What is the Impact of Probiotics on the Performance of Endurance Athletes?

Probiotics help with several conditions, but do they help with athletes?


Studies have shown that probiotics can benefit athletes by improving gut health, digestion and immunity.


The current consensus is that probiotics do not appear to improve sports performance directly. However, the research on this supplement is affecting these aspects, such as VO2, training duration and intensity, and peak power.


Several studies have looked at probiotic interventions with one strain only.


For example, in a study that lasted 16 weeks and investigated the effect of Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 on the immunity of 20 elite male distance runners, participants did not notice any changes in measures of performance (which included training duration, intensity, and VO2 max).


Other studies have looked at how multistrain gut bacteria have improved aerobic performance.


For example, a multi-species probiotic for 14 weeks in endurance-trained men didn't change VO2 max or maximum performance.


In a study designed to determine the effects of 30 days of supplementation with a 14-strain probiotic at rest and in response to an acute bout of prolonged cycling exercise for two hours at 60% VO2 max in 11 active, healthy adults, there was no significant change in the rating of perceived exertion and heart rate4.


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.


Probiotics have received much attention lately, most notably their potential to improve immune function.


It seems that the recognition of probiotics amongst athletes comes from their efforts to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Athletes are more prone to URTIs and digestive issues.


As a result of rigorous training sessions, these athletes are at a greater risk of immunosuppression. 


As a result, it can leave athletes at greater risk of infections and should be something that concerns travelling competitors.


Several well-designed clinical trials have studied the effects of probiotics in athletes. They've shown that supplements can help you avoid URTI and make symptoms less severe.


Athletes who are immune-suppressed due to their heavy training schedule can benefit from taking probiotics. You may want to look at purchasing a course for yourself before you go overseas for competition. It could be helpful with your language skills and help ease your transition when you first arrive.


There's been some research on the effect of bacteria strains on intestinal permeability, and the findings suggest probiotics might help.


New research suggests that endurance athletes are more susceptible to increased gut permeability. So it is when the intestinal lining becomes more porous or 'leaky'. 


It may be because of the increased stress on the body. Which alters the blood flow away from your gut and towards your working muscles.


It's not uncommon for athletes to experience a range of GI issues like gastroenteritis, which can negatively affect their performance. Athletes are a high-risk group for GI issues and can benefit from taking probiotics.


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