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Love your guts! - Teagasc researchers feature on The Science Squad


What can we learn from the relationship between our diet, exercise, gut bacteria and general health?Teagasc’s Dr Paul Cotter features in tonight’s The Science Squad on RTÉ One at 8.30pm in a segment called ‘Love your guts!’

Paul recently conducted a study with the Irish rugby team to examine the impact of exercise and diet on gut microbial diversity. This is the first report that shows exercise increases microbial diversity in humans and while others have previously shown that diet influences microbial diversity, Teagasc can now report that protein consumption, in particular, positively correlates with microbial diversity. The study poses new questions and presenter Kathriona Devereux checks in with Paul and his team to have her own gut health analysed and follows Eoin Myers, one of the group’s willing guinea pigs, as he takes part in the next phase of the trial!

“Having a rich microbial diversity in your gut is a particularly desirable trait. Our studies with the Irish Rugby team highlighted that it is not just on the playing pitch that these guys are remarkable … they also have a tremendously diverse population of bacteria in their gut! We are now following up on our studies by using what we learned when studying these elite athletes to try to increase the microbial diversity of people in the general public,” explains Paul.