|Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor|
Athletes have long used protein to improve recovery following a workout. Now a recent study has found that adding the probiotic Bacillus coagulans to casein protein may help may lower the amount of muscle damage from working out and boost post-exercise recovery.
Participants in the study included 30 trained, young male athletes who were given either 20 grams of casein protein alone or 20 grams of casien protein plus 500 million CFU of Bacillus coagulans. They then underwent a heavy weight lifting period designed to stress their quadriceps. The researchers measured peak power and vertical jump power before and after the workout.
The combination group had lower muscle damage and quicker recovery time than the protein group alone. There was also a significant decrease in performance and power in the protein group, whereas the combination group actually increased in both.
This is the first study to link probiotic supplementation with an actual improvement in sports performance. The researchers believe that further research is needed to clarify the links between movement, exercise, diet and overall gut health.
Researchers from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based firm Increnovo conducted the study. It was presented at the 2015 Probiota Americas conference held in San Diego the week of June 3, 2015.
Bacillus coagulans is a lactic acid-forming bacterial species within the genus Bacillus. Previous studies suggest that it may help with improving vaginal flora, lowering abdominal pain and bloating in people with irritable bowel syndrome, and boosting immunity in response to viruses. Bacillus coagulans can be taken in supplement form.