfere with training and impair exercise performance.

The main causes of gastrointestinal distress during exercise are of ischemic, mechanical, environmental, psychological, and nutritional origins. Regarding nutrition, dehydration and the ingestion of fiber, fat, protein, and highly concentrated carbohydrate beverages can trigger symptoms. There is also emerging evidence that diets high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) can contribute to gastrointestinal distress. Although they have also been shown to enhance exercise performance, caffeine and sodium bicarbonate can also be considered symptom-provoking supplements. However, there is still a limited number of studies evaluating the interaction of nutrition and exercise on gastrointestinal function.

The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to present relevant studies focused on novel research on the interactions between exercise and nutrition on the gastrointestinal tract in several populations, ranging from recreational to more professional sports. We welcome Original Research articles and Reviews on sub-themes such as, but not limited to:

• Nutritional interventions to prevent gastrointestinal distress during exercise
• Dietary supplements that cause or prevent gastrointestinal symptoms in physically active individuals
• “Gut training” in athletes
• Gastrointestinal problems and exercise modalities
• The effect of gastrointestinal distress on performance in athletes
• The effect of exercise and nutritional interventions in gastrointestinal and extraintestinal diseases


Keywords: Exercise, Nutrition, Dietary Supplements, Gut training, Gastrointestinal Problems


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The regular practice of exercise has been demonstrated to decrease the risk of several gastrointestinal-related diseases such as diverticular diseases, constipation and cholelithiasis. In addition, regular exercise can accelerate gut transit of chyme, fecal residues and intraluminal gas. Recent studies have also demonstrated that regular exercise can promote beneficial modifications in the gut microbiota, and these changes can be potentiated by the consumption of prebiotics, probiotics and other food components.

Although regular moderate exercise can indeed positively impact gastrointestinal function, vigorous or prolonged exercise can also lead to gastrointestinal distress and a host of upper gut symptoms (i.e., reflux, nausea, vomiting, belching, stomach pain, bloating) and lower gut symptoms (i.e., abdominal cramps, side ache, flatulence, intestinal bleeding, urge to defecate, diarrhea). Experiencing gastrointestinal distress during exercise is common among athletes, particularly among endurance runners, 30–90% of whom may present with one or more gastrointestinal symptoms. If severe enough, these symptoms can interfere with training and impair exercise performance.

The main causes of gastrointestinal distress during exercise are of ischemic, mechanical, environmental, psychological, and nutritional origins. Regarding nutrition, dehydration and the ingestion of fiber, fat, protein, and highly concentrated carbohydrate beverages can trigger symptoms. There is also emerging evidence that diets high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) can contribute to gastrointestinal distress. Although they have also been shown to enhance exercise performance, caffeine and sodium bicarbonate can also be considered symptom-provoking supplements. However, there is still a limited number of studies evaluating the interaction of nutrition and exercise on gastrointestinal function.

The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to present relevant studies focused on novel research on the interactions between exercise and nutrition on the gastrointestinal tract in several populations, ranging from recreational to more professional sports. We welcome Original Research articles and Reviews on sub-themes such as, but not limited to:

• Nutritional interventions to prevent gastrointestinal distress during exercise
• Dietary supplements that cause or prevent gastrointestinal symptoms in physically active individuals
• “Gut training” in athletes
• Gastrointestinal problems and exercise modalities
• The effect of gastrointestinal distress on performance in athletes
• The effect of exercise and nutritional interventions in gastrointestinal and extraintestinal diseases


Keywords: Exercise, Nutrition, Dietary Supplements, Gut training, Gastrointestinal Problems


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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