It is commonly observed that endurance and recreational athletes suffer from multiple GI distress symptoms (e.g., cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain), which impacts training efficiency, and at times leads to withdrawing from completion. Exercise induced hypo perfusion to the GI tract leads to damaged gut lining/epithelium, hence leading to escape of bacterial toxins from our gut into our bloodstream.
Consider the gut lining to be like our skin, which protects us from harmful effects of the bacteria and chemicals which are present in our intestine. When the lining is damaged, it leads to the cells leaking. Hence the protective effect of the gut lining is lost when it is damaged.
LPS Level Rises in our Circulation After Exercise
The bad bacteria in our intestine make harmful endotoxin - lipopolysaccharides (LPS). The intact gut lining keeps it out of our circulation. However, recent studies have shown LPS level rises in our circulation after exercise, and particularly more in athletes which experience GI distress symptoms. The LPS in blood circulation leads to inflammatory state which could be detrimental to the longer term health of recreational athletes who regularly engage in exercise.
Probiotic bacteria, particularly the gram-positive - Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, are known to modify GI microbiota, and have been shown to reduce GI episode severity and respiratory tract infections commonly associated with training . These bacteria are present in all the Simply Biotic probiotics in high concentration. Studies have demonstrated that regular use of probiotics can improve epithelial resistance by establishing competitive “biofilm” activity. The analogy that would explain the protective effect of “biofilm” is covering your skin with layer of vaseline so that the water droplets can slide off without wetting your skin
Recent Study Concludes Beneficial Effect of Probiotics
A recent study published in Nutrients Journal in November https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133117/ evaluated, assessed and analyzed a 12-week multistrain pro/prebiotic/antioxidant strategy on GI symptoms, endotoxin levels and race time compared to a control group. The study concluded beneficial effects with reduce endotoxin unit levels, with the combination potentially conferring an additive effect via combined GI modulation and antioxidant protection.
In the near future, we expect other studies would provide us with a more clear picture of the effects of probiotics in athletes undertaking endurance training, particularly those more susceptible to GI symptoms. But it’s clear to me, probiotics help my patients, including those that exercise on a regular basis.
Dr. Adi Malhotra,
Founder - Simply Biotic