Probiotic Supplements in Sport Reviewed
Probiotic bacteria are defined as live food ingredients that are beneficial to the health of the host. Although they are found in some food products such as yoghurt and some fermented foods, most probiotics are consumed as an oral supplement. Numerous health benefits have been attributed to probiotics, including effects on gastrointestinal tract function and diseases, immune function and allergic conditions.
In 2007, the journal ‘Current Sports Medicine Reports’, published a review article investigating the potential role of probiotics in athletic performance. There was very little literature available and there were no studies that directly linked probiotic supplementation to increased exercise performance. However, two research papers identified that probiotics may enhance the immune responses of fatigued athletes. The paper concluded that there is some scientific evidence to suggest that probiotics may provide athletes with a secondary health benefit that could positively affect athletic performance through enhanced recovery from fatigue and improved immune function.