Amateur cyclist dramatically improves performance to become a pro after FMT from another competitive cyclist

Hip

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Microbiologist Lauren Petersen was a keen amateur endurance cyclist. But having contracted Lyme disease when she was 11, and having been given heavy rounds of antibiotics as a treatment, she felt her gut was forever after short on beneficial microbes.

So she decided to give herself a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT), using another competitive cyclist as a stool donor.

Shortly after her FMT, her athletic abilities dramatically improved: she was able to train 5 days a week instead of her usual 2 days, and was able to move from amateur cyclist to pro endurance bike racing.



Having observed this astounding energy improvement after her FMT, Lauren then started wondering: had she obtained her FMT from a couch potato instead, rather than from a racing cyclist, would she be doing so well?

Being a microbiologist, she started investigating the microbial species present in stool samples from amateur and professional cyclists.

After analysing many samples, she found out that all the top professional cyclists have the bacterium Prevotella in their guts.

She observed that generally, only 50% of cyclists have Prevotella, but found that ALL the top racers have Prevotella in their guts.

By contrast, in non-athletic people, she found less than 10% have Prevotella.

So clearly there is a connection between exercise endurance ability and Prevotella.

Unfortunately there does not appear to be any Prevotella probiotic that you can buy. But all is not lost: branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements may be the next best thing, as we see in the next section.



The mechanism by which Prevotella might increase exercise endurance and performance is not clear, but Petersen's paper says:
Of interest was the upregulation of branched chain amino acid (BCAA) biosynthesis when there was an increase in Prevotella transcripts, and the corresponding downregulation in the degradation of BCAAs from the mWGS dataset when Prevotella was highly abundant.

High levels of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are known to decrease exercise-induced muscle fatigue and promote muscle-protein synthesis.

While there is strong evidence showing that BCAAs do not enhance exercise performance, they are shown to reduce central fatigue through several pathways and attenuate muscle damage during prolonged endurance exercise.

Since BCAAs are not produced by the human body and need to come from the diet, having a gut community that contains Prevotella spp. to either synthesize BCAAs or alternatively influence other microbes to produce these amino acids would be highly beneficial to athletes that need fast recovery time from intense exercise.

Some ME/CFS patients like @Mary have found that branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements in doses of around 5 gram daily noticeably reduce PEM (see the PEM Busters thread).



To a lesser extent, Petersen found top cyclists were more likely to have the archaea Methanobrevibacter smithii in their guts (archaea are microorganisms which are not bacteria, fungi or parasites; they are a separate kingdom of life).



Article: Poop transplants are the final frontier in athletic doping
Paper: Community characteristics of the gut microbiomes of competitive cyclists
 
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Well, I've had 3 FMT's supposedly from a 'blend' :vomit: of healthy screened donors and it didn't improve me one iota. But that's just me, I don't want to discourage anyone trying it. I had three doses over a 2-3 month period with the intention of continuing if I found any improvement, but alas none.

There's certainly something there though I'm sure, even recently multiple sclerosis found stronger immune-gut links involving B-cells [1] that aren't dissimilar to aberrant B Cell findings in ME/CFS. Who knows, maybe three isn't sufficient to observe changes.
 

Hip

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Well, I've had 3 FMT's supposedly from a 'blend' :vomit: of healthy screened donors and it didn't improve me one iota.
Dr Kenny De Meirleir experimented with FMT for ME/CFS over a decade ago. He found that it did help, but after 10 weeks, the patients went back to baseline, as the bad bacteria would grow back (see this post).

Perhaps FMT from a super-donor might provide more lasting effects, but that remains open to speculation. Or as the above story suggests, perhaps FMT from a top endurance athlete is the way to go!
 

Judee

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Ken Lassesen has things that decrease Prevotella. The page also lists things that increase it as well. https://cfsremission.com/2017/10/14/decreasing-prevotella-genus/

The bad thing is he said a study done by Ian Lipkin showed this bacteria to be high in ME/CFS patients. I guess we could experiment with increasing and decreasing to see which makes us feel better. Just a thought.

He also talks about M. Smithii in this post: https://cfsremission.com/2019/02/28/organic-milk-produces-a-different-microbiome-than-regular-milk/

...and here: https://cfsremission.com/2017/12/02/if-your-focus-is-to-increase-some-strains/ (go down the page to find it)
 
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Hip

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The bad thing is he said a study done by Ian Lipkin showed this bacteria to be high in ME/CFS patients. I guess we could experiment with increasing and decreasing to see which makes us feel better.
There might be a difference between normal gut levels of a bacterium or archaeon, and super-populations which cause colon dysbiosis, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

In fact Methanobrevibacter smithii is the culprit in methane-predominant SIBO.

You can have a normal population of Methanobrevibacter smithii in the colon, and you can have methane-predominant SIBO, where this archaea has escaped the colon, and has infected the normally fairly sterile small intestine.
 
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