“The main benefit of probiotics in sport is an improvement in immunity so you’ll have less likelihood of catching an infection and an infection basically means you can participate in competition or not at all,” said Dr Ralf Jäger, co-founder and partner at Wisconsin-based research firm, Increnovo.
“The other thing is for the addition of protein sources because the probiotic helps with the absorption of amino acids and therefore you can increase the efficacy of proteins. You can use an inferior protein source and make it as good as a good quality protein source, or you can use less of the protein compared to just using a protein alone if you combine it with a probiotic.”
Sports sector absorption
Dr Jäger said probiotics – and prebiotics – were gaining increasing traction in the sports nutrition sector.
“The sports nutrition industry is extremely interested in probiotics. Right now they are focusing on the effect of increasing protein absorption, so the products you find on the market are based on protein-probiotic combinations.”
“However if we can do more studies and actually see a performance enhancing benefit based on the probiotics then you would see a huge growth of probiotic probiotics out on the market.”
“But we are in the infant stages of this research.”
Dr Jäger said a more liberal regulatory environment in the US compared to Europe meant more encouragement was given to researchers there.
Pilot studies assessing effects in resistance training and inflammation are being followed up with full studies, the results of which will be presented at Probiota Americas on June 3-5 in San Diego, California.
In addition to the annual Probioa event in Amsterdam, Probiota Americas takes place in San Diego on June 3-5 this year, where Dr Jäger will present latest unpublished findings. More information here.