While ‘shaking-it up’ may not seem the most scientific of concepts, recent research(1) has for the first time uncovered how whole body vibration can benefit our microbiome and our inflammatory immune response. Whole body vibration has previously been studied in reference to diabetes due to the apparent improvements in how our body uses glucose. Now, it seems the benefits may be even more far-reaching.
Taking a step back, Dr Babak Baban, who was involved in the study, compares the microbiome to a casserole with many layers, and says that ‘one way whole body vibration may work is by rearranging those layers’.
The most dramatic finding concerning the microbiome was the 17-fold increase in Alistipes, a bacterium that has been found to decrease inflammation in the gut. They also noticed a general decrease in the diversity of the microbiome. Whilst lower diversity is normally linked to poorer health, in this case the decreased variety is just an outcome of the significant increase in Alistipes, which are highly anti-inflammatory and may improve health.
The study also showed that whole body vibration may alter immune function by shifting the macrophage(2) profile of the mice used in the study. Some macrophages (M1) promote inflammation whilst others (M2) suppress it and the balance between them is crucial in regulating the inflammatory immune response. It was observed that mice receiving the treatment had a significant increase in M2s as well as an increase in their levels of other anti-inflammatory molecules.
Given the number of health conditions associated with an imbalanced inflammatory response, these findings may contribute to better treatment options in the future. Similarly, the skin-gut axis means improving the health of the gut microbiome may also support skin health.