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The Effects of Exercise on Indirect Markers of Gut Damage and Permeability: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Chantler, Sarah, Griffiths, Alex, Matu, Jamie, Davison, Glen, Jones, Ben, Deighton, Kevin (2020) The Effects of Exercise on Indirect Markers of Gut Damage and Permeability: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, . ISSN 0112-1642. E-ISSN 1179-2035. (doi:10.1007/s40279-020-01348-y) (KAR id:84317)

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The aim of this review was to determine the effect of an acute bout of exercise on gut damage and permeability outcomes in healthy populations using a meta-analysis.


A total of 34 studies were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed, and showed a large and moderate effect size for markers of gut damage (i-FABP) (ES 0.81; 95% CI 0.63–0.98; n = 26; p < 0.001) and gut permeability (Disaccharide Sugar/Monosaccharide Sugar) (ES 0.70; 95% CI 0.29–1.11; n = 17; p < 0.001), respectively. Exercise performed in hot conditions (> 23 °C) further increased markers of gut damage compared with thermoneutral conditions [ES 1.06 (95% CI 0.88–1.23) vs. 0.66 (95% CI 0.43–0.89); p < 0.001]. Exercise duration did not have any significant effect on gut damage or permeability outcomes.


These findings demonstrate that a single bout of exercise increases gut damage and gut permeability in healthy participants, with gut damage being exacerbated in hot environments. Further investigation into nutritional strategies to minimise gut damage and permeability after exercise is required. PROSPERO database number (CRD42018086339).

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s40279-020-01348-y
Uncontrolled keywords: gut damage; endothelial lining
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1235 Physiology of sports
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Glen Davison
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2020 22:07 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Davison, Glen:
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