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Probiotic Combo May Lower Inflammation Post-Exercise

Athletes often struggle with muscle damage following a work out, because it can inhibit later performance. A recent study suggests that taking a probiotic combination of Streptococcus thermophilus FP4 and Bifidobacterium breve BR03 may help reduce performance-harming inflammation after muscle-damaging exercise.

Participants in the study included 15 healthy, resistance-trained men who were given either 5 billion live cells of S. thermophilus FP4 and the same number of B. breve BR03 or a placebo daily for 21 days. After the three week supplementation period, all of the men performed a series of elbow flexors that are known to cause muscle damage. This was followed by a 21 -ay washout period, after which the men crossed over to the other group.

Isometric strength, muscle soreness, range of motion and girth, and blood interleukin-6 (IL-6) and creatine kinase (CK) concentrations were measured from pre- to 72 h post-exercise.

The researchers found that blood levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 dropped by 10% in the probiotic group compared to baseline and that this persisted for 48 hours after exercise. The change was not, however, statistically significant when compared with the placebo.

They also noted enhanced isometric average peak torque production 24 to 72 hours post exercise in the probiotic group.

Researchers from Increnovo LLC and Texas Christian University conducted the study. It was published on October 14, 2016, in the journal Nutrients.

Streptococcus thermophilus FP4 is a probiotic that creates lactic acid in our gut. It is associated with boosting the immune system and colon health, as well as a reduction in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. It can be found in fermented foods and yogurt.

Bifidobacterium breve BR03 is associated with better colon function as well as relief from constipation, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. It has also been linked with improved immune function, reducing oral candida in mature adults, and reduction in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. 

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