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Probiotics and Sports Nutrition

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It wasn’t until recently when the tie-in of “probiotics” and “sports nutrition” made no sense. However, suppliers of probiotics have truly broken ground in showing through research how certain strains actually help promote healthy muscle growth and recovery, promote desired healthy body mass, and help reach endurance goals. There are two recent studies of probiotics and sports nutrition.

Deerland Enzymes and Probiotics:

Researchers have found that collegiate athletes who took a probiotic strain DE111 along with adequate post-workout nutrition showed improvements in body composition and indices of athletic performance during offseason training.

The study found that compared to the placebo, the probiotic DE111 produced statistically significantly improvements in the reduction of body fat percentage, and a strong trend indicating improved performance of the deadlift exercise. “These findings are encouraging for athletic individuals, both professional and recreational, that are looking for ways to naturally achieve maximum results from their training efforts,” said Dr. John Deaton, vice president of science and technology at ingredient supplier Deerland Enzymes and Probiotics.

Twenty-three collegiate female athletes participated in the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. The athletes completed the same 10-week resistance training program during the offseason, which consisted of three to four workouts weekly of upper and lower-body exercises and sport-specific training. The athletes consumed a DE111 or placebo supplement in conjunction with a recovery protein drink immediately following resistance and sport-specific training for the entire 10-week program.

DE111 is a genome sequenced and clinically tested strain of Bacillus subtilis, a probiotic spore that supports digestive and immune health. The genome sequencing confirmed the strain contained no plasmids, antibiotic resistant or deleterious genes; the human clinical studies showed the strain’s ability to control microbial populations, aid in digestion and maintain general health. DE111 has the ability to form spores that protect the microbes from harsh conditions until they enter an environment ripe for germination, such as the GI tract. Because of this spore-forming ability, DE111 remains viable under a wide temperature and pH range, making it ideal for use in supplements as well as food and beverages.

Dr. Jeremy Townsend of Lipscomb University presented data from the study, “The effect of probiotic supplementation on body composition, muscle thickness, and athletic performance in Division I collegiate athletes” at the International Society of Sport Nutrition (ISSN) Annual Conference in Phoenix on June 22-24.

Pharmachem Laboratories Inc.:

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study involving 16 healthy, resistance-trained men, each participant consumed a probiotic capsule containing 5 billion microencapsulated live cells of B. breve BR03 and S. thermophilus FP4 each, or placebo prior to the performance (21 days) of a muscle-damaging exercise of the elbow flexors. Performance of the elbow flexors and a marker of inflammation (interleukin-6) were measured prior to, and following, damaging exercise.

Ingestion of the anti-inflammatory probiotics attenuated performance and range-of-motion decrements following muscle damaging exercise. The probiotics also reduced baseline inflammation and improved the inflammatory response to exercise. These data suggest that the specific probiotics may assist in recovery following exercise.

The company said it believes there are even more benefits for athletes and fitness enthusiasts still to be revealed from probiotics. Specific areas of interest for the sports nutrition market are immune support, protein absorption enhancement, and inflammation management.

[R Jäger et al. Probiotic Streptococcus thermophilus FP4 and Bifidobacterium breve BR03 Supplementation Attenuates Performance and Range-of-Motion Decrements Following Muscle Damaging Exercise. Nutrients 2016, 8:642; doi:10.3390/nu810064]

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