Probiotics are live bacteria that have positive effects within the body, by maintaining or restoring the health of the gastrointestinal (GI) environment. They can be taken as a supplement in capsule form to provide a concentrated dose of good bacteria, but can also be found in foods such as:
- Yoghurt and kefir
- Fermented products, like kimchi and sauerkraut
- Pickled vegetables
- Miso paste
The growth and metabolism of probiotics within the gut inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria, antigens, toxins and carcinogens, and can also help in improving immune function.
How can probiotics improve your health and athletic performance?
- Probiotics can help to manage common GI conditions including stomach cramps, irregular bowel movements, excessive flatulence, diarrhoea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is not uncommon for athletes to complain of GI discomfort as nerves build before a competition, or when exercise that involves constant up-and-down movement mechanically stimulates intestinal flow (also known as “runner’s trots”). Therefore, supplementing with probiotics may help reduce the severity of symptoms.
- Probiotics have been found to interact with immune cells in the gut, with effects extending to other areas such as the respiratory tract. Studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can reduce the incidence, severity and/or duration of respiratory tract infections, thus reducing the number of days spent recovering while missing out on training.
- Stressors such as heat, exercise and mental fatigue can have negative effects on athletic performance, and may also reduce the balance of good bacteria within the gut. Preliminary studies have shown that as probiotics improve gut bacteria, there may also be positive effects on behaviour, cognitive function and hormone production (e.g. reduced anxiety, increased time to defeat or failure and reduced cortisol production) under stressful situations.
How to take probiotics:
- Choose a probiotic that contains at least 10 million CFU’s (Colony Forming Units).
- Avoid supplements containing multi-strain probiotics, as different strains may have opposing effects on each other.
- Take the probiotic in the morning with breakfast for at least one month to begin to see positive effects on your health.
If you’re looking to lift your performance and improve your diet and nutirion plan, please consider Precision Athletica and our expert team.
Feel free to contact us and see if we can help you or offer some advice that might assist in your own journey and enjoyment of your sport.
02 9764 5787 or firstname.lastname@example.org