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Probiotics for Athletic Performance

  • Gut Health

  • Wellness

  • Alex Kinejara

    As an athlete, you know how important it is to take care of your health to reach peak performance. After all, you’ve practically written the book on healthy eating and could lead seminars on the benefits of post-workout stretching.

    But did you know boosting your gut microbes is just as important as breaking a sweat at the gym? In fact, some studies suggest that without good digestive and immune health, you might never reach the top of your game.1 Fortunately, probiotics can help.

    Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can support digestive and immune function and well-being. From probiotic supplementation through capsules or consumption through foods, encourage a healthy gut microbiome and immune function which can lead to overall health. That being said, they may help you achieve your athletic goals and can leave you feeling your best wherever your training takes you. Here's more on the health benefits of probiotic for athletic performance.

    More Than Fatigue: Common Health Issues for Athletes

    Before diving into how probiotics for sports can help you train harder and smarter, let’s discuss common health issues for athletes who strive to reach peak performance. These health issues include:

  • Prolonged fatigue – If you're pushing your body to the limits, some fatigue is to be expected. However, if you’re experiencing prolonged fatigue post-workout, changes to your gut microbiota may be partially responsible. That’s because gut microbes help break down and release nutrients into the bloodstream, which can help power you through arduous workouts.

  • Increased sickness and injury – While exercise can help improve physical and mental health, some athletes are more prone to sickness and injury than others. The culprit? A reduced immune system. Strenuous workouts can help weaken the immune system, leading to illnesses that can knock you off your training schedule harder than a boxer’s right hook.

  • Probiotics, like the Bio-K® drinkable dairy probiotics, could be essential components of any training regimen, helping healthy bacteria work as hard as you do. And they’re easy to throw into a protein shake, too.

    How Probiotics Can Help Athletic Performance

    Whether you’re a boxer preparing to step into the ring or a swimmer busting out another twenty laps in an Olympic-sized pool, taking probiotics can help you set personal bests.

    That’s because probiotics and exercise go together like protein and weight-lifters. The best probiotics may help increase athletic and physical performance in three ways.

    #1 Can Improve Nutrient Absorption

    Like well-oiled machines, athletes run best on premium fuel. This fuel is composed of high-quality proteins, carbs, and fats.

    When everything is running smoothly, an athlete’s digestive system is able to process these nutrients and provide extra energy.

    However, if an athlete has less-than-optimal gut bacteria, their digestive system may not be able to absorb nutrients as effectively. The result? A workout that can feel like a three-mile run after Thanksgiving dinner.

    The good news is that some studies suggest probiotics can help the body absorb necessary nutrients—especially protein’s amino acids.2

    What’s more, the best probiotics contain helpful bacteria that create the perfect environment for nutrient utilization. Many Bio-K+® probiotic capsules, for instance, contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium that can help prepare the body for effective nutrient absorption.3

    #2 Can Help Support Immune System

    Probiotic bacteria, as mentioned, can also aid in immune function. Imagine training a year for a marathon only to be derailed by pesky inflammation a week before the race.

    Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common for elite athletes who weaken their immune systems through strenuous workouts.

    In short, prolonged workouts can alter an athlete's gut bacteria, resulting in illness and injury.

    A few studies suggest probiotics can help lessen or mitigate some workout-related illnesses and injuries with immune-supporting bacteria.

    One study even illustrated the role of probiotics in reducing respiratory irritation in female adolescent swimmers.4

    #3 Can Help Improve Mental Clarity and Strength

    Another health benefit of taking probiotics? Mental clarity and strength. If you’ve ever faced tough competition, you’ve probably felt the opposing side is only half the battle. The other half? Your own mind.

    In fact, many tough workouts are accomplished through mental fortitude and the will to bust out “one more mile, set, or lap.”

    What you may not have realized is the role gut health plays in promoting this mental strength and clarity.

    Some studies suggest that the interaction between the gut and brain, known as the gut-brain axis, plays a pivotal role in athletic performance. That’s because healthy gut bacteria can help minimize psychological responses associated with low moods and stress.4

    Taking a probiotic for athletic performance can thus help you mentally prepare for whatever your next game, match, or fight throws at you.

    Take Your Game to the Next Level with Bio-K+®

    Training and exercise can bring a whirlwind of emotions. One moment you feel like Rocky Balboa after running up a flight of stairs and the next your muscles feel stiff as a rock.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way to help maximize the days you feel unstoppable?

    With Bio-K+®, there is.

    A leader in the gut and digestive health, Bio-K+ products contain high-quality, patented probiotic strains that can help support and provide benefits of a healthy lifestyle—on and off the court. Remember your training and exercise is far more than just about your muscles. Immune function and a healthy gut microbiome play a significant role in physical performance.

    Whether you’re training for a marathon or you simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, Bio-K+® can help you get where you want to go.


    Sources:

    1. Nichols, A. W. (2007). Probiotics and athletic performance: A systematic review. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 6(4), 269–273. Probiotics and athletic performance: A systematic review | Current Sports Medicine Reports (springer.com)
    2. Hughes, R. L., & Holscher, H. D. (2021). Fueling gut microbes: A review of the interaction between diet, exercise, and the gut microbiota in athletes. Advances in Nutrition, 12(6), 2190–2215. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmab077
    3. Lactobacillus acidophilus. Lactobacillus acidophilus - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/lactobacillus-acidophilus
    4. Díaz-Jiménez, J., Sánchez-Sánchez, E., Ordoñez, F. J., Rosety, I., Díaz, A. J., Rosety-Rodriguez, M., Rosety, M. Á., & Brenes, F. (2021). Impact of probiotics on the performance of Endurance Athletes: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(21), 11576. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111576

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