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Could probiotics boost performance and increase power for athletes?

By Stephen Daniells+

03-Jul-2014
Last updated on 03-Jul-2014 at 16:10 GMT

“Our pilot study is the first clinical investigation linking probiotics to an increase in performance, an increase in power.” - Dr Ralf Jaeger, Increnovo LLC
“Our pilot study is the first clinical investigation linking probiotics to an increase in performance, an increase in power.” - Dr Ralf Jaeger, Increnovo LLC

A combination of a probiotic with a slow digested protein may increase athletic performance in healthy resistance-trained individuals, suggest results from a pilot study.

Findings presented recently at the national International Society Of Sports Nutrition conference in Clearwater Beach, FL indicated potential performance and power benefits for athletes when probiotic BC30 (Ganeden Biotech) was co-administered with casein.

"Probiotics have been shown to help an athlete's immune system recover from tough workouts and competition,” explained Ralf Jaeger, PhD, FISSN, President of Milwaukee-based consultancy Increnovo LLC, and co-author of the study. “Helping athletes to stay healthy enables them to train harder and longer. However, no study has yet been able to show improvements in performance in athletes.

“Our pilot study is the first clinical investigation linking probiotics to an increase in performance, an increase in power.”

‘The sports nutrition space is exciting’

Michael Bush, Sr VP at Ganeden Biotech, Inc, told us that, regarding the commercial applications relating to this study, “we believe that the sports nutrition space is exciting and we watch it continue to grow, but this research and our continued research expands beyond bodybuilders and crossfitters, into the active senior, healthcare, malnutrition and related markets.

“This study is just another step forward on our journey to determine the best and most practical uses of GanedenBC30.  We will be following up with additional studies in this space and will continue to invest in areas where we see strong consumer interest.”

Study details

Dr Jaeger and his co-workers from The University of Tampa and Increnovo LLC recruited 10 healthy resistance-trained individuals with an average age of 22 to participate in their pilot study. Participants were randomly assigned to consume two daily servings of either 20g of casein or 20g of casein plus probiotic (500 million cfus of BC30 per serving).

Results showed that the BC30 plus casein group ‘trended’ to an increase in their vertical jump power compared with the casein-only group. There was also an indication that the probiotics were associated with a beneficial effect on peak power and fat mass, said the researchers.

“This pilot study indicated that probiotic supplementation in form of BC30 in combination with a slow digesting protein might increase athletic performance,” wrote the researchers in their conference abstract. “However, further research with a larger [population size] is needed to confirm these findings.”

BC30 is a spore-forming bacterium, which means that inside the bacterial cell is a hardened structure, or spore, a bit like a seed. This safeguards the cell’s genetic material from the heat and pressure of manufacturing processes, stomach acid and bile.

Source: ISSN Annual Meeting
“The Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Lean Body Mass, Strength, and Power, and Health Indicators in Resistance Trained Males: A Pilot Study”
Authors: J. Georges, R.P. Lowery, G .Yaman, C. Kerio, J. Ormes, S.A. McCleary, M. Sharp, K. Shields, J. Rauch, J. Silva, N. Arick, M. Purpura, R. Jaeger, J.M. Wilson

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