Endurance running - characterised by a duration of over 30 minutes - is growing in popularity across the globe. But the risks of injury, respiratory tract infections, chronic inflammation, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea increase with longer duration.
Probiotic strains that modulate intestinal microbiota and the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders or upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are often sought by athletes looking to control these potential issues.
But according to the authors of the current study, published in Nutrients, the health benefits of probiotic strains for endurance athletes have not been precisely defined. They therefore conducted the current randomised, double-blind study to evaluate the effect of a multi-strain probiotic on body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness and inflammation on male and female endurance athletes.
Their RCT, involving 66 long distance runners (aged 20–60 years) tested the impact of the multi-strain probiotic SANPROBI BARRIER (including Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Lactobacillus brevis W63, Lactobacillus casei W56, Lactococcus lactis W19, Lactococcus lactis W58, Lactobacillus acidophilus W37, Bifidobacterium bifidum W23 and Lactobacillus salivarius W24) in a dose of 2.5 × 109 CFU/g per capsule.
Participants were rnadomly assigned into the intervention or placebo group and the intervention group ingested two probiotic capsules twice a day (morning and evening) for a period of three months.
All participants underwent a body composition analysis at the beginning and end of the intervention period. Parameters assessed were: body weight, body fat content, visceral fat content, skeletal muscle mass, and body water content.
The resulting data suggest that the men who took the probiotic showed a statistically significant increase in lean body mass and skeletal muscle mass and the women who took the probiotic showed a decrease in the content of total and visceral adipose tissue, but the results were statistically insignificant.
The report concludes: "A three-month multi-strain probiotic intervention had a positive effect on the parameters of body composition of study participants.
"The beneficial effect of probiotic therapy on the parameters of cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals playing endurance sports (statistically significant in men and statistically insignificant in women) was demonstrated. The assessment of the parameters of inflammation in runners showed no significant differences between the probiotic and placebo groups."
Pogodziński. D., et al
"Analysis of the Impact of a Multi-Strain Probiotic on Body Composition and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Long-Distance Runners"
https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123758 (registering DOI)