Should Long-Distance Runners Take Probiotics?
There’s no doubt exercise is one of the best things you can do for the health of your body and your gut.
However, some forms of exercise can be more taxing on the gut. For example, as many as 90 percent of long-distance runners experience “runner’s stomach,” the gastrointestinal distress associated with cramping, constipation, bloating, nausea, urgency and pain.
There are lots of ways for athletes to ease symptoms of runner’s stomach, including staying hydrated to paying closer attention to their diets.
Taking a multi-strain probiotic could be another important tool competitive runners use to avoid gut-related distress, based on a recent Polish study appearing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
How Probiotics Affect Running
Sixty-six active long-distance runners between ages 20-60 were assigned to take a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo twice a day for three months while running at least 3 miles for five or more days a week, participating in strength training and completing food diaries.
(Participants in the probiotic group received proprietary strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium lactis similar to those contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)
After the study period ended, scientists uncovered some beneficial gut health changes that were related to taking multi-strain probiotics, but not with diet.
Female runners enjoyed many probiotic benefits, including higher levels of iron, good HDL cholesterol, potassium, sodium and triglycerides (often depleted by high levels of intense physical activity).
Generally, higher percentages of men and women in the probiotic group reported overall improvements in their health along with sharp drops in alternating symptoms of constipation and diarrhea that are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Can Probiotics Help Runners?
While researchers discovered some new benefits for distance runners associated with multi-strain probiotics, even they admit that their work is just beginning. More time to conduct the study plus a deeper dive into the gut health of each patient could’ve revealed even greater benefits.
The good news keeps growing for probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that are better equipped to treat a wider range of problems, like treating Long COVID symptoms to protecting your gut when taking an antibiotic.