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Immunity & Health in Sports

To train, exercise or be good in any sport, it is important to maintain optimal immune system function. This allows training consistency and maximum performance gains.

Strenuous exercises are well known to suppress the immune system that ultimately leads to:

  • Reduced performance during competition
  • Missed events due to illnesses
  • Slower recovery from exercise or illness
  • Reduced training intensity and/or frequency.

Immune suppression in athletes and indeed anyone training is worsened by the following factors. [1]

  1. Psychological stress
  2. Bad diet
  3. Foreign travel
  4. Poor and inadequate sleep
  5. Environmental extremes of weather
  6. Exposure to large crowds
  7. Increased exposure to pathogens due to elevated breathing during exercise.

During strenuous exercises, there are alterations in the immune system and up to 9% of Olympic athletes are known to report illness; most of which are upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).

Here are some stats from major games:

  • Out of 2,567 athletes at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics [2]
    • 2% reported an illness
    • 60% of illnesses were infections.
  • Out of 10,568 athletes at the 2012 London Summer Olympics [3]
    • 2% reported an illness
    • 46% of illnesses were infections

References

[1] DC. Nieman. Risk of upper respiratory tract infections in athletes: an epidemiologic and immunologic perspective. J Athl Train 1997, 32(4):344-349.

[2] L. Engebretsen et al. Sport injuries and illnesses during the Winter Olympic Games 2010. Br J Sports Med 2010, 44(11):772-780;

[3] L. Engebretsen et al. Sport injuries and illnesses during the London Summer Olympic Games 2012. Br J Sports Med 2013, 47(7):407-414;

Role of Probiotics in Sports

Immune & Gut Health

Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial when supplemented with athletes. According to one study, there was a significant reduction in the number of days of respiratory illness symptoms in athletes receiving probiotics supplement. [1] In a different study, there was significant reduction in URTI (Respiratory Infections) and probiotics use reduced the days with gastrointestinal symptoms. [2]

Use of probiotics beneficially influences nutrient absorption and availability to the body. Probiotics have been shown to optimize mineral absorption through changes in pH levels, synthesis of various vitamins and impact to carbohydrate digestion through production of digestive enzymes.

Probiotics aid in production of enzymes that have been shown to aid the breakdown of proteins and a wide variety of carbohydrates. [3]

Regular probiotics supplementation in athletes has been linked to improved digestive system and immune system health, as exercise is linked to gut permeability and suppressed immune health.  In one study, probiotics supplementation reported a reduced number, severity and duration of upper respiratory infections and gastrointestinal distress in swimmers.

Performance

According to Jonathan Scheiman, PHD, Havard Medical School, “The microbiome could be relevant for applications in endurance, recovery, and maybe even mental toughness”.

In a study done with swimmers, probiotics administration reduced 400m swim time by 3.9 seconds. In addition, probiotic use significantly increased aerobic fitness. [4]

In summary, the role of probiotics in any sport, exercise or body building can be categorized in the following three groups:

  1. Improved Gut Health – Increase Protein and Carbohydrate absorption in the intestines and subsequent utilization in the body. Athletes and anyone who is exercising requires high amounts of nutrients for muscle repair, building and strength;
    • In addition, they can markedly reduce the level of nausea, intestinal inflammation, bloating, hypersensitivity to food etc. which are common complaints for most athletes during & after training.
  1. Improved Immune Health – As already highlighted probiotics are central in maintaining and optimizing your immune system. They have been shown to improve the levels of interferon (natural virus fighter), which is naturally decreased during exercise and fatigue.
  2. Increase antioxidant absorption – Free radicals are abundant during & after training. It is important that athletes have adequate levels of anti-oxidants during the recovery period and indeed throughout the day. Probiotics have been shown to increase anti-oxidant absorption and thus elevate additional antioxidants levels.

[1] Cox AJ, Pyne DB, Saunders PU, Fricker PA. Oral administration of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2010 44(4):222-6.

[2] M. Gleeson et al. Daily Probiotic’s (Lactobacillus casei Shirota) Reduction of Infection Incidence in Athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2011, 21:55–64.

[3] Keller D, Farmer S, McCartney A, Gibson G (2010) Bacillus coagulans as a probiotic. Food science and technology bulletin: functional foods 7(7):103–109. https://doi.org/10.1616/1476-2137.16015

[4] Salarkia et al. Effects of probiotic yogurt on performance, respiratory and digestive systems of young adult female endurance swimmers: a randomized controlled trial. MJIRI 2013, 27(3):141-146

Gut Performance!

BioSport™ is the first global 100% Probiotic Whey Protein to include high dosages of Probiotics (10 billion CFU of 10 Strains) for combined sports performance, immune and gut health.

Velobiotics

Delivers 1000x More Probiotics to Your Gut!

 

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