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Athletesí gut bacteria significantly enhances their performance: and it could do the same for you.

Monday, 21 August 2017  |  Editor

What is Usain's secret?

What is the secret of Usain Bolt’s success? Some would point to his genes, and he would no doubt say that hard work paid off — but according to scientists, the bacteria in his stomach may also have enhanced his performance.

Researchers have examined species commonly found in the guts of exceptional athletes and say that even amateurs could gain an edge by consuming them in probiotic supplements.

“When we started thinking about this I was asked whether we could predict the next Michael Jordan,” Jonathan Scheiman, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard medical school, said. “A better question is: Can you extract Jordan’s biology and give it to others to help make the next Michael Jordan?”

The community of bacteria in the gut, the microbiome is a flourishing area for research. variations have been linked to diabetes, allergies, obesity, depression and multiple sclerosis.

“We are more bacteria than human,” Dr Scheiman said. “Bugs in in our gut affect our energy metabolism, making it easier to break down carbohydrates, protein and fibre. They are also involved in inflammations and neurological function. So perhaps the microbiome could be relevant for endurance, recovery and maybe even mental toughness.”

Researches called for faecal samples from 20 athletes training for the 2015 Boston marathon every day for a fortnight before the race. They found a rise in the population of new bacterium, which breaks down lactic acid, after the marathon and are experimenting with feeding it to mice to measure its effects on lactic acid levels and fatigue.

In separate experiments, they also identified bacteria in ultra marathon runners that help break down carbohydrates and fibre.

They presented their work to the American Chemical Society and  plan to start a company marketing probiotic supplements. “We’re mining the biology of the most fit and healthy people in the world and extracting that information to help others,” Dr Scheiman said.

The benefits of good gut bacteria have long been known

Of course, the benefits of probiotics for gut health have long been known for providing the “friendly bacteria” to fight the bad ones and produce good, balanced gut health. But while there have, as always, been many claims made for the health benefits of yogurts and other products that contain probiotics, the fact is these have very minimal impact because they are simply not potent enough to have any significant benefit. 

It is important to use probiotics that are of good quality, well-researched, developed and manufactured

Probiotics supplements, on the other hand, are specifically formulated and produced, mostly with billions of bacterial strains, are effective and manufacturers are forever striving to develop their products even further. So much is this so that one of our brands, Optibac, develop and sell ONLY probiotics, putting all their resources behind their development. They produce a strains for different people and conditions; for example for those taking antibiotics, those who need dairy free products, probiotics to help control cholesterol, probiotics for those travelling abroad who might be in danger of declining gut health due to changes in food, drink and climate,, for babies and children, or specifically for women for example.

You can see all Optibac probiotics, or all our brands of probiotics or, you might simply wish to read some other articles about probiotics.

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