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Supplement Containing Probiotics, Prebiotic, and Antioxidants May Ease Gastrointestinal Distress of Athletes

Strenuous exercise is associated with gastrointestinal upset, which is caused by the lining of the gut getting damaged by higher production of endotoxins. A recent study suggests that taking a supplement containing four probiotic strains, prebiotic fibers, and antioxidants may help triathletes maintain a healthy gut after strenuous exercise.

Participants in the study include 30 recreational athletes who were given a daily dose of one of the following:

    1. A supplement containing 400 mg of prebiotic frutooligosaccarides, four probiotic strains for a total of 30 billion CFUs per day of Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL-60, L. acidophillus CUL-21, Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL-20, and B. animalis subspecies lactic CUL-34;

    1. The prebiotic/probiotic combo plus 200 mg of the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid and 300 mg of the antioxidant N-acetyl carnitine.

    1. A placebo

At the end of the 12-week supplement period, all of the participants completed a long distance triathlon that included a 2.4-mile sea swim, 112-mile road cycle course, and 26.2-mile marathon run.

The probiotic/prebiotic/antioxidant group had significantly reduced endotoxin levels both before the race and six days after. The probiotic/prebiotic group only showed reductions six days after the race. There were no changes noted in the placebo group.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, University of Hertfordshire, and Cardiff Metropolitan University — all in the UK — conducted the study. It was published on November 17, 2016, in the journal Nutrients.

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that nourish probiotics. Probiotics come in many strains, which are commonly found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. If you want to take a particular strain of probiotic you should consider taking a high quality supplement.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that previous studies have linked with improvements in symptoms of diabetes. It can be found in yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes. N-acetyl carnitine helps the body metabolize fat and has been associated with improve cognitive function, memory, and mood. The body makes enough carnitine for itself but it can also be found in red meat.

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