On the pitch, victory depends on athleticism, team spirit and of course strategy. It also owes a lot to the trillion invisible microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites, non-pathogenic fungi) present in the intestines of players. Unique to everyone, this gut microbiota (also called intestinal flora) partly determines our state of health. It plays a key role in digestive, metabolic, immune and neurological functions.
Lifestyle, diet or other external elements such as sports activity can then vary it, positively or negatively. This is what prompted Stade Rennes to join forces with the Rennes company Nahibu, the French leader in gut microbiota analysis.
“The goal is to improve the state of form and performance of the players,” explains Dr Rufin Boumpoutou, Stade Rennes doctor. Every month during the season, around fifteen volunteer players will have a stool sample analyzed. This will allow them to follow the evolution of their intestinal flora and correct any imbalances thanks to personalized nutritional advice.
“We have prioritized those who have specific problems. Some, for example, have digestive problems after games or longer recovery times, ”notes the medical coordinator.
Provide fiber or probiotics
The first analyzes were launched two weeks ago with results expected within three or four weeks. “We already carry out a lot of reviews on the players in normal times. Unlike a blood test, for example, Nahibu’s solution is not invasive for them, ”says Dr Boumpoutou. According to Pierre Cressard, the founder of the Rennes company, “the first thing to look at is the diversity of the microbiota. The more important it is, the better. We can recover the lost wealth by providing more fiber or probiotics. We will also be interested in short-chain fatty acid markers ”.
The Veillonella bacteria, very common in marathon runners, thus makes it possible to increase running capacities by transforming lactate into proprionate which has anti-inflammatory properties. With few scientific publications focusing on the links between high-level sport and intestinal microbiota, this collaboration also fuels the ambition to advance research.