Can probiotics help athletes with more than just gas and bloating?
The answer is a resounding yes. While most research regarding ergogenic (performance enhancing) supplements focus on creatine, BCAA's, and glutamine, there are some great studies and information showing the additional health benefits of probiotics for enhanced performance.
A systematic review published in Sports Medicine Reports showed a lot of great benefits to taking probiotics: The first benefit is pretty well known:
- enhanced immune response. This comes from making sure your probiotic levels are up to speed in the intestines. Probiotics support immune function by promoting higher levels of the natural virus fighter, interferon, which is actually decreased when we do a long workout or aerobic session.
- Probiotics, or friendly bacteria, can improve recovery by increasing antioxidant absorption. Since free radicals are abundant after training, it's important that athletes and workout enthusiasts meet them head-on with high amounts of antioxidants in recovery and throughout each day. When eaten during recovery, probiotics increase antioxidant absorption, thereby promote extra free radical fighting right when you need it most.
- As reported in an article in Beach Body, “Another way a healthy gut biome can help with fitness is by maximizing absorption of nutrients needed for performance and recovery. Remember, you are not what you eat, you are what you absorb,” says Kiran Krishnan, Ph.D., a microbiologist who studies the role of bacteria in human health and fitness. “The gut biome is virtually in total control of what happens to food and nutrition in the gut.”
"This absolutely translates to athletic performance and ability, including recovery,” Krishnan believes. For example, muscle contraction is dependent on sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium levels and metabolism. “If your gut cannot absorb enough minerals, your muscles will seize. If your gut cannot absorb enough pyruvate, amino acids, fatty acids and minerals, your mitochondria—the powerhouse of the cell—will run out of capacity to produce ATP, which will cause fatigue and muscle failure.”
“We take for granted that what we put in our mouth ends up in our cells,” Krishnan adds, but this isn’t always true. “In order for these critical nutrients to reach the cell, they have to be metabolized, isolated and made functional by the microbiome.” "In short, a healthy gut biome can help reinforce the sense of well-being that exercise can induce,” says Whisner. Indeed, it may be a big part of why exercise makes us feel so good. So what can you do to help your intestinal bacteria flourish? “A healthy gut is one that is diverse,” says Krishnan.
The summary in the published review on performance brings it all together. It showed probiotics “provide athletes with secondary health benefits that could positively affect athletic performance through enhanced recovery from fatigue, improved immune function, and maintenance of healthy gastrointestinal tract function”.
Gains In Bulk's Athlete Digestive Formula contains 9 patented, heat stabilized strains of friendly probiotics, each proven to inhabit different parts of the intestines, covering every section. Each one performs different functions, enhancing your performance training into a mood boosting, muscle building, health creating activity, while also removing gas, indigestion and bloat.