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Microba: Could one of the secrets to high-performing NRL players lie in the gut?



Brisbane-based gut health testing specialists Microba, have partnered with Australian National Rugby League teams the Kangaroos and Jillaroos to investigate whether one of the secrets to high performance in sport can be found in the gut.

Microba has administered their home-testing kit, Microba Insight™ to Kangaroo and Jillaroo players ahead of their 2019/2020 representative season, to discover if making changes to their diet and influencing their gut microbiome can assist in driving performance.

The local biotech is a world leader in gut microbiome testing which looks at the bacteria living in a person’s gut, the functions they are performing, the potential of that bacteria and how they can improve gut microbiome health with dietary and lifestyle changes.

Microba CEO Blake Wills said that working with elite athletes provided a great opportunity to test how effective influencing the gut microbiome could be on performance.

“Working with the NRL has given us a mutually beneficial chance to investigate the best ways to impact sporting performance by influencing the gut microbiome with diet and lifestyle,” he said.

The athletes will have their individual gut microbiomes tested, with personalised reports, tailored dietary suggestions and the opportunity to talk with Microba’s team of scientists, Accredited Practising Dietitians and Nutritionists about changes they can make to boost performance based on how their gut microbiome absorbs nutrients, the capacity of their gut bacteria to produce beneficial substances and their metabolism function.

Recent research has shown that a certain species of bacteria in the gut microbiome appears to be more abundant after exercise in some individuals, impacting the way that bacteria break down lactate.

This study on the Veillonella bacteria has opened up a world of possibility around simple, accessible ways that athletes could potentially increase performance.

Australian Kangaroos Elite Performance Manager Troy Thomson has championed the efforts, seeking the best possible natural advantage for his players in the coming season.

“Microba are providing a great opportunity to find ways we can alter our athletes’ diets while in camp and on the road to see if we can find even a small way to increase their performance,” he said.

“It is our hope that this type of intervention could translate across other teams in the NRL as a best practice for healthy, high-performing players.”

Microba’s experts and the NRL will look at the test results and decide on the best dietary changes going forward to boost the teams’ performance and ensure player gut microbiome health is at a high level.

ENDS