Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Research Review: Good bacteria, gut health and exercise



Should you be taking probiotics?

Our digestive systems are home to hundreds of different bacterial species that keep our intestinal linings healthy, break down food, and regulate our immune response.
Evidence suggests that by controlling the immune response, supplemental probiotics can help prevent and treat diarrhea and decrease inflammation caused by diet and stress — whether from life or exercise.
But can probiotics also reduce GI damage, symptoms, and illness caused by intense exercise?


Is your belly in balance or do you suffer from CPBBS (caca-poopy-blocked-up-bowel syndrome)?
Okay so maybe CPBBS isn’t exactly an official term for GI disturbances, but more than likely you or someone you know suffers from occasional “plumbing problems” ranging from gas and bloating to nausea, stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea.
Not surprisingly, diet and lifestyle play a key role in keeping our intestines running smoothly. Common culprits that can wreak havoc on our GI tracts:
  • not eating enough fruit, vegetables, and/or dietary fiber in general;
  • food intolerances (such as a gluten or dairy intolerance);
  • taking antibiotics; and/or
  • a stressful lifestyle (which can include stress from anything — life events, relationships, finances, travel, even intense regular exercise).
That last point may surprise you a little. Yes, exercise is good for you. But high-performance athletes, especially endurance athletes, suffer a lot of GI complaints.
Exercise shunts blood to the muscles, away from the GI tract, and raises our core temperature. Less blood to internal organs and an increased internal temperature can disrupt the intestinal lining, setting off the inflammatory response. High training loads — training hard for several hours a week — creates a chronic stress from which the body struggles to recover.
And before you know it, you’re sick with a respiratory infection or some other illness (1).  Read More

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