Athletes need guts to be good at their sport, both figuratively and literally. Healthy bacteria in the gut are crucial for an overall healthy body.
If our gut isn’t healthy, it can hinder digestion, absorption of nutrients, and proper elimination. It can also significantly affect the immune system, increase risk of infection and overall affect a person’s health. Can probiotics improve athletic performance?
True champions aren’t always the ones that win, but those with the most guts.
Prolonged or intense training can alter the gut and increase risk for gastrointestinal problems, as can illness, stress, fatigue, travel and antibiotic use.
Results can be constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramping and frequent upper respiratory tract infections.
Probiotics may offer some relief, since they’ve been found to help enhance the immune system and resolve some gastrointestinal distress.
Probiotics are living microorganisms in your GI tract. When we ingest them through food or supplementation, they increase the concentration of healthy bacteria in our gut and help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Foods high in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso and sauerkraut. Supplements have been shown to be helpful if you aren’t getting enough probiotics through foods.
We’re betting probiotics could be beneficial for you and we think probiotics improve athletic performance, here are some tips on how to proceed:
>> Ask your doctor if supplementation is right for you, and if so, what probiotic strains would be best. Someone suffering from frequent upper respiratory tract infections may need different strains than someone suffering from antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
>> For greater effectiveness, look for a minimum of 5 to 10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per serving.
>> Continuous consumption is needed to reap the benefits of probiotic supplementation.
>> Keep in mind that possible side effects include gas and bloating, but these are typically short term.
For Probiotics Improve Athletic Performance, they need to eat!
Prebiotics serve as food sources for the probiotics in your gut.
Yes, these healthy bacteria need to eat too! Include these prebiotics in your diet: garlic, onions, leeks, chia seeds, wheat bran, bananas, artichokes, asparagus and honey.
If you’ve been suffering from gastrointestinal problems or a weak immune system, you might want to experiment with increasing your intake of probiotics.
They may help create a healthier environment in your gut, which may have a positive impact on your performance at practice and during competition.
As Bear Bryant says, “There’s no substitute for guts.”
Maximize your athletic performance by seeking personalized advice from Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. www.JillDanielsRD.com