3 Ways Probiotics Make You Fitter, Faster, and Free of Pain

Portrait of a smiling middle aged woman


We hear athletes frequently frustrated with set

backs due to digestive problems, frequent colds,

or sub optimal recovery. Multiple studies in

recent years have shown the benefits of

probiotics to remedying these ailments, especially

for endurance athletes.


I believe these studies translate to all of us, not

just the high level competitor.   In every day life

we find ourselves running to catch a plane, huffing

and puffing behind the mower, or moving heavy

boxes around the attic.


Maybe you aren’t training for a competitive

sporting event, but if you are training to be your

best in your everyday life will find benefit here as



The fame of probiotics has grown recently.  They

are taking up more and more space on the drug

store shelves. The pharmacists this winter

recommended a high dose for my kids during a

round of antibiotics to minimize side effects.  My

dog was even given a probiotic by our veterinarian

recently for some tummy trouble.


Unfortunately, the common knowledge about

probiotics generally stops at digestion.  Let’s

explore how the gut and it’s bacteria effects the

rest of our body and how it performs.


Here are the 3 ways probiotics can make you

fitter, faster, and free of pain:


1. Improves Immune Function


A 2005 study showed “a probiotic a day keeps the

doctor away” by decreasing by half the number of

sick days taken by employees.  Illness is decreased

because probiotics increase the bodies natural

virus fighters.  This is especially important for

athletes who experience a decrease in immune

function as they fatigue during training.


By improving your immune system, the average

person will be able to remain active and steadily

improve their fitness.  With less sick days and

fatigue, the athlete will be able to continue to

travel and compete.


2. Improves Recovery


Athletes tested with probiotic supplements were

found to have decreased inflammation after

training.  The more quickly this

inflammation is removed from the body the faster

you can safely return to the activity.


In addition, decreased inflammation resulted in

athletes being able to run, cycle, or perform an

endurance activity longer before fatigue.  The

result was increased strength, improved

performance, and faster times in competition.


For the average person out walking their dog,

decreased inflammation will result in more fluid

pain free movement throughout the rest of the



3. Improves Digestion


Symptoms of constipation or diarrhea are both

signs of imbalance in your gut bacteria (we want

more good bacteria to fight off the bad). Even

without tummy trouble, probiotics improve

digestion and overall health.


They help increase absorption of proteins and

beneficial fats in your body.  The more active you

are (or want to be) the higher your nutrient need.

During periods of recovery from illness or injury

you need even more of these nutrients to rebuild

healthy tissue.


Not yet convinced that you need probiotics?


Improved gut health through probiotics is also

linked to improvements in bone density . . . or

decreased risk of osteoporosis.  This is due to

improved absorption of necessary vitamins and

minerals for good bone health.


This is also true for muscle health with a

decreased rate of sarcopenia (muscle loss) and

improved ability for muscles to perform

everyday.  These benefits not only translate to

better sports performance but also improved

wellness and movement as we age.


The  Amazing Microbe . . .


As you can see the probiotics, or healthy bacteria

that lives in our gut, does much more than we

often give them credit for.  Unfortunately, most of

us don’t get enough probiotics in our diet.


There is no “recommended daily requirement” like

for other nutrients since it varies so much between

individuals and circumstances.  Despite the varying

need in each of our bodies, the fact is none of us get

enough probiotics by accident.


A daily habit of eating fermented foods, consuming

kefir or raw dairy products, or taking a quality

supplement is necessary to ensure that the good

microbes in your gut out number the bad.


The use of probiotics is just one way to optimize

your nutrition, movement, and performance for an

active pain free life.  We will continue this discuss

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