A new study on the effects of co-administration of Ganeden Biotech Inc.’s (Cleveland) proprietary Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, probiotic strain, GanedenBC30, with popular sports-supplement ingredient beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) suggests that the combination of the probiotic and the calcium-salt form of HMB may help reduce muscle fatigue. The peer-reviewed study1, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, examined BC30’s potential effects on muscle integrity during intense military training and found that its presence increases the previously studied benefits of HMB.
The double-blind, parallel-design study was conducted with 25 military members in an “elite unit” of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) over the course of 40 days. The volunteers were randomized into three groups and received either 1 g BC30 combined with HMB three times per day for 40 days, or an equivalent dose of HMB combined with a placebo. Both the study supplement and the placebo were provided as powders and were mixed in water prior to ingestion. A third group was given neither BC30 or HMB and served as the control.
During the 40-day study period, participants underwent a variety of intense training protocol. For the first 28 days, participants completed the same training tasks, which included combat skill development and 90 minutes of intense hand-to-hand combat five times per week, and two 5-km runs per week. All soldiers maintained a similar dietary intake for the duration of the trial. During the final two weeks of the study, soldiers were in the field, navigating between 25-30 km per night in difficult terrain and carrying approximately 35 kg of equipment, or roughly 40% of each participant’s body mass.
Researchers assessed participants’ serum concentrations of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), as well as plasma concentrations of cytokines, chemokines, and HMB via blood draws, and assessed muscle damage markers via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Observations were recorded in a single day prior to, and around 12 hours after, ingestion of the final supplement on day 40.
The study authors found that, while HMB supplementation alone can attenuate inflammatory cytokine markers during intense training, added supplementation with BC30 provides further benefits for maintaining muscle integrity and attenuating inflammation. Specifically, researchers observed significant differences in plasma concentration for pro-inflammatory cytokines between both study groups and the control group. However, they observed no significant differences in plasma or LDH concentrations between the groups given HMB.
BC30 plus HMB did appear to attenuate IL-6 and IL-10 inflammatory response compared to both the HMB and control groups, leading the researchers to posit that the addition of the BC30 probiotic to the HMB may be more effective in attenuating inflammation than HMB alone. IL-6 and IL-10 are pro-inflammatory cytokines, the researchers say, and changes in IL-6 concentrations are often used as a marker of muscle recovery or an indicator of training stress.
In terms of muscle integrity, study authors found that the group supplemented with BC30 and HMB showed greater muscle integrity than the group given HMB and a placebo. Researchers observed lower ADC (apparent diffusion coefficient) in the RF (rectus femoris) in the group given BC30 plus HMB compared to the group given only HMB.
The researchers do note, however, that the relationship between inflammatory markers and muscle damage markers is unclear. According to the study authors, “The results of this study provide further evidence that HMB ingestion can lead to the attenuation of the cytokine response to intense physical activity. However, the results of this study may have also been influenced by a synergistic effect of BC30.”
They also note that this study “appears to be the first examination of the potential benefit of the co-ingestion of these two supplements,” and explain that supplementation timing issues and the study design warrant further research.
While the digestive and immune health benefits of probiotics have been extensively researched, there is currently little data on the potential connection between some strains of probiotics and muscle recovery and inflammatory response, Ganeden says.
“Probiotic awareness is at an all-time high, but many still associate them primarily with digestive support and don’t realize that the benefits are strain specific—meaning not every strain has the same effects. We knew the specific health benefits of GanedenBC30 went far beyond digestion and have worked with a variety of third-party research experts to explore these additional effects,” said David Keller, vice president of scientific operations, Ganeden, in a press release. “Consumers want multifunctional foods and beverages with ingredients that provide a variety of health benefits, and using a probiotic strain like GanedenBC30 that supports the function of other ingredients is a win for both manufacturers and consumers.”
- Gepner, T et al., “The combined effects of Bacillus coagulans GBO-30, 6068 and HMB supplementation on muscle integrity and cytokine response during intense military training,” Journal of Applied Physiology. Published online April 13, 2017.