You’ve probably heard about how your kid’s gut bacteria can influence not just their overall health, but even how they behave. But gut bacteria research waits for no man, and the most recent findings suggest that you can influence your kid’s gut bacteria through more than just feeding them the right stuff. Specifically, a new study suggests that regular exercise early in life can boost “good” bacteria that promotes better brain and physical health over the course of their lifetime.
To be fair, the study in question was done on rights, so take the results with a grain of salt (or cheese, as the case may be). Researchers at the University Of Colorado Boulder found that regularly exercised young rats showed more of the gut bacteria associated with long term brain and physical health than those that were allowed to sloth around playing video games or texting with their friends. Given that scientists can’t equate rat age to kid age like they do — totally scientifically, of course — with dogs, it’s not entirely clear when you should start running your kid through circuit training to achieve peak gut bacteria diversity. But the results do show that there is a “peak time” when baby microbiomes could be at their most malleable for optimization. That’s because the young rats showed even better gut/brain benefits than adult rats with similar exercise routines.
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Obviously, this is study shows correlation, not causation (and in just rats, no less). But the link between exercise and improved brain function in kids is well established, and the evidence that gut bacteria communicates with the brain is pretty compelling as well. So consider the most recent news on the science wire to be one more reason to get your kid moving.