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Probiotic supplements for athletes

Probiotic supplements for athletes

The Probiotic supplements for athletes is also responsible for assessing health arhletes made for probiotic products. Probiotics may also interact with Athltes receptors TLRs and downregulate the Probiotic supplements for athletes of atnletes factor NF -κB and pro-inflammatory cytokines [ 49suplements ]. Compared to placebo, supplementation Probiotic supplements for athletes the maturation marker of plasmacytoid Micronutrient deficiencies and cognitive function pDC CD86 spplements, responsible for the antiviral response, and decreased the cumulative days of URTI symptoms. Andy is a sports science writer and researcher, specializing in sports nutrition and has worked in the field of fitness and sports performance for over 30 years, helping athletes to reach their true potential. fermentumB. Based in Europe with Worldwide Coverage Currently we only accept members who are based in Europe, since this is where we provide the best medical coverage. Recently, the ability to modulate the fatty acid composition of the liver and adipose tissue of the host upon oral administration of CLA-producing bifidobacteria and lactobacilli has been demonstrated in a murine model [ ].

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Probiotic supplements for athletes -

Unique in comparison to other dietary supplements, probiotic preparations contain live, viable, defined microorganisms in sufficient numbers to provide beneficial health effects [ 6 ].

Table 1 provides an overview of common definitions and classifications related to probiotic research. In , Elie Metchnikoff [ 7 ] suggested that it would be possible to modify the microbiota in our bodies and replace harmful microbes with useful microbes.

Reported health benefits of probiotics include modulation of the immune response, maintenance of the intestinal barrier, antagonism of pathogen adhesion to host tissue, and production of different metabolites such as vitamins, short-chain fatty acids SCFAs , and molecules that act as neurotransmitters involved in gut—brain axis communication [ 8 ].

In the last several decades, research in the area of probiotics has progressed considerably and significant advances have been made in the selection and characterization of specific probiotic cultures. A growing number of dietary supplements containing probiotics are commercially available worldwide, and the number of products being marketed to improve the health and performance of athletes continues to increase substantially.

To appropriately describe a probiotic, the genus, species, and strain of each live microorganism see Table 2 must be detailed on a product label. The difference between a Homo sapiens and its most closely related species, the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes is Reassociation rates of humans with other primates like Gorilla Analyzing potential health benefits of probiotics must occur on a strain level, and consumption of probiotic products only disclosing genus and species, but not the strain, on the label should be discouraged.

Probiotic benefits are strain specific and probiotics must be described as genus, species and strain, as genetic variation between the same genus and species can be as significant as the difference between a human and a lemur illustration by Stephen Somers, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Probiotics are available commercially in capsule or tablet forms, as powder sachets, in the form of liquids and in specific foods such as yogurt and nutrition bars. While fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, contain live microbes, they are currently not classified as probiotics, as those products have not been sufficiently studied for their health benefit as stipulated by the definition of probiotics.

Stability concerns during manufacture and shelf-life limit food and supplement delivery forms. Probiotics exhibit strain-specific differences in their ability to colonize the gastrointestinal GI tract, clinical efficacy, and the type and magnitude of benefits to health in a range of different population cohorts [ 10 ].

The effects of probiotics in athletes have been less described in comparison to animal studies and human clinical conditions in the general population. However, the body of probiotic research in recreational and competitive athletes is expanding, including investigations in GI health, exercise performance, recovery, physical fatigue, immunity, and body composition.

Numerous factors such as age, genetics, drug use, stress, smoking, and especially diet can all affect the gut microbiome, influencing a complex ecosystem that is highly dynamic and individual [ 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ]. In relation, physical activity has been an area of growing interest in gut microbiome research and appears to promote a health-associated microbiota.

In the context of athletes, the present body of literature suggests their microbiota has several key differences in comparison to other populations, likely driven, in part, by exercise and diet.

Indeed, several observational studies have investigated the difference in the composition of the gut microbiota between those who are highly physically active including athletes and a range of other populations.

Reported results include that a higher abundance of health-promoting bacterial species [ 15 , 16 , 17 ], increased microbiome diversity [ 16 , 18 ], and greater relative increases in metabolic pathways e.

amino acid and antibiotic biosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism and fecal metabolites e. microbial produced SCFAs; acetate, propionate, and butyrate are associated with enhanced fitness [ 17 , 19 ]. The current evidence supports the role of exercise as an important behavioral factor that can affect qualitative and quantitative changes in the gut microbial composition with benefit to the host.

Exercise appears to be able to enrich microbiota diversity [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 ], increase the Bacteroidetes-Firmicutes ratio [ 23 ], stimulate the proliferation of bacteria which can modulate mucosal immunity [ 26 ], improve barrier functions [ 27 ], and stimulate bacteria capable of producing substances that protect against GI disorders [ 28 , 29 ].

Recent research provides further evidence for a role of exercise in shaping the microbiome, with elite runners having a greater abundance of Veillonella that appears to confer a metabolic advantage for endurance exercise by converting exercise-induced lactate to propionate.

It is likely that the diverse, metabolically favorable intestinal microbiome evident in the elite athlete is the cumulative manifestation of many years of high nutrient intake and high degrees of physical activity and training throughout youth, adolescence and during adult participation in professional sports [ 31 ].

In researching the human gut microbiota, it is difficult to examine exercise and diet separately as this relationship is compounded by changes in dietary intakes that often are associated with physical activity e. Furthermore, comparing the microbiota of non-athletes to athletes and ascribing any observed differences to exercise alone is not advisable.

Athletes generally consume a diet that differs from the general population that has implications for the composition of the gut microbiome. Various food components, dietary patterns, and nutrients all have the potential to alter considerably the growth of different gut microbial populations.

Protein intake appears to be a strong modulator of the microbiota [ 20 , 32 , 34 ], with whey protein showing some potential benefits that need further study in humans [ 31 , 35 ].

In athletes, higher intakes of carbohydrates and dietary fiber appear to be associated with increased abundance of Prevotella [ 17 , 38 ]. The specific effects of fat on the gut microbiota is difficult to isolate, however, the types of fats consumed appear to be important [ 39 ].

Increased fat intake may promote higher concentrations of bile-tolerant bacteria presumably because an extremely high fat intake is known to increase bile acid secretion [ 32 ]. Further research is needed to determine the synthesis kinetics and clinical consequence of bile acids and their by-products during increased nutritional intake and metabolic demands during exercise.

Based on the current body of evidence, the athlete gut microbiome may possess a functional capacity that is primed for tissue repair and a greater ability to harness energy from the diet with increased capacity for carbohydrate, cell structure, and nucleotide biosynthesis [ 19 ]. This assertion reflects the significant energy demands and tissue adaptation that occurs during intense exercise and elite sport.

It appears that being physically active is another important factor in the relationship between the microbiota and host metabolism. Intervention-based studies to delineate this relationship will be important and may provide further insights into optimal therapies to influence the gut microbiota, and its relationship with health and disease as well as athletic performance.

Early research indicates that gut bacteria reflect the activity level of its host. Strenuous and prolonged exercise places stress on the GI tract that increases the likelihood of multiple symptoms associated with a disturbed gut microbiota and decreased performance [ 40 ], including abdominal cramping, acid reflux heartburn , nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and permeability of the gut that may precipitate systemic endotoxemia [ 41 ].

As a major gateway for pathogen entry, the GI tract is heavily protected by the immune system. Modulation of the immune system to increase defenses against upper respiratory tract infection URTI is the potential benefit of probiotics for athletes that has been most extensively researched [ 40 ].

The microbiome may also have indirect functional influence on various indices of exercise performance and recovery [ 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 ].

Therefore, probiotics as functional modulators of the microbiome can potentially promote health, exercise adaptation, and performance in athletes. Probiotics may regulate the mucosal immune response [ 47 ], improve the activity of macrophages [ 48 ] and modulate the expression of the genes associated with macrophage activity.

Probiotics may also interact with Toll-like receptors TLRs and downregulate the expression of nuclear factor NF -κB and pro-inflammatory cytokines [ 49 , 50 ].

Additionally, levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and immunoglobulins, immune cell proliferation, and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by T cells may be modulated following probiotic supplementation [ 51 , 52 ].

However, it is often difficult to study athletes during training and competition, and a wide range of interactions between diet, physical activity and other lifestyle stresses needs to be considered.

Understanding whether probiotics play a role in athletic performance is of particular interest to athletes who work to improve their results in competition as well as reduce recovery time during training.

Moreover, this knowledge may be relevant and of direct benefit to general human health. The study of probiotic supplementation in athletes and physically active individuals is quite new with the first study in humans published by Clancy et al.

The number of products containing probiotics directed towards those that exercise is increasing. Research specifically designed to investigate the effect of probiotic supplementation on performance has been less common and overall the results are mixed.

Earlier studies that reported performance outcomes generally had primary aims related to immunity and GI health. Of the 24 studies that assessed some metric of athletic performance, 17 reported a null effect, while 7 reported significant improvement. However, more recent research indicates that probiotic supplementation can promote improvements in exercise performance through various pathways in athletes and physically active individuals using discrete strains of probiotics.

Some studies have used single probiotic strain interventions. For example, in a week study investigating the effect of Lactobacillus fermentum VRI on the immunity in 20 elite male distance runners, measures of performance which included training duration, intensity, and VO 2 max did not change significantly [ 57 ].

fermentum PCC® had no effect on peak power or VO 2 max [ 61 ]. Four weeks of supplementation with Lactobacillus gasseri OLL and alpha-lactalbumin in 44 university-student athletes did not improve cycle ergometer performance [ 67 ].

Gill et al. The single strain interventions used in these five studies did not produce an aerobic performance benefit. Null findings were similarly reported in several studies investigating the effects of multi-strain probiotics on aerobic performance. In another study assessing the effects of a multi-strain probiotic along with Marshall et al.

However positive results were reported in thirty endurance athletes supplementing with a yogurt drink, either containing Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp.

There was a significant increase in VO 2 max and aerobic power in the Cooper aerobic test [ 45 ]. the placebo group [ 78 ]. One explanation for these findings could be that probiotics may enable better performance capabilities and training adherence when the risk of URTI development is reduced, as individuals with fewer episodes of infections such as common colds are able to train more often and harder.

Further, Strasser et al. Interestingly, VO 2 max was positively correlated with pre-exercise serum tryptophan levels at a moderate magnitude, supporting a role of tryptophan metabolism in training performance. Huang et al. However, as these were untrained males and no aerobic exercise intervention was reported in this study, these data should be interpreted conservatively in relation to endurance athletes.

These results might be explained by an anti-inflammatory effect from L. plantarum TWK10 [ 92 ] on skeletal muscle and improvement in energy harvest, possibly related to glycogenesis regulation for exercise demand.

Interestingly, L. plantarum KX can maintain intestinal permeability and exert antioxidant capacity [ 93 ]. Moreover, certain strains of L. plantarum activate cell growth signaling pathways in gut enterocytes which in turn increases protein metabolism in the gut [ 94 ].

Further, L. plantarum can rescue the shunted growth phenotype in malnourished mice by activating muscle, bone, and organ growth [ 95 ]. In a study investigating the effect of a multi-strain probiotic yogurt on performance in adolescent female endurance swimmers over 8 weeks, there was a significant improvement in VO 2 max [ 44 ].

The improvement in VO 2 max was attributed to the reduction in number and duration of URTI for athletes following intake of the multi-strain probiotic yogurt. In another study researching the effect of multi-strain probiotics Shing et al.

While the mechanism for improvement was unclear, it was speculated that probiotics may exert small to large effects on GI structural integrity, endotoxin translocation and immune modulation that combine to enhance exercise performance.

Currently, there are more studies showing a benefit for multi-strain probiotics in relation to performance measures compared to single-strain probiotics. While there are some encouraging results, a large majority of studies have found no effect on aerobic performance.

It appears that some of the positive benefits of probiotic supplementation may be indirect by allowing for improved gut integrity or immune modulation. However, additional research is warranted including investigating potential performance outcomes beyond aerobic-based endurance exercise.

Other studies have explored the effect of probiotic supplementation in relation to resistance training on muscle recovery and body composition. Jäger et al. coagulans GBI, BC30 or a placebo in recreationally-trained individuals for 2 weeks increased recovery and decreased soreness after a muscle-damaging single-leg training bout [ 43 ].

Furthermore, exercise-induced muscle damage was decreased as measured by serum creatine kinase, which may also indicate improved cellular integrity rather than damage per se. While not fully understood, candidate mechanisms of action included the production of digestive enzymes that are active under gut conditions e.

alkaline proteases and these proteases can digest proteins more efficiently than the endogenous human proteases alone [ 43 , 96 , 97 ]. Further, B. coagulans GBI, enhances the health of the cells of the gut lining through improved nutrient absorption including minerals, peptides, and amino acids by decreasing inflammation and encouraging optimum development of the absorptive area of the villi [ 98 ].

In vitro, B. coagulans GBI, can increase protein absorption [ 99 ]. The combination of B. coagulans GBI, with casein protein may have acted synergistically to augment digestion and modulate absorption.

In fifteen resistance-trained men, 3 weeks of Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and S. thermophilus FP4 supplementation improved isometric mean peak torque production and range-of-motion during acute recovery after a muscle-damaging elbow flexor exercise challenge in comparison to a control group [ 42 ].

While mechanisms behind these observations were not described, these strains can have anti-inflammatory effects [ , , ] and colonize in different areas of the GI tract. However, using the same strains and dose, Antonio et al. In both of the above studies participants were not provided supplemental protein.

Toohey et al. Probiotic supplementation with the post-workout recovery drink yielded greater reductions in body fat and increases in fat free mass after 10 weeks of resistance training than a placebo.

Although no performance advantages were observed, Toohey et al. It seems that several strains of lactic acid bacteria, including L. gasseri SBT , Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC , and the combination of L.

rhamnosus ATCC and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12, are effective at reducing fat mass in obese humans [ ]. Additionally, other strains of B.

breve have shown anti-obesity effects in both humans [ ] and mice [ ]. Townsend et al. There were no group differences observed between those who took the probiotic and placebo for any measure of strength, performance, or body composition.

However, those athletes who did supplement with probiotics had significantly lower serum TNF-α concentrations than the placebo group.

Elevations in TNF-α have been linked to suppressed protein synthesis, disordered sleep, and impaired muscular performance [ , , ]. The null performance findings reported by Townsend et al. Indeed, the subjects in these two studies were young, healthy and highly active.

In this regard, systematic reviews [ , ] and an original investigation involving supplementation [ ] of probiotic supplementation in adults indicate that probiotic supplementation is more likely to alter the microbiome composition of dysregulated microbiomes compared to healthy ones.

While probiotic consumption may not alter microbiome composition, it can alter functionality by up regulation of gene expression and metabolic pathways.

As noted for aerobic performance, it is also plausible that probiotic supplementation confers an indirect effect on performance and that the training, diet, and recovery of the individuals in some of these studies were optimal enough to mask any small additional benefits.

The mucosal lining of the GI tract represents the first-line-of-defense against invading pathogens and is an important interface with the host immune system.

Exhaustive physical exercise negatively impacts immunity, reducing of the count and function of immune cells, such as natural killer NK cells and T lymphocytes. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, TNF-α and IFN-γ generally remain unchanged after prolonged exercise whereas the inflammation-responsive cytokine IL-6 and anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL, IL-1ra, sTNFR increase markedly.

The increase in IL-6 is not solely in response to inflammation in this situation as it also originates from contracting muscle and is associated with glycogen regulation.

Gene expression in white blood cells is upregulated for most anti-inflammatory markers and downregulated for pro-inflammatory markers and TLR signaling. The anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol is also elevated [ 53 , 57 , 59 , , ].

In this context, interventions that prevent or mitigate these conditions can indirectly improve physical and competition performance.

Among the nutritional supplements used in modulation of the immune response of athletes, probiotics are noteworthy [ 92 ]. Probiotics appear to augment intestinal communication between the host immune system and commensal bacteria to establish mutualistic benefits. The roles of microbial-derived SCFAs, particularly butyric acid in the colon, are important in mucosal homeostasis through regulation of epithelial turnover and induction of regulatory T Treg cells [ ].

Beyond the GI tract, probiotics have an immunomodulatory effect through the common mucosal immune system, in which cells from inductive sites e.

Research investigating the effects of probiotics on immune outcomes have been the most prevalent type of research in athletic populations. Of the 22 studies reviewed in this Position Stand that assessed the effect of probiotics on outcomes related to the immune system, 14 reported significant improvement, whereas 8 reported no effects.

lactis Bl and double-strain probiotic consisting of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and B. animalis subsp. lactis Bi to placebo over a day intervention. Daily B. animalis ssp.

Importantly, healthy active individuals with a lighter training load, and presumably at a lower risk for URTIs, also appeared to benefit from a probiotic supplement. The majority of studies that have investigated the potential benefits of probiotics on URTIs have been conducted in endurance athletes with generally high training loads.

For example, Cox et al. Probiotic supplementation significantly reduced URTI incidence and severity compared to placebo. Specifically, those in the treatment group reported less than half the number of days of respiratory illness symptoms compared to the control group during the intervention.

While not significant, there was a trend for enhanced T-lymphocyte function, which may be in part responsible for the immunological benefits. Similarly, Gleeson et al. In addition, salivary IgA concentration was significantly higher in those consuming the probiotic.

However, severity and duration of symptoms were similar between the treatment and placebo groups. In competitive cyclists, West et al. fermentum PCC® compared to placebo.

Interestingly, this effect was only noted in males and not females. Strasser et al. Daily supplementation with probiotics reduced the incidence of URTI compared to placebo.

In addition, supplementation limited exercise-induced reductions in tryptophan levels, which may reduce the risk of developing an infection.

Beyond studies investigating traditional endurance athletes with high aerobic training loads, probiotic supplementation has also been examined in other athletes with varying demands.

For instance, Salarkia et al. Haywood et al. The probiotic group had lower incidence of infection-related symptoms compared to placebo, although there was no difference in the severity of the symptoms between the two treatment groups.

In a study of an eclectic group of elite athletes training in badminton, triathlon, cycling, alpinism, athletics, karate, savate, kayak, judo, tennis, and swimming, Michalickova et al.

Supplementation with the probiotic significantly reduced the length of URTI episodes and lowered the number of symptoms per episode compared to placebo. Previously, this ratio has been noted as an index sensitive to high training loads and was decreased after strenuous physical activity [ 36 , ].

Several studies that assessed similar outcomes did not report significant effects from probiotic supplementation compared to placebo.

For example, a week study on non-elite marathon runners during pollen season supplementing daily with L. rhammnosus GG LGG did not find a significant effect on allergic markers [ 54 ] or on the incidence of UTRI episodes [ 55 ].

Similarly, there was no significant effect on URTI incidence in a study investigating the effect of L. In addition, there was no difference in salivary IgA or total and differential leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets. Gleeson et al. salivarius on 66 endurance-based recreational athletes during a four-month period in the spring.

There was little effect on frequency, severity or duration of URTIs. In addition, circulating and salivary immune markers did not change over the course of the study and were not different between probiotic and placebo groups. casei Shirota on the incidence of URTIs over a week period during the winter in college endurance athletes.

Similarly, there was no significant difference between those that consumed the probiotic and the placebo treatment. However, there was a reduction in plasma cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus antibody titers in seropositive athletes compared to placebo, an effect interpreted as a benefit to overall immune status.

While these null findings are important to consider, the current overall body of evidence is weighted notably in favor of probiotics on reduction of URTIs and related symptoms. However, a central issue in relation to the effects of probiotics on immunity, and probiotic research in general, is the large assortment of strains used.

Shared, core mechanisms for probiotic function are evident, although some mechanisms may be more narrowly distributed, including those related to immunomodulation [ ].

In addition, it is important to note that immune response is complex, as are many of the methodologies used to measure it. For example, an immunomodulatory effect of probiotics is attributed to the release of a large number of cytokines and chemokines from immune cells, which can further impact the innate and adaptive immune systems [ ].

Therefore, it is not surprising that the beneficial effect of probiotic administration on the incidence of respiratory illness is possibly linked enhancement of systemic and mucosal immunity. It is possible changes occurred at this level and were not detected in studies that only measured URTI associated metrics.

Future work in this area should pair the investigation of URTI incidence and symptomology with other markers of immune response to provide a more thorough understanding of how different probiotics might influence the immune system.

Although less common than symptom outcomes, several studies have provided encouraging evidence in regard to changes in circulating and salivary immune markers. For instance, Clancy et al. One month of daily L. acidophilus supplementation significantly increased secretion of interferon IFN -γ from T cells in fatigued athletes to levels found in healthy athletes and increased the concentration of IFN-γ in saliva of healthy control athletes.

IFN-γ is a cytokine intricately linked to mechanisms of control of both virus shedding and disease re-activation. Sashihara et al. gasseri OLL supplementation for 4-weeks in 44 university-student athletes. The probiotic supplementation prevented reduced NK cell activity after strenuous exercise which may enhance resistance against infections.

In another short-term study, Aghaee et al. In a longer duration study, Michalickova et al. Those that consumed the probiotic exhibited attenuated decreases in total salivary IgA level compared to athletes in the placebo group.

Given the fact that mucosal surface is the first-line-of-defense against different pathogens, this finding might have a practical application in terms of prevention of URTIs during strenuous exercise in elite athletes.

These effects could include the production of antimicrobials, such as bacteriocins, and low molecular weight compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, and acetic acid [ , , ].

These substances could function to outcompete pathogenic bacteria and help in easing or preventing URTI symptoms [ ]. In contrast, West et al. paracasei L. casei ® , B.

lactis BB® , L. acidophilus LA-5, L. rhamnosus GG on markers of circulating and mucosal immunity in 22 recreational cyclists over a three-week training period. In another small study of the effects of a multi-strain probiotic L. acidophilus , L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus , Lactococcus lactis ssp.

lactis , L. casei , L. helveticus , L. plantarum , L. rhamnosus , L. salivarius ssp. salivarius , B. breve , Bifidobacterium bifidum , B. infantis , Bifidobacterium longum , B. subtilis , and S. Using a high-dose probiotic treatment, Gill et al.

Supplementation did not enhance salivary antimicrobial proteins responses and subsequent oral-respiratory mucosal immune status above placebo.

Finally, Carbuhn et al. longum 35, supplementation in 20 female Division I collegiate swimmers during a 6-week intense training phase on IgA. There were no difference in salivary IgA between groups throughout the study in agreement with a study investigating B.

subtilis DE in collegiate baseball players [ 83 ]. Overall, the effect of probiotic supplementation on the immune system in athletes is likely positive and beneficial. Episodes of illness often occur during heavy exercise training periods, a time when athletes obtain the greatest improvements in fitness.

Illness that interrupts individual training sessions may prevent athletes from maximizing the effects of their training program. Therefore, probiotic supplementation may be viewed as a viable dietary supplement to support immune function during these periods.

GI problems often occur in endurance athletes and particularly during prolonged events such as cycling, triathlons and marathons [ 41 , ]. Symptoms such as nausea, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea most likely reflect redistribution of blood flow from the gut to the skin for cooling purposes.

Exercise-induced redistribution of blood can result in splanchnic hypoperfusion as a possible mechanism for gut dysfunction [ , ].

The physical up-and down movement of the gut during running could also explain an increase in the frequency of gut symptoms [ 41 ].

Interactions between prolonged exercise, challenging environmental conditions temperature, altitude, humidity, etc. Disruption in the GI system can impair the delivery of nutrients, and cause GI symptoms and decreased performance. The GI tract and particularly the gut are quite adaptable and can be targeted to improve the delivery of nutrients during exercise while at the same time alleviating some or all of the symptoms [ ].

A major limitation of studies in this field is that the prevalence of GI illnesses overall is quite low, which makes it difficult to study without a large number of subjects. Probiotic supplementation in combination with other dietary strategies e.

consuming well-tolerated foods and drinks, avoiding spicy foods could assist athletes with a history of GI problems. Moreover, probiotic supplementation potentially could improve GI health which has several indirect athletic benefits. Of the ten studies that assessed GI benefit in athletes and physically active individuals, the majority reported no effect.

Further, the overall result is not conclusive as four studies reported positive results. This latter group included significantly decreased concentrations of zonulin [ 63 ] and endotoxin [ 77 ], as well as intestinal hyperpermeability [ ] and duration of GI-symptom episode.

Research in this area has only been conducted intermittently over the past 10 years, with the need for future studies apparent.

In the first reported study investigating the effects of probiotics on GI health, Kekkonen et al. rhamnosus GG on GI-symptom episodes in marathon runners after a three-month training period. Eight weeks of supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic yogurt in adolescent female endurance swimmers did not affect GI symptoms [ 44 ].

In a study of elite union rugby players, subjects given a multi-strain probiotic over 4 weeks did not experience a significant reduction in GI episodes including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea compared to the placebo [ 69 ].

Investigating markers of gut permeability, West et al. Lamprecht et al. Zonulin concentrations decreased significantly from slightly above normal into the physiological range in subjects that supplemented with the probiotics.

Zonulin is a protein of the haptoglobin family released from liver and intestinal epithelial cells and has been described as the main physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions [ ].

Increased zonulin concentrations are related to changes in tight junction competency and increased GI permeability [ ].

Shing et al. To assess GI permeability, subjects ingested lactulose and rhamnose before exercise and post-exercise urine was collected to measure the ratio. Further, urinary claudin-3, a surrogate marker of gut barrier disruption, and serum lipopolysaccharide LPS were measured.

There was no significant effect on lactulose:rhamnose ratio, urinary claudin-3 or serum LPS and it is possible that 4 weeks may not have been sufficient to detect changes.

In short-term, high dose single-strain probiotic supplementation L. casei , male runners under heat stress did not exhibit any marked changes in resting circulatory endotoxin concentration or plasma cytokine profile compared with placebo [ 76 ].

Conversely, Roberts et al. However, no difference was identified in the assessment of intestinal permeability from urinary lactulose:mannitol ratio.

This effect was reported both pre-race and 6 days post-race. Additionally, seven highly-trained endurance athletes who received 4 weeks of L. salivarius UCC attenuated exercise-induced intestinal hyperpermeability [ ]. subtilis DE had no effect on gut permeability as measured by zonulin in Division I baseball players [ 83 ].

Given that different strains and product formulations exist, explaining the mechanism of action becomes a rather complex task. An additional challenge in probiotic research is that a mechanism of action involving the gut microbiota is not confirmed, or even examined, in the majority of cases and there certainly are mechanisms outside of the GI tract systemically and in other microbiota niches.

This shortcoming further emphasizes the need to not use the general term probiotics, when describing mechanisms of action, but try to specify the strains [ ]. This does not mean the mechanisms are the same for each strain, nor that precise mechanisms have been proven.

For example, bacterial strains such as L. reuteri SD ATCC and L. reuteri RC are different genetically and functionally, with the former producing reuterin believed to be important for inhibition of pathogens in the gut [ ] and the latter producing biosurfactants that inhibit attachment of uropathogens [ ].

Finally, several food products and dietary supplements may contain multiple species and strains in the same product. To fully explain the in-depth mechanisms of action is both out of the scope of this Position Statement and poorly understood in general.

However, interested readers are directed to other resources [ , ]. The question whether multi-strain or multi-species probiotics are better than single strain or single species probiotics depends on the outcome measure, dosage, and study population.

Potential additive or even synergistic benefits would need to be validated in a control clinical study, and currently those data do not exist. Mechanisms of action in relation to the effects of probiotic supplementation in athletes has been less described [ 40 ].

Here we discuss support of the gut epithelial barrier, increased adhesion to intestinal mucosa, the effects of postbiotics, modulation of the immune system, and improved nutrient absorption.

The intestinal barrier is a major defense mechanism used to maintain epithelial integrity and protect the host from the environment.

Defenses of the intestinal barrier consist of the mucous layer, antimicrobial peptides, secretory IgA and the epithelial junction adhesion complex [ ]. Once this barrier function is disrupted, bacterial and food antigens can reach the submucosa and induce inflammatory responses [ , ]. Consumption of non-pathogenic bacteria can contribute to intestinal barrier function, and probiotic bacteria have been extensively studied for their involvement in the maintenance of this barrier.

However, the mechanisms by which probiotics enhance intestinal barrier function are not fully understood. Anderson et al. Probiotics may promote mucous secretion as one mechanism to improve barrier function and the exclusion of pathogens. Several Lactobacillus species have been noted to increase mucin expression in human intestinal cell lines and, in the case of a damaged mucosa, may thus help restoration of the mucus layer.

Well, they can enhance our immune system, making us more resistant to infections. They can also help in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from our food, ensuring that we get the most out of what we eat.

Additionally, probiotics can produce certain compounds, such as short-chain fatty acids, that have anti-inflammatory properties and can contribute to a healthy gut environment. Our bodies are home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiota.

These microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, play a vital role in maintaining our overall health. Probiotics help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut, improving the balance of the microbiota and supporting the proper functioning of our digestive system. The human gut is a complex ecosystem, hosting a diverse community of microorganisms.

This community, often referred to as the gut microbiome , is involved in various physiological processes, such as digestion, metabolism, and immune response.

When the balance of the gut microbiota is disrupted, it can lead to various health issues, including digestive disorders, allergies, and even mental health disorders. Probiotics can play a crucial role in restoring and maintaining a healthy gut microbiota. By introducing beneficial microorganisms into our gut, probiotics help to crowd out harmful bacteria and restore the balance of the microbiome.

This can have a positive impact on our overall health and well-being. Furthermore, probiotics have been found to have a beneficial effect on certain medical conditions. For example, they have been shown to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome IBS , a common digestive disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

Probiotics can also help prevent and treat diarrhea, particularly when it is caused by antibiotics or infections. It's important to note that not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of microorganisms may have different effects on our health, and the benefits of probiotics can vary depending on the individual.

Therefore, it's essential to choose the right probiotic strain and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any probiotic supplementation. Athletic performance is a complex interplay of various factors, including physical fitness, training regimen, and nutrition. In recent years, researchers have turned their attention to the potential role of probiotics in enhancing athletic performance.

Probiotics, which are live microorganisms that confer health benefits when consumed, have been widely studied for their positive effects on gut health and immune function. However, emerging evidence suggests that probiotics may also influence energy levels and muscle recovery, two key aspects of athletic performance.

One of the key factors that contribute to athletic performance is the body's ability to efficiently utilize energy. Research suggests that probiotics may play a role in energy metabolism by assisting in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from food. The gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota, which help in the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Probiotics, when consumed, can modulate the composition and activity of the gut microbiota, leading to improved nutrient availability. By enhancing nutrient availability, probiotics may help athletes sustain their energy levels during prolonged physical activity.

For example, certain strains of probiotics have been shown to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which are an important source of energy for the cells lining the colon.

These fatty acids can be absorbed by the body and used as an additional source of fuel during exercise. Furthermore, probiotics have been found to promote the production of certain vitamins, such as B vitamins, which are essential for energy metabolism.

B vitamins play a crucial role in converting food into energy, and their adequate availability is vital for optimal athletic performance. By supporting the production and absorption of B vitamins, probiotics may contribute to improved energy utilization in athletes.

Muscle recovery is another crucial aspect of athletic performance. Intense exercise can lead to muscle damage and inflammation, impacting an athlete's ability to perform at their best.

Probiotics have been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid in reducing muscle soreness and accelerating the recovery process. When the body undergoes strenuous exercise, it triggers an inflammatory response as a natural part of the healing process.

However, excessive or prolonged inflammation can impede recovery and hinder performance. Probiotics, by modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation, may help athletes recover faster from intense workouts and training sessions.

Additionally, probiotics have been shown to enhance the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as propionate.

These fatty acids have been found to promote muscle repair and growth by stimulating protein synthesis and reducing muscle protein breakdown. By supporting muscle recovery at a cellular level, probiotics may aid in the repair of damaged muscle tissue and contribute to improved athletic performance.

A growing body of scientific literature has explored the potential benefits of probiotics on athletic performance. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. They are often referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Several studies have reported improvements in endurance, time to exhaustion, and recovery time in athletes who supplemented with probiotics. Currently, due to overall inconsistent observations, the use of probiotics in sport and exercise remains inconclusive.

In addition, further studies investigating the effect of probiotics on acute exercise-induced changes of immune function markers are mandatory to identify the potential effects of probiotics in physically active individuals at different performance levels.

Moreover, the effects of probiotics in women need further examination, since available studies predominantly included male subjects and one study indicated sex-specific differences, reporting a significant reduction in duration and severity of respiratory illness in males, but not in females In general, the heterogeneity in the documentation of GI illness and URTI incidence, duration, severity, and symptoms by self-reporting adds further uncertainty to the evaluation of potential beneficial probiotic effects.

A concerted approach to definition, diagnosis, and documentation, as well as to assessed variables would help to obtain comparable results. This should include the use of validated questionnaires such as the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale GSRS 70 for GI problems and the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey WURSS 78 for URTI.

In addition, it might be necessary to include serological diagnosis of URTI instead of using symptomatic monitoring as recently suggested Since a correlation between an increase in the number of respiratory illnesses and a decrease in s-IgA during training has been observed 79 , s-IgA may be a useful marker with some potential to investigate the connection of immune system function and URTI.

MH and FM contributed to the conception and design of the study. MH performed the systematic literature search. MH, BS, and MT screened records and extracted data.

MH, FM, and BS interpreted the data. MH and BS wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the drafting, revision of the manuscript, and approved the final version of the manuscript.

FM and BS are supported by the European Commission within the Horizon framework program grant number: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers.

Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, Gootenberg DB, Button JE, Wolfe BE, et al.

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JavaScript seems to be athhletes in your browser. For Quenching hydration options best experience ofr Probiotic supplements for athletes supppements, be sure to turn Probiotic supplements for athletes Javascript in your browser. Next Working Day Delivery Available on Disinfectant surface treatments Placed Monday — Friday. Over recent years, probiotics have really come to the fore as an important supplement to consider taking as part of your daily routine. Most importantly, can probiotics help your athletic performance by positively influencing the gut microbiota? Gastrointestinal illnesses and food-related gut issues i. bloating can be a problem for athletes as they may disrupt training, and these symptoms can be supported and alleviated with the use of probiotics to promote good gut health.

Probiotic supplements for athletes -

bloating can be a problem for athletes as they may disrupt training, and these symptoms can be supported and alleviated with the use of probiotics to promote good gut health.

A healthy gut also allows for many other physiological functions to operate normally, such as an improved immune system, good metabolic health and healthy brain function, i.

mood and cognitive performance. Probiotics are live microorganisms good bacteria that provide health benefits to the gastrointestinal GI tract. Probiotics interact directly with the GI tract to positively influence the composition, function and metabolic health of the gut microbiota, ie.

encouraging good gut bacteria. In turn, this can lead to better physical and mental health, as the gut is heavily linked to the health and performance of other physiological functions, such as the brain and immune system. For a detailed look at what exactly probiotics are and how they work, check out our detailed article here.

In short, yes! There is evidence to suggest that probiotic supplementation can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance athletes partaking in endurance events that are likely to cause some degree of gastrointestinal distress, such as running in the heat.

Whilst exactly how probiotics can improve performance are not well known and can be multifactorial, probiotics are known for their involvement in reducing symptoms of gut-related issues and the positive impact that this has on energy metabolism; likely a key influence in athletic performance.

Check out our in-depth X-Change article on Probiotics and Sports Performance for a detailed look at how exactly probiotic intake can affect sports performance for athletes. As with any supplement, there can arguably be pros and cons for athletes considering integrating a daily probiotic into their nutrition strategy.

Probiotics can improve energy levels indirectly, by firstly enhancing the health of the bacteria in the gut, which then has a positive impact on how the body can use the digested food to be metabolised more efficiently for energy.

Probiotic supplements should be taken for at least 4 weeks prior to a main competition, or travel to another country, as this provides sufficient time to enhance the level of good bacteria in the gut. A multivitamin is an insurance policy to ensure that athletes are getting the minimum required vitamins and minerals each day, but this does not replace good quality food i.

fresh fruit and vegetables. Such high volumes of training and environmental factors, such as training in hot or cold weather conditions, or long-haul travel, can further exacerbate the stress placed on the gut to function properly, which is where probiotics come in. Probiotic supplements may then be advised to help alleviate these symptoms to maintain health and training levels, supporting good gut health overall.

We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear. Any athlete can attest to how much changes when you finally figure out the best nutrition strategy for you. The foods you eat before, during, and after a ride or tough workout are essential for both fueling your body and helping it recover after putting in some intense work.

Recently, research has suggested that probiotics , the buzzy bacteria that promotes gut health, may actually be quite valuable for just that.

According to the National Institutes of Health NIH , probiotics are live microorganisms that are meant to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body, in the case of probiotic skincare.

There are a ton of different types of probiotics found naturally occurring in foods and in supplements, and the effects may vary depending on the type of probiotic you consume, the NIH suggests. Other bacteria and yeasts may also be used in probiotic products. The only way you could really figure out the best type of probiotic for you would be by getting a stool test to see which bacteria you could use more of, he says.

It may also play a key role in controlling inflammation and oxidative stress on the body—ultimately resulting in enhanced recovery.

Sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin , R. It takes quite a while for probiotics to actually make a change in your GI tract, says Stefanaski. At least not yet. Then, depending on the person and their bigger health picture, he may suggest a probiotic supplement or refer them to a functional medicine practitioner if they need some more targeted help figuring out the optimal way for them to get good bacteria in their guts.

Remember Login. Register Reset Password. x You are viewing 1 of your 1 free articles. Probiotics: help or hindrance for athletes? Supplements by Andrew Hamilton. Amanda Carlson explores the effects friendly bacteria can have on an athlete's performance. Amanda Carlson explores the effects friendly bacteria can have on an athlete's performance With the abundance of antibacterial soaps, wipes, and even anti-microbial fabrics, most people are aware that bacteria can harm us.

But what about friendly bacteria and in particular, what can they do for athletes? Amanda Carlson looks at the latest evidence. However, the use, visibility and availability of probiotics is a rising trend generally. Probiotics may not improve sport performance directly, but the secondary health benefits of probiotics, which include enhanced recovery from fatigue, improved immune function and the maintenance of a healthy gut, can improve general wellbeing, which then in turn could improve performance on the field of play 1.

The purpose of this article is to break down what probiotics actually are, how they work, why people use them, and how some recent studies may lead to more research to fill an obvious void. Probiotics, prebiotic and synbiotics As with many nutritional concepts, what we see on the shelves and the simplified concepts expressed in the media do not explain the complete story.

The same holds true for probiotics. The probiotic concept states that consuming the right types of microbes can support the important roles that intestinal microbes play in human health 2. Probiotics have a counterpart, prebiotics, which are defined as food ingredients that promote the growth or activity of a limited number of bacterial species for the benefit of host health 4.

Beneficial prebiotics are frequently used in combination with probiotics to stimulate their numbers and their overall functionality.

When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together they form a synbiotic relationship, meaning that the two are working together to create the best possible results. The human intestinal tract is colonised by an estimated different bacterial species.

Although the adult bacterial flora in the colon is generally stable in composition, age, nutritional requirements, immune status, antibiotic use, stress, alcohol use, acidity, transit time and presence of material in the gut can disrupt this delicate balance.

The consumption of probiotics can help to restore balance by re-establishing correct acidity and producing different antimicrobial substances. Probiotics exert their main activities on the small intestine. Prebiotics can enhance the benefits of probiotics by helping them compete with harmful bacteria and by complementing overall activity because prebiotics work mainly in the large intestine 2.

Probiotics The lactic acid bacteria LAB , including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotics and are mainly found in foods. However, Enterococcus and Escherichia are also used, but typically only in supplements. LAB is frequently used by the food industry to convert carbohydrates to lactic acid.

It is this process that results in the sour taste of foods such as yogurt and in the lowering of pH increase in acidity to reduce spoilage. Lactobacilli is found naturally in many fermented foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, yakult, cabbage dimchee, and the soybean products miso and tempeh.

I always recommend food first and supplement second; however, getting an adequate amount of live bacteria into the diet can be difficult because the commercial availability of these foods is quite limited. Also, many fermented foods do not contain live cultures as finished products because modern food processing approaches designed to improve product consistency or shelf life decrease the amount of potentially helpful microbes.

Dairy products such as yoghurt and cheeses are the largest category of foods that contain live cultures; however, most contain starter cultures and then have additional bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacterium added to the product.

These products are also confusing because the low level of probiotics may be masked by the high levels of starter bacteria. These traditionally live active culture foods may not be as potent a source of probiotics as once thought.

Therefore, your best bet when it comes to foods and good bacteria are going to be dairy products with the additional bacteria added back 2,6. The health effects resulting from taking probiotics is considered to be strain specific see table 1.

In addition to the difficulty in generalising about dosing, maintaining the viability of a probiotic can be challenging. Probiotics are sensitive in a strain-dependent manner to heat, moisture, acidity and oxygen. In general, microbes will survive better at lower temperatures, but there are many properly stabilised non-refrigerated products on the market.

There are also different types of coating technologies available to companies developing probiotics. Prebiotics Prebiotics are food for bacterial species that are considered beneficial for health and wellbeing. Specifically, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium types seem to have the ability to use prebiotic fibre as food.

There are a variety of foods that provide fermentable fibre that helps with colon health but prebiotics themselves are specialised ingredients targeted to enhance specific bacteria, their fermentation end products, and possible health effects 2.

These include: Fructans — a group of naturally occurring complex sugars called oligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides and which are found in onions, bananas, wheat, artichokes, garlic and other wholefoods.

They are also extracted from chicory or manufactured from sucrose for commercial products; Resistant starches — found in raw potatoes, unripe fruits like bananas, and in cooked and cooled starchy products. Probiotics for the athlete? The incidence of probiotic use by athletes is not currently known; however, there has been a steady rise in probiotic intake in the US over the last 10 years.

With the abundance of studies done on probiotics and different aspects of health, there is a noticeable void in the literature when it comes to probiotics and performance.

Instead of looking directly for performance enhancing effects of probiotics we can look instead at what prevents the athlete from training and performing at their best.

Researchers from South Africa 7 have done a great job explaining the overall hypothesis of overtraining syndrome. This results in tissue trauma with associated chronic inflammation and a release of cytokines signalling cells associated with a challenged immune system.

This increase in cytokines is linked to behaviours such as depression, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances see figure 2. Furthermore, these immune changes seem to leave athletes more susceptible to developing infection while concurrently increasing the incidence of allergies in those who are genetically predisposed 8.

Pulling it all together Even though there is a lack of evidence surrounding probiotics and athletic performance enhancement, there are studies that show probiotics improve markers of immune function 9 , increase natural killer cell activity a certain type of immune cell 10 and improve gastrointestinal health 11 , all of which could be presented as another potential way to help the overtrained athlete.

One of the most interesting studies comes out of Australia 9. This group recognised that fatigue and impaired performance in athletes has been loosely linked to overtraining, and that reduced concentrations of IgA a large protein antibody molecule important to the immune system in the saliva and increased shedding of the Epstein Barr virus EBV — the virus associated with glandular fever have been associated with intense training in athletes.

They wanted to determine whether athletes presenting with fatigue and impaired performance had an immune defect relevant to defective containment of the EBV infection and whether a probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus could enhance immunity and reverse any detected abnormality.

Gear-obsessed editors Probiotic supplements for athletes every sipplements we review. We may Probioitc commission if you Probiotic supplements for athletes from a link. How we Blueberry smoothie cleanse gear. Any athlete can attest to how much changes when you finally figure out the best nutrition strategy for you. The foods you eat before, during, and after a ride or tough workout are essential for both fueling your body and helping it recover after putting in some intense work. Probiotic supplements for athletes

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