Can Probiotics Improve Athletic Performance?

July 12, 2012

The exact mechanism of any benefits must still be explored, however, said probiotic supplements brand Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics

Probiotics may benefit athletic performance-although the exact mechanism of any benefits must still be explored, said probiotic supplements brand Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. The company pointed to two studies (1, 2) done on its supplements which it said found that both elite athletes and those exercising moderately experienced benefits to VO2 max (the body’s ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise) and to anaerobic threshold (the highest state of exercise intensity an athlete can sustain for extended periods).

The benefit of probiotics for athletics was also discussed at the International Probiotic Association’s World Congress held back in April, the brand said in a press release. “The presentation noted that while it is commonly known that exercise can suppress the body’s immune response and ingesting large quantities of protein can cause gastrointestinal distress, many experts agree that both problems can often be improved by taking a probiotic supplement. Add increased endurance and faster recovery to this list, and athletes of all levels may have found that a probiotic supplement is the perfect workout partner.”

More research is needed to unveil why probiotics may benefit athletes. Part of the reason may simply be better digestion, the company said: “In the U.S., doctors are speculating about why such athletic performance benefits could be conveyed by beneficial bacteria. The most obvious answer is that probiotics, long known for their role in healthy digestion, are simply helping the athletes absorb key nutrients more effectively on a daily basis.”

“Probiotics can help with the basic goal of enhancing nutrient uptake. Better nutrient absorption equals more overall energy,” the brand quoted Ronald Hoffman, MD, founder and Medical Director at the Hoffman Center in New York City, as saying.

The company adds that its own supplements include vitamins, 20 amino acids, and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium, all of which benefit athletes and their health and performance.

 

1. PS Wood, R Grant, J Clark. “Efficacy of OHHIRA Mountain Extract (OM-X) on Physical Performance and Selected Markers of Health Status in Males.” Research conducted at the University of Pretoria, Institute for Sports Research, Pretoria, South Africa. (2009).

2. M Kawasaki, I Ohhira, N Araki, OK Inokihara, T Matsubara, H Iwasaki. “The Influences on the V02 Max of Athletes Taking (Ohhira) Lactic Acid Bacteria.” Research conducted at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, Kurashiki, Japan; Research Institution of Okayama Life Science, Okayama, Japan; and Sanyo Gakuen University, Okayama, Japan. (1997).