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Muscle builders frequently consume protein supplements, but little is known about their effect on the gut microbiota. This study compared the gut microbiome and metabolome of selfidentified muscle builders who did or did not report consuming a protein supplement. Twenty-two participants (14 males and 8 females) consumed a protein supplement (PS), and seventeen participants (12 males and 5 females) did not (No PS). Participants provided a fecal sample and completed a 24-h food recall (ASA24). The PS group consumed significantly more protein (118 ± 12 g No PS vs. 169 ± 18 g PS, p = 0.02). Fecal metabolome and microbiome were analyzed by using untargeted metabolomics and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, respectively. Metabolomic analysis identified distinct metabolic profiles driven by allantoin (VIP score = 2.85, PS 2.3-fold higher), a catabolic product of uric acid. High-protein diets contain large quantities of purines, which gut microbes degrade to uric acid and then allantoin. The bacteria order Lactobacillales was higher in the PS group (22.6 ± 49 No PS vs. 136.5 ± 38.1, PS (p = 0.007)), and this bacteria family facilitates purine absorption and uric acid decomposition. Bacterial genes associated with nucleotide metabolism pathways (p < 0.001) were more highly expressed in the No PS group. Both fecal metagenomic and metabolomic analyses revealed that the PS group’s higher protein intake impacted nitrogen metabolism, specifically altering nucleotide degradation.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.