New research has suggested that taking probiotics may help boost athletic performance by improving gut health.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living organisms that are living in our stomachs. They are considered bacteria but in most cases they can benefit the body in many different ways such as boosting the immune system, promoting a proper digestion system and gastrointestinal function, and much more! Probiotics can be found in certain foods such as yogurt, milk, tempeh, soy products and in certain juices.
This “friendly bacteria” has two different types known as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Within those two categories millions of different species exist, but the two most commonly seen probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus.
How does it affect athletes?
It is well reported that many athletes experience gastrointestinal discomfort such as cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It’s believed this is caused by the change in blood flow that occurs as a result of the increased demand for blood from the muscles and the heart. In turn, this reduces blood in the intestines. To make it simple, less blood going to the guts means that the intestines can be affected, causing cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Probiotics may stall or stop these conditions by allowing the athlete to get through an entire workout and settle their heart before those symptoms can come into play.
“Thus, to reduce exercise-induced gastrointestinal permeability and its associated symptoms and illnesses, nutritional solutions like probiotic supplementation may be relevant for athletes,”according to the University of Graz. Founded in 1585, this is Austria’s second oldest university. Since its inception the university has become a benchmark for scientific researched for the benefit of society.