Runners in our audience, or for those who work with running clients, stop us if you’ve experienced one or more of these symptoms mid-run (or helped a client address these issues); bloating, nausea, urge to vomit, flatulence, urge to defecate, and stomach cramps.
Bringing back some bad memories? To absolutely no one’s surprise, one or more of these symptoms is going to have a significant detrimental effect on performance. But what causes these issues?
It has been suggested that the redirection of blood flow away from the intestines likely causes some dysregulation of the intestinal barrier. This may lead to the infiltration of potentially toxic compounds entering our system, triggering an immune response which then results in inflammation. This inflammation has been directly associated with gastrointestinal (G.I) symptoms during endurance events!
Is there anything you can do to reduce the symptoms if not rid yourself of the issues completely? Well, yes actually! Multiple controlled studies have now provided data indicating a significant reduction in these crippling, run ruining G.I. symptoms when subjects have been provided a probiotic supplement. The effect of supplementation does not appear to be acute however (i.e. as a one off before a run) and must be taken consistently over time to reap the rewards.
Whilst our gut microbiome can change drastically in just a matter of days(following changes to our diet, lifestyle, from supplementation and or other interventions) the exact mechanism by which the change in our gut bacteria provides a protective effect against these unwanted G.I symptoms takes time. Researchers have proposed that the bacteria alters carbohydrate absorption, immune response and even creates a form of “bio-film” within the gut which can block off any nasty toxins infiltrating our system.
What is interesting however is that even greater and more consistent benefit is found when a probiotic is combined with some form of anti-inflammatory compound (such as those found in our daily digestive supplement). We’d advise runners keep an eye out for any supplements that, alongside the probiotic, are providing phytochemicals (such as the gingerols and shogaols), vitamin C, vitamin E, curcumin etc.
Eating a diet rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables to get in those anti-inflammatory powerhouses will go a long way to helping your gut too! A probiotic may just be the final piece of your health puzzle!
Have you experienced these symptoms? How have you managed them previously? Interested in trying something new straight out of the scientific journals? Send us a message today to find out more!
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