Probiotics- Key Ingredient in Sports Nutrition to Support Immune System
Research suggests that natural probiotic, or good bacteria, supports immune and digestive health when added to a healthy lifestyle. Most probiotics are delivered in refrigerated form through dairy products, like yogurt, but getting a daily dose of good bacteria through supplements in capsule form are equally popular with consumers. More recently, a study suggests that probiotics may be a useful component in sports nutrition formulations as well.
This is because avid exercise, the kind done by weekend warriors and professional athletes, may actually work to suppress the immune system. 1 In such cases, a regular intake of probiotics may help support immune system health.
Trends in sports nutrition are moving towards multi-purpose sports nutrition products. For instance, adding probiotics to a protein powder would offer your customers immune support, plus a host of applications for pre- and post- workout benefits. Other examples include adding probiotics to multi-vitamins and energy supplements providing key multi-purpose benefits to your sports nutrition products for about the same price. From a sales potential perspective this kind of formulation has more potential for success.
Probiotic Research and Application in Sports Nutrition Products
Probiotics are living micro-organisms. When ingested into the body they exert health-promoting benefits, beyond the scope of basic nutrition.
Different strains of probiotics are known to support the body's immune system to prepare for challenges common to athletes, particularly marathon runners. Other strains are known to balance the intestinal eco-system optimizing the absorption of nutrients, resulting in better overall health and better immunity. Specific strains of probiotics have also been seen to increase the utilization of protein in the body, particularly the protein, leucine, by 23 percent. 2 Leucine is commonly used for post-workout benefits because it helps increase muscle protein synthesis. Supplement business owners, like you, should work your protein powder manufacturer to create product that includes probiotics. This would allow users to consume less protein since the probiotics will increase the utilization of protein in the body by 23 percent. Such combination (protein-probiotics) supplements will help promote lean body mass and support a healthy immune system.
Athletes may need extra respiratory system support. 3 A study described in The British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 may support an athlete's respiratory health. The probiotic study was conducted over a 4 month period of winter training. 4 Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain was observed to help support immune health in athletes.5
Maintaining a high-protein diet, a popular muscle-building method, is commonly known to lead to digestive disturbances such as gas, bloating, cramps, tiredness, weakness, fatigue, and irritability. Lactobacillus rhamnosus was seen to reduce the duration of gastrointestinal disturbances that are commonly experienced with a high-protein diet. 6
In addition to immunomodulatory effects, probiotics can also have benefit on the inflammation subsequent to strenuous exercise. This was shown in a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled, crossover study in which15 healthy resistance-trained men ingested an encapsulated probiotic Streptococcus (S.) thermophilus FP4 and Bifidobacterium (B.) breve BR03 at 5 billion live cells concentration each, or a placebo, daily for 3 weeks prior to muscle-damaging exercise. The results were that probiotic supplementation resulted in an overall decrease in circulating interleukin-6 (an inflammatory marker), which was sustained to 48 hours post-exercise. In addition, probiotic supplementation likely enhanced isometric average peak torque production at 24 to 72 h into the recovery period following exercise, and moderately increased resting arm angle at 24 hours and 48 hours following exercise. These data suggest that dietary supplementation with probiotic strains S. thermophilus FP4 and B. breve BR03 attenuates performance decrements and muscle tension in the days following muscle-damaging exercise.
Probiotics microencapsulation ensures the survival of probiotic cultures during manufacturing and increases its shelf life. Microencapsulation also prevents accidental contamination that may compromise its stability. Probiotic studies have led to novel delivery systems that increase stability during manufacturing, shelf life and allow greater diversity of formulation.
More health benefits can be achieved by combining probiotics with prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible, but fermentable fibers, together with probiotics, are able to change the composition and activity of intestinal microflora, promoting the health of the host. 7
According to market research, probiotics as a daily regiment has already caught the attention of mainstream media. An ever-growing body of probiotics research supports its benefits and has proliferated sales at a stunning rate according to Functional Ingredients. 8 According to Nutrition Business Journal’s Supplement Business Report 2018, the probiotics supplement market remains tremendously healthy at $1.9 billion. Since 2014, the percentage growth has hovered in the teens and then hold steady through 2021. More consumers are taking probiotics regularly in order to retain nutrients found in food, for overall health and digestive comfort. Probiotics may also aid in providing relief to several digestive concerns.9
If you're interested in learning more about the diverse range of probiotics manufacturing options available to you, call (855) 492-7388 to speak to one of our Production Specialists. Find out how you can easily manufacture high-quality probiotic supplements your customers can use for condition-specific results for sports enthusiasts or for maintaining general health. Or, if you are ready with your requirements, you may send us your request to receive a free custom manufacturing price quote in 48 business hours!
6. J Clin Invest. 2011;121(6):2242-2253. doi:10.1172/JCI44031.
7. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Mar;108(3):510-21.