A lot of athletes are interested in taking probiotics to improve their performance, but they don’t know which ones to take.
Probiotics are a hot topic right now, and with good reason. They offer a ton of potential health benefits, including improved gut health, reduced inflammation, and enhanced performance.
This article will discuss what probiotics are, why adults should consider them, how well-known athletes use them (including Serena Williams), and finally some tips on how you can incorporate probiotic foods into your diet.
Why should athletes take probiotics?
Athletes put their bodies through a lot of stress, and as a result, they can often experience gastrointestinal problems. The need to repair their bodies and ensure they can perform at the peak of their abilities is a prime concern.
Probiotics are supplements that contain beneficial bacteria, and they have been shown to help with various gastrointestinal issues. As a result, many athletes are now taking probiotics in order to help maintain their health and performance.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are supplements that contain bacteria. These bacteria occur naturally in the body, and they help with various functions such as digesting food and maintaining a healthy immune system.
However, when stress is placed on the body (such as when exercising intensely) it can disrupt these natural bacteria and cause mild gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and flatulence.
Taking a probiotic supplement can replenish the body’s supply of good bacteria, and therefore can help prevent or treat gastrointestinal problems.
Probiotics target specific areas in the body:
- The stomach: probiotics decrease the number of harmful bacteria and yeasts (such as candida) and increase the number of beneficial bacteria.
- The small intestine: probiotics increase the number of nutrients that are absorbed by the body, and help reduce any digestive discomfort.
- The colon: probiotics decrease the amount of water that is removed from solid waste (such as stool), which makes it easier for the body to eliminate waste.
Probiotics have also been shown to help with other issues, such as vaginal yeast infections, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections.
What are the different types of probiotics?
There are many different types of probiotics available in supplements or yogurt. The most commonly used is ‘Bifidobacteria’ and ‘Lactobacilli’. These bacteria occur naturally in the body, so they are less likely to cause an adverse reaction.
- Improve the number of nutrients that are absorbed by the body (such as calcium), and help reduce any digestive discomfort.
- Are used to treat vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and respiratory tract infections.
- Are found in the intestines and help with digestion.
- Help break down proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients so that these substances can be used by the body.
- Are found naturally in the colon, where intestinal bacteria form a symbiotic relationship with them. This means that they work together to provide a beneficial effect.
- Are used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Probiotics have been shown to improve athletic performance
Probiotics are living, friendly bacteria that inhabit the body and help keep it healthy. They have been shown to improve athletic performance in athletes who drink them after exercising.
Studies have also shown that probiotics can reduce inflammation which is a common side effect of intense exercise.
Probiotics support gut health by protecting against harmful bacteria and preventing constipation or diarrhea from occurring when large amounts of water are consumed during workouts.
Athletes often experience pain, discomfort, and fatigue as a result of training for long periods of time at high-intensity levels; this is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
DOMS starts about 12 hours after a bout of strenuous exercise and peaks after 2-3 days.
A recent study into probiotic supplementation on performance
In a study by the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, researchers examined the effects of probiotic supplementation on performance with the addition of lactic acid bacteria (LAB)
The study included 11 male varsity track athletes who were assigned to two groups; both groups were tested before and after treadmill running to exhaustion at 85% of their VO2max (a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense physical exertion.
In this case, it was measured by having participants breathe into a mask that calculates the ratio between oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled).
One group consumed 200ml of energy drink (containing 20 billion cells of probiotics per 100ml) while the other group consumed the same amount of sugar-based soft drink.
The researchers wanted to compare how well each beverage improved performance in comparison to their pre-test results.
The study found that after consuming either the probiotic sports drink or sugar-based soft drink, the athletes’ run to exhaustion was significantly longer compared to before they drank the beverage.
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or through food sources
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host. They can be taken as a supplement or through food sources. The most common probiotic bacteria are lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria.
Probiotics have been shown to improve:
- intestinal health
- alleviate constipation and diarrhea
- reduce inflammation
- promote weight loss
The health benefits of probiotics are attributed to their ability to improve the immune system response, lower inflammation, reduce cancer risk, promote weight loss by controlling hunger hormones, and enhance nutrient absorption.
Probiotics may also be useful for depression treatment because they can regulate serotonin synthesis in the gut.
Probiotic supplements are available a:
Probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso soup, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
Regular consumption of probiotics can also help maintain a healthy immune system, by preventing harmful bacteria from invading the body. They may also have long-term health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol levels, making skin look healthier, improving mood, and boosting energy levels.
Taking a probiotic supplement can help alleviate various gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence. Probiotics may also be useful for treating or preventing vaginal yeast infections, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections.
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