Athletes get more out of proteins with probiotics

Fitness fanatics, bodybuilders and other strength athletes recover quicker from training if they use probiotics with their protein preparations. This discovery was made by researchers at the private research organisation Increnovo and the University of Tampa. They used the bacteria Bacillus coagulans GBO-30, 6086, which is already on the market.

The researchers got 29 young men, all of whom had experience in strength training, to do a killing workout for their legs on two separate occasions.

Every day for two weeks preceding one of the workouts, the men consumed 20 g casein. During the two weeks preceding the other workout the men took the same amount of protein, but this time the researchers added 1 billion CFU [colony forming units] of the probiotic bacteria Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086.

Athletes get more out of proteins with probiotics
Bacillus coagulans GBO-30, 6086 is patented by Ganeden Biotech, which also sponsored the study. Ganeden markets the bacteria as GanedenBC30, which is found, among others, in MyoFusion, a protein preparation manufactured by Gaspari Nutrition.

Previously published human studies have shown that supplementation with Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 improves the immune response after viral infection, [Postgrad Med. 2009 Mar;121(2):114-8.] and that the probiotic also reduces the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. [BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Jan 12;10:1.] In addition, the bacteria improve digestion, probably by producing enzymes that boost nutrient uptake. [BMC Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov 18;9:85.]

The researchers wondered whether strength athletes could recover faster from workouts by taking a supplement containing Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086.

When the participants added the probiotic bacteria to their protein they reported a little more post-workout recovery and a little less muscle soreness.

The researchers observed that the bacteria had no effect on the concentration of broken down protein in the bloodstream and the concentration of urea nor did it have any effect on maximal strength or explosive strength. The bacteria did reduce the rise in concentration of creatine kinase in the blood. That would suggest that the probiotic reduced muscle breakdown. POST = 48 hours after the workout.

When the researchers got the participants to cycle as hard as they could after the workout they saw that the workout had reduced the power – in other words the speed – that the participants were able to develop. At least, this was the case in the participants that had used ordinary protein. When the participants got the probiotic their power did not decrease.

“The probiotic supplement tended to protect the muscle from damage and may have helped recovery of physical performance,” the researchers wrote.

“Further studies should investigate the relationship between direct and indirect (through improved protein utilization) effects of probiotic supplementation and will provide further insights into strategies to influence the gut microbiota to optimize muscle health, specifically in an aging population with impaired nutrient utilization (sarcopenia).”

Probiotic Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 reduces exercise-induced muscle damage and increases recovery


Probiotics have been reported to support healthy digestive and immune function, aid in protein absorption, and decrease inflammation. Further, a trend to increase vertical jump power has been observed following co-administration of protein and probiotics in resistance-trained subjects. However, to date the potential beneficial effect of probiotics on recovery from high intensity resistance exercise have yet to be explored. Therefore, this study examined the effect of co-administration of protein and probiotics on muscle damage, recovery and performance following a damaging exercise bout.

Twenty nine (n = 29) recreationally-trained males (mean ± SD; 21.5 ± 2.8 years; 89.7 ± 28.2 kg; 177.4 ± 8.0 cm) were assigned to consume either 20 g of casein (PRO) or 20 g of casein plus probiotic (1 billion CFU Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, PROBC) in a crossover, diet-controlled design. After two weeks of supplementation, perceptional measures, athletic performance, and muscle damage were analyzed following a damaging exercise bout.

The damaging exercise bout significantly increased muscle soreness, and reduced perceived recovery; however, PROBC significantly increased recovery at 24 and 72 h, and decreased soreness at 72 h post exercise in comparison to PRO. Perceptual measures were confirmed by increases in CK (PRO: +266.8%, p = 0.0002; PROBC: +137.7%, p = 0.01), with PROBC showing a trend towards reduced muscle damage (p = 0.08). The muscle-damaging exercise resulted in significantly increased muscle swelling and Blood Urea Nitrogen levels in both conditions with no difference between groups. The strenuous exercise significantly reduced athletic performance in PRO (Wingate Peak Power; PRO: (−39.8 watts, −5.3%, p = 0.03)), whereas PROBC maintained performance (+10.1 watts, +1.7%).

The results provide evidence that probiotic supplementation in combination with protein tended to reduce indices of muscle damage, improves recovery, and maintains physical performance subsequent to damaging exercise.


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