In triathletes who have taken the probiotic, their endurance performance was about 30% higher than those who did not take the probiotic.
However, there was no significant difference in body composition (including bone, fat, and lean percentage) and maximal oxygen consumption between triathletes who took the probiotics and those who did not.
Maximal oxygen consumption is significant as it is a good indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.
Nonetheless, researchers from Taipei Medical University and University of Taipei said this meant that probiotic supplementation could be “an important nutrient strategy for promoting exercise performance in triathletes.”
According to the findings published in Nutrients, the improvement in exercise endurance was associated with microbiota modulation and alleviating GI problems.
GI issues were the most common problems amongst triathletes (27.6%), followed by musculoskeletal injury (25.4%), and nonspecific dizziness (20.4%).
GI distress might cause nutritional deficiency and physiological imbalance. This in turn leads to decreased performance, training efficacy, or drop-off of competition.
Twenty subjects with at least five years of organised training from triathlon teams at Taipei City University took part in the clinical trial financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan.
Randomised into two groups, those in the experiment group took a capsule of PS128 – produced by Synbio Tech – twice per day. This is equivalent to a daily dosage of 30bn CFU.
They had to take the supplements after the training and before sleeping, while the control group took the placebo.
Key parameters, such as the maximal oxygen consumption and exercise performance were measured.
Results showed that the experiment group’s endurance performance was elevated by 30% more than the placebo group during treadmill running.
There was, however, no significant difference in the maximum oxygen consumption between the two groups. Both had maximum oxygen consumption within the range of 50 to 60mL/kg/min.
This study was supported by Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology.
Supplementation of PS128 was shown to have altered the gut microbiota.
The most prominent change was a decrease in microbiota diversity.
Specifically, the bacteria species Anaerotruncus, Caproiciproducens, Coprobacillus, Desulfovibrio, Dielma, Family_XIII, Holdemania, and Oxalobacter had decreased in number.
On the other hand, Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, Butyricimonas, and Lactobacillus had increased.
There was also a higher amount of short-chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) in the group which took the probiotics supplementation.
The researchers said that the change in microbiota had contributed to the regulation of inflammation, oxidation, and gastrointestinal integrity caused by the high-intensity exercise.
“The modulation of the functional microbiota, through L. plantarum PS128, contributes to the regulation of inflammation, oxidation, and GI integrity, caused by high-intensity exercise, for physiological effects and athlete health, especially on the exercise adaptation,” the researchers concluded.
For future studies, the researchers said the focus could be on understanding the effects of long-term probiotic supplementation for maintaining physiological homeostasis and GI health during endurance exercise. through functional microbiota modulation.
Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 Improves Physiological Adaptation and Performance in Triathletes through Gut Microbiota Modulation
Authors: Wen-Ching Huang, et al