Probiotics may reduce muscle fatigue, improve recovery: RCT

Four weeks of supplementation with Lactiplantibacillus plantarum​ subsp. plantarum​ PS128 (formerly known as Lactobacillus plantarum​ PS128) prior to running a half marathon prevented decreases in a range of measures, including neuromuscular efficiency, after a half-marathon.

“The PS128 supplementation might prevent the decrease in MDF [median power frequency], iEMG [integrated electromyography], and peak torque after HM [half-marathon],” wrote researchers from The University of Taipei and Tamkang University.

“Consequently, recreational runners might contemplate the adoption of a probiotic supplementation protocol as a prospective strategy to mitigate muscle fatigue after HM. It was advised that recreational runners consider a 4-week probiotic supplementation regimen to mitigate post-HM muscle fatigue.”

The microbiome and athletic performance

Interest in how the gut microbiome is linked to athletic performance – and the potential of modulation of the microbiota via pre- and probiotics to boost performance – is an area of increasing interest.

An extensive review of the athletic gut microbiota (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​, 2020, Vol. 17, Article No: 24) found that much of the human research into the athletic microbiome has been done only recently.

Starting in 2014 in Ireland with a study on rugby players, 10 studies have looked into gut microbiome makeup among athletes, and seven of those have been published in just the past two years.  In addition to the rugby players, subjects have included professional cyclists, elite distance runners, competitive walkers and Olympic rowers.