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Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract.

Abstract

This review describes the current state of knowledge on the hazards of exercise and the potential benefits of physical activity on the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, acute strenuous exercise may provoke gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn or diarrhoea. A substantial part (20-50%) of endurance athletes are hampered by these symptoms which may deter them from participation in training and competitive events. Nevertheless, these acute symptoms are transient and do not hamper the athlete's health in the long term. The only exception is repeated gastrointestinal bleeding during training and competition, which in the long term may occasionally lead to iron deficiency and anaemia. In contrast, repetitive exercise periods at a relatively low intensity may have protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract. There is strong evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer by up to 50%. Less convincing evidence exists for cholelithiasis and constipation. Physical activity may reduce the risk of diverticulosis, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and inflammatory bowel disease although this cannot be substantiated firmly. Up to now, underlying mechanisms are poorly understood although decreased gastrointestinal blood flow, neuro-immuno-endocrine alterations, increased gastrointestinal motility, and mechanical bouncing during exercise are postulated. Future research on exercise associated digestive processes should give more insight into the relationship between physical activity and the function of the gastrointestinal tract.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Medical Physiology and Sports Medicine, University Medical Centre Utrecht, PO Box 85060, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands. h.p.f.peters@med.uu.nl

    , ,

    Source

    Gut 48:3 2001 Mar pg 435-9

    MeSH

    Digestive System Physiological Phenomena
    Exercise
    Gastrointestinal Diseases
    Gastrointestinal Transit
    Humans
    Regional Blood Flow

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    11171839

    Citation

    Peters, H P., et al. "Potential Benefits and Hazards of Physical Activity and Exercise On the Gastrointestinal Tract." Gut, vol. 48, no. 3, 2001, pp. 435-9.
    Peters HP, De Vries WR, Vanberge-Henegouwen GP, et al. Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract. Gut. 2001;48(3):435-9.
    Peters, H. P., De Vries, W. R., Vanberge-Henegouwen, G. P., & Akkermans, L. M. (2001). Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract. Gut, 48(3), pp. 435-9.
    Peters HP, et al. Potential Benefits and Hazards of Physical Activity and Exercise On the Gastrointestinal Tract. Gut. 2001;48(3):435-9. PubMed PMID: 11171839.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract. AU - Peters,H P, AU - De Vries,W R, AU - Vanberge-Henegouwen,G P, AU - Akkermans,L M, PY - 2001/2/15/pubmed PY - 2001/4/17/medline PY - 2001/2/15/entrez SP - 435 EP - 9 JF - Gut JO - Gut VL - 48 IS - 3 N2 - This review describes the current state of knowledge on the hazards of exercise and the potential benefits of physical activity on the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, acute strenuous exercise may provoke gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn or diarrhoea. A substantial part (20-50%) of endurance athletes are hampered by these symptoms which may deter them from participation in training and competitive events. Nevertheless, these acute symptoms are transient and do not hamper the athlete's health in the long term. The only exception is repeated gastrointestinal bleeding during training and competition, which in the long term may occasionally lead to iron deficiency and anaemia. In contrast, repetitive exercise periods at a relatively low intensity may have protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract. There is strong evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer by up to 50%. Less convincing evidence exists for cholelithiasis and constipation. Physical activity may reduce the risk of diverticulosis, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and inflammatory bowel disease although this cannot be substantiated firmly. Up to now, underlying mechanisms are poorly understood although decreased gastrointestinal blood flow, neuro-immuno-endocrine alterations, increased gastrointestinal motility, and mechanical bouncing during exercise are postulated. Future research on exercise associated digestive processes should give more insight into the relationship between physical activity and the function of the gastrointestinal tract. SN - 0017-5749 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/11171839/full_citation L2 - http://gut.bmj.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=11171839 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -