BB-12 probiotic may boost recovery for female martial artists: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© miljko / Getty Images
© miljko / Getty Images

Related tags BB-12 Probiotics Gut health Sports nutrition microbiome recovery mental fatigue Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis

Daily consumption of a probiotic yogurt may improve exercise-related psychological fatigue in female taekwondo athletes, says a new study from China.

Eight weeks of consuming yogurt containing Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ BB-12 positively modulated the gut microbiota resulting in improvements in relevant metabolic pathways, according to data published in Microorganisms.

“Probiotic supplementation can improve the post-exercise psychological fatigue of taekwondo athletes, which may be due to the ability of Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ to improve emotions, cognition, regulate brain activity, and further promote the clearance of post-exercise psychological fatigue in taekwondo athletes,” wrote scientists from Southwest University Hospital and Southwest University in Chongqing, China.

Scientific substantiation

The study adds to the significant body of science supporting the efficacy of BB-12, which Chr. Hansen notes​ has been the subject of “around 400 scientific publications and supported by more than 200 publications describing studies in humans”. Chr Hansen was not affiliated with the new study. 

The strain has been shown to improve many different health endpoints and has been studied in a diverse range of people, from the very young to the very old.

The new study supports the strain’s efficacy against psychological fatigue in an athletic population.

Study details

The Chinese researchers recruited 51 female taekwondo athletes with an average age of 22 and randomly assigned them to consume the BB-12 probiotic yogurt (1 billion CFU/100 g) or a control yogurt every day for eight weeks. Mental fatigue was assessed using the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ) at the start and end of the eight-week study. The researchers also used high-throughput sequencing to profile the gut microbiota of the athletes.

Results showed that BB-12 supplementation was associated with significant increases in ABQ scores compared to the control group.

Gut microbiota analysis showed that BB-12 yogurt consumption was associated with significantly higher abundances of family Bifidobacteriaceae​, genus Bifidobacterium ​(), family Lactobacillaceae​, genus Bifidobacterium​ and genus Lactobacillus​, while Escherichia coli​ was significantly lower.

The researchers also reported that the BB-12 group had significantly higher levels of L-arginine biosynthesis I (via L-ornithine), fatty acid biosynthesis and oxidation, and L-isoleucine biosynthesis III pathways, compared to the control group.

“This confirms the findings of this study that supplementing with Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ BB-12 improves athlete performance decline by up-regulating the biosynthesis pathway of arginine,” they wrote.

“Furthermore, fatty acid synthesis and oxidation are closely related to cancer-related fatigue, and the down-regulation of the fatty acid synthesis and oxidation pathway is an important cause of high levels of fatigue in cancer patients. This study found that supplementing with Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ BB-12 can improve the emotional and physical fatigue and fatigue scores of taekwondo athletes.

“It was also found that L-isoleucine biosynthesis is associated with moderate depression, and the biosynthesis pathway of L-isoleucine is significantly reduced in women with mild depression compared to those with moderate depression. Consistent with the results of this study, dietary intervention improved the negative evaluation of exercise in athletes by enhancing L-isoleucine biosynthesis pathways.”

The researcher concluded: “The supplementation of Bifidobacterium animalis​ ssp. lactis​ BB-12 containing yogurt was observed to improve exercise-induced fatigue recovery in female taekwondo athletes. This effect may be attributed to the modulation of beneficial and harmful gut microbiota, which in turn affects relevant metabolic pathways.”

Source: Microorganisms
2023, 11​(6), 1403, doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11061403
“Effect of Probiotic Yogurt Supplementation (​Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. ​lactis BB-12) on Gut Microbiota of Female Taekwondo Athletes and Its Relationship with Exercise-Related Psychological Fatigue”
Authors: J. Zhu

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