Bacteria Making Better Athletes?

Say someone told you that the difference between high endurance professional athletes and common athletes was the organisms living in their guts! Would you think it was true ?

A microbiologist at the University of Harvard Medical School by the name of Jonathan Scheiman has been studying these organisms. His work focuses on trying to identify these micro-organisms that he believes may be helping professional athletes in their high endurance or performance output. Researchers believe they are able to isolate the strands of these micro-organisms or probiotics. They hope to sell them to the public, giving the average individual a physical advantage just by taking them. “When we started thinking about this I was asked whether we could predict the next Michael Jordan,” Jonathan Scheiman said. “A better question is: Can you extract Jordan’s biology and give it to others to help make the next Michael Jordan?”

The field of probiotic bacteria is a very fast growing field. Many health benefits have been attributed to bacteria in areas such as: gastrointestinal function, immune function, hypertension, allergic conditions, diabetes, obesity, and depression to name a few. “Bugs in our gut affect our energy metabolism, making it easier to break down carbohydrates, protein and fiber,” Scheiman stated. This might lead us to believe that bacteria in the gut might play a relevant role in endurance, recovery, and who knows what other areas?

In a different experiment, presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference in Washington DC, fecal matter from 20 marathon runners was obtained. When the samples were analyzed, they revealed a large concentration of bacteria capable of breaking down lactic acid and carbohydrates. So having bacteria that can help you maximize the harvesting of energy from foods and reduce muscle tiredness might give you a very good advantage in competitions!

There are huge amounts of evidence that suggest that selected probiotics strains can provide health benefits to their human host. Nevertheless, remember, before you go buying probiotic pills, more research is needed in order to figure out correct dosage and to confirm which probiotics are good for us.

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from healthcare professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.


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