First, what are the misconceptions about probiotics?
Many people still believe that all bacteria are harmful and that the mere mention of the word bacteria necessarily means disease.
Also, drinking yogurt to get the necessary bacteria is not enough. Go ahead and search.
This is somewhat true for those products where bacteria were introduced after pasteurization (pasteurization destroys good bacteria along with "bad" bacteria).
To understand more clearly...
All bacteria in the human body can be seen as a "microbiome" community. This is the place where pathogenic and symbiotic microorganisms coexist in the intestines.
The intestinal microbiome includes over 400 types of bacteria with a total weight of 2-3 kg.
Some strains are suitable for certain conditions and diseases; however, their combination is always better.
So, the primary role of probiotics is to preserve health through improving immunity.
What does that actually mean?
When the balance between "good" and "bad" bacteria in the gut is disturbed, it results from the overgrowth of certain pathogen bacterial strains that reproduce using the nutrients present, and the person becomes ill.
Probiotics stop overgrowth.
On the one hand, probiotic bacteria bring the intestinal microbiome to a state of balance, and other pathogenic bacteria have to "compete" for nutrients. It follows that pathogens will likely have no chance of surviving in a gut already colonized by probiotic bacteria.
What is the role of probiotics?
Taking the above into account, we can say that the gut is the central organ of the immune system.
So the probiotics would be fule for your immunity!
Ok, how does that affect athletes?
According to the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), probiotics affect athletic performance when used according to a specific protocol within a particular sporting situation.
A protocol here would mean specific strain of bacteria.
A study conducted in 2015. year by the Association for Sports Medicine of Serbia and the Anti-Doping Agency of Serbia aimed to show the effects of probiotics on health with a focus on immunity and, of course, sports performance.
Thirty-nine scholarship athletes of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia participated. The study lasted 14 weeks during winter (the highest risk of respiratory infections).
The results of the study proved that:
- Probiotics can prevent respiratory infections (sneezing, inflammation of the pharynx) and stomach ailments, shorten their duration, and ease the symptoms.
- even when appeared, athletes had, on average, an infection that lasted three days less
- they reported fewer symptoms
- the need to use additional medicines/supplements was reduced
- probiotics increase the level of INFγ by immune cells - a pro-inflammatory cytokine important for an adequate response of the organism to infection
- probiotics stimulated lymphocytes - prevents excessive inflammatory reaction and tissue damage
- probiotics reduced TGFβ levels and gave consequent relief of tension and feeling of fatigue
- IgA, an antibody that represents the first line of defense against microorganisms and whose level decreases with physical activity - the probiotics "preserved" a certain level of antibodies and thereby contributed to the maintenance of mucosal immunity
- Also, probiotics significantly improved the subjective feeling of strength and energy.
Benefits of probiotics on an athlete's gut microbiome
"Who really knows if they do anything? I didn't really have an "oh wow" since starting with them"
This is what most people say when using probiotics.
And now, when you read this, you're unsure if they help directly. But we advise you that it's definitely worth adding to your training regime as a test.
Why is that?
They say the bacteria in your gut greatly influence your overall mood, happiness, and stuff. And 'they' are correct.
The primary function of the gut is to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Certain probiotic strains in athletic populations can increase the absorption of crucial nutrients such as amino acids from protein, affecting the pharmacology and physiological properties of multiple food components.
Without enough, you may have a lack and experience depression or fatigue that just won't go away.
Here is what the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found.
Immune depression in athletes worsens with hard training load, disturbed sleep, psychological stress, and environmental extremes. All of them can contribute to an increased risk of respiratory tract infections. In addition, exposure to crowds, foreign travel, poor hygiene at home, and training or competition venues may increase the risk of disease as an athlete.
Many boys and girls don't know this but appx. 70% of the immune system is located in the gut. So by taking probiotics, you are promoting a healthy immune response. In addition, specific probiotic strains can reduce the number of episodes, severity, and duration of upper respiratory tract infections in an athletic population.
Also, intense, prolonged exercise, especially in the heat, has increased gut permeability, potentially resulting in systemic toxemia. Therefore, if you're an athlete, choose a specific probiotic strain that can improve the integrity of your gut barrier function.
We at Genius Nutrition's® provide Probiotic Capsules for our gym members.
Our probiotics contain a whopping one BILLION spores per capsule.
We present to you Lactobacillus sporogenes - a probiotic by GENIUS NUTRITION.
This is one of the largest groups of good bacteria. They are usually found in the intestinal tract and produce Vitamin K and lactase (an enzyme that dissolves milk sugar).
Also, they produce anti-inflammatory substances such as acidolin probiotic2acidolfilin and bacteriocin.
This is for you if you find non-agile exercises to be torture or you get sick often.
The administration of selected anti-inflammatory probiotic strains like this has been linked to improved recovery from muscle-damaging exercise.
Human research has shown potential probiotic benefits relevant to an athletic population:
- improved body composition
- lean body mass,
- normalizing age-related declines in testosterone levels,
- reductions in cortisol levels indicating improved responses to a physical or mental stressor,
- reduction of exercise-induced lactate, and
- increased neurotransmitter synthesis, cognition, and mood.
Mechanism of action
The mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of probiotics in athletes are largely unknown but are likely to be manifold.
Like,... consumption of some probiotic strains may improve intestinal barrier function by modulating tight junction permeability.
Also, adhesion of probiotics to the intestinal mucosa may be a mechanism for keeping the immune system strong. Probiotics also prevent pathogen binding.
General guidelines for the use of probiotics:
- at any time of the day, but best with food (to ensure the survival of probiotic bacteria in the acidic environment of the stomach)
- do not take it together with hot drinks
- with antibiotic therapy, take probiotics two hours before or after antibiotics; supplementation for another ten days after the end of antibiotic therapy
- the first effects can be expected after 14 days from the start of supplementation (the time needed for probiotic bacteria to colonize the GI tract)
- in the initial period of supplementation, discomfort may occur: bowel cramps and twisting, flatulence, and frequent stools; Don't worry, they will disappear in a few days.
How long should you take probiotics?
Until symptoms improve - from 2 weeks to 2 months. Longer, e.g., in the case of the athlete's tendency to respiratory infections during the winter months
In the end ...
From all of the above, probiotics represent support, prevent disease and significantly affect the quality of life in athletes and the general population.
As an athlete, you should include them even in the winter diet in any form that achieves beneficial effects on health, respecting, as always, an individual approach.
Just trust that feeling in your gut.