Gut Microbiome – by Troy Luengen – Dietetic Technician Intern

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Healthy Bites


Scientific research has recently started to research more on the impact of the human microbiome on health, but also a particular focus on its positive correlation with athletic performance.  Comprising trillions of microbes, the microbiome is integral to overall health and has emerged as a crucial factor in optimizing athletes through energy harvesting, nutrient absorption, and metabolic influence.  For athletes, efficient nutrient absorption is pivotal, ensuring the reception of essential building blocks for muscle function and recovery, especially during rigorous training.  Its role in metabolism is equally significant, enhancing energy utilization and supporting prolonged peak performance.  Overall, prioritizing gut microbiome health (aka gut health) may lead to improved energy utilization, enhanced nutrient uptake, and optimized metabolic processes, contributing to better endurance, quicker recovery, and sustained excellence in sports. As our understanding evolves, personalized approaches may revolutionize how athletes train, recover, and excel in their endeavors.  Now, we know why it’s important.  How do we apply it to our lives and get there?



The microbiome is a complex system of tiny microbes.  That system is directly influenced by our eating, drinking, sleeping, and working habits.  We promote the health and population of microbes by selecting foods that foster a diverse pallet of good bacteria.  To introduce these beneficial bacteria into our gut, we consume foods known as probiotics which contain various bacteria strains through fermented foods.  Probiotic foods include kiefer, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and others.  Maintaining the strength of these good bacteria requires a consistent intake of prebiotic rich foods, coupled with a reduction in processed food consumption.  Prebiotic foods are high fibrous fruits and vegetables.  Processed foods hinder microbial growth and lead to inflammation.  Inflammation in the gut can lead to multiple chronic health issues and can be prevented through healthy gut microbiome.


Hydration is crucial to the health of the gut for several reasons.  Adequate water intake plays a vital role in maintaining the balance and functionality of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where the majority of the microbiome resides. Water supports the movement of food and nutrients through the digestive system, aiding in the absorption of essential compounds that contribute to microbial health.  Additionally, proper hydration helps prevent constipation, which can negatively impact your gut.  Water also facilitates the transport of nutrients to the cells, ensuring that the microbiota receives the necessary resources for optimal function.  Moreover, a well-hydrated state helps maintain the mucosal lining of the gut, creating a supportive environment for beneficial bacteria.  In essence, hydration is a fundamental aspect of overall digestive health, influencing the conditions necessary for a balanced and thriving microbiome.



In conclusion, the ongoing field of research on the human microbiome has unveiled its pivotal role in optimizing athletic performance and overall health.  The symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiome, energy harvesting, nutrient absorption, and metabolism underscores its significance for athletes aiming to achieve peak performance.  Prioritizing gut health is the key to unlocking improved energy utilization, contributing to better endurance, quicker recovery, and sustained excellence.  As we dive deeper into this understanding, the question remains: how do we apply this knowledge to our lives?  The answer lies in the food we consume. Incorporating a diverse range of fiber-rich and probiotic foods, along with polyphenol-rich options (berries, tea, and dark chocolate), while minimizing processed foods, forms a foundation for nurturing a resilient microbiome.  Furthermore, recognizing the vital role of hydration in maintaining gut health emphasizes the need to stay adequately hydrated.  By incorporating these dietary and lifestyle practices, individuals can actively contribute to cultivating a balanced and thriving microbiome, promoting not only athletic prowess but also overall well-being.


For More Information About the Microbiome, Check Out These Resources!

Microbiome Presentation and Resources

Calming the Fire! Reducing Inflammation Through Nutrition – includes additional resources


To work with Nicole on improving your gut microbiome or anything else nutrition, health and wellness related, see the links below!

Meet and Greet Before You Book – chat with Nicole K,RD,CD,CSSD to see how we can meet your needs and choose the appt that would fit you best! 

 In-Person Consult with Nicole K, RD,CD,CSSD

Virtual Consult with Nicole K,RD,CD,CSSD

Lets Chat! – 30min Q&A session – this 30 min session helps get any and all of your questions answered about nutrition and exercise. Should you choose to work with me and get a personal plan developed with regular coaching, a portion of the cost of this session will be applied to your next! 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash




Meet Nicole

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.

Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.







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