Probiotics for Sports and Fitness
Probiotics support digestion, including the breakdown of fiber and nutrient absorption. It’s also essential for protecting the lining of the digestive system from damage caused by acidic bile in the body. Athletes without enough beneficial bacteria in their gut are at higher risk of developing “leaky gut syndrome”. Inflammation and allergic reaction, such as eczema, and autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, can occur as a result.
Should athletes take probiotics?
Although exercise, in moderation, can support immunity, too much of it can stress the immune system. This leaves athletes at a much higher risk of catching bacterial and viral infections, which can greatly impact the training schedules of athletes.
It appears that maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut contributes to immunity, preventing illnesses, and keeping the body healthy. Furthermore, certain strains of Bifidobacterium can prevent infection and influence the immune system positively.
Athletes are also more susceptible to the leaky gut syndrome, a condition where the lining of the intestine becomes porous. This may be attributed to a decreased blood flow to working muscles, since more stress is being placed on the body. Taking probiotics may help since they have been proven to improve the integrity of the lining.
Aside from the leaky gut syndrome, athletes often experience digestive disorders such as diarrhea and IBS. Taking dietary supplements with S. boulardii and L. acidophilus helps prevent digestive issues such as diarrhea and bloating. These strains also have positive effects on immune function.
Probiotics and muscle development
Muscle building is one of the main concerns of athletes. Although muscle building relies primarily on nutrition and strength training, probiotics can contribute to muscle development by improving digestion and absorption of protein.
Protein is essential for muscle development, but it must first be broken down properly, so the small intestine can absorb them. Athletes do consume a huge amount of protein in every meal. Several researches suggest that probiotic supplements can enhance the body’s ability to absorb protein and other nutrients.
Moreover, supplements with beneficial bacteria help the body produce digestive enzymes that break down and digest proteins, which are otherwise difficult to digest and absorb. So, using probiotic supplements for muscle development would greatly benefit athletes.
- coagulans GBI-30, 6086, a soil-based type of probiotic, is directly involved in the digestion and utilization of protein. This strain is usually added to protein powders and bars. It is believed that this strain enhances the absorption of protein and the benefits of taking protein supplements.
The best probiotics for fitness and sports
The best probiotics for fitness and sports depend on your fitness goals and your health. Different strains of probiotics suit different situations, so pick one with research behind it to best suit your needs. Since your gut is diverse, choose supplements with multiple strains and at least 5 to 10 billion CFUs. Begin with a low dose and gradually increase.