For a lot of athletes, diet, and training programs are at the forefront of their attention. That means doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best performance possible. The gut is the literal epicenter of the body, an imbalanced microbiome can interfere with more than just your digestion.
PROPRIETARY BLEND – Standardized extract of Phyllanthus emblica AND Camellia sinensis.
With Naturally derived –
VITAMIN C – critical micro nutrient. It contributes to your immune defense system by supporting multiple cellular functions of your body’s adaptive immune systems. Being an antioxidant, it can also fight free radicals in the body, by decreasing inflammation and boosting immunity.
CATECHINS – compounds that can help regulate blood pressure, increase weight loss, and protect the brain from disease.
TOCOPHEROLS – May prevent coronary heart disease, support immune function, prevent inflammation, promote eye health, and lower the risk of cancer.
WHAT IS THE GUT?
When most people hear the word gut, the stomach comes to mind. But the gut is more than just the stomach. The gastrointestinal tract encompasses the wise array of organs that are involved in the process of digestion, absorbing, and metabolizing food to supply the body with everything it needs to run.
We’re talking about:
- Pharynx (throat)
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
Gut health, specifically, refers to the function and balance of bacteria residing throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organisms in the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines all work synergistically to allow us to thrive. Most people think, an imbalance and unhealthy gut extend far beyond just the digestive tract. It can interfere with mood, immunity, glucose metabolism, and even your performance and recovery.
WHY IS GUT HEALTH IMPORTANT?
The gut extends beyond the GI tract and has interconnections with the brain and nervous system, the immune system, hormones and neurotransmitters, digestion, and more.
The microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract play an important role in nutrient uptake, vitamin synthesis, energy production, modulating inflammation, and host immune response, which collectively contribute to overall health and well-being. For athletes specifically, a healthy gut plays a critical role in improving energy metabolism by supplying muscles with oxygen and nutrients during exercise, but also modulating levels of inflammation and expediting tissue repair after exercise improves performance and accelerate recovery.
Intense exercise requires sufficient energy availability and limitations can severely interfere with work capacity. During prolonged or intense exercise, the body taps into various energy sources to maintain or exceed load. When the microbiome is healthy and balanced, it contributes to this energy supply through the breakdown of foods into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which act as a substrate for gluconeogenesis, the process that generates glucose for energy.
The bacteria in the gut also plays an important role in mitigating inflammation, which is essential for athletic performance and recovery. Heavy exercise induces micro tears in muscle fibers, which results in inflammation. During the repair process, blood flow increases to the affected area to replenish oxygen, bring in nutrients needed for repair, and clear out waste, ultimately allowing muscles to repair and grow. And while some level of inflammation is needed for the growth and recovery process, excessive inflammation can actually be detrimental to the immune system.
However, having a healthy gut helps to counteract the potential for excess inflammation brought on by intense physical activity.The SCFAs not only contribute to energy production, but they also can mitigate inflammation by reducing gut permeability and inhibiting the release of inflammation, the gut can also help to delay fatigue and post-exercise soreness.
WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO POOR GUT HEALTH?
Most people aren’t aware that things they do on a daily basis can alter the composition of the gut and disrupt the delicate balance needed to maintain health. Some of the biggest hitters that influence gut health include:
SYMPTOMS THAT YOUR GUT MIGHT BE AN IMBALANCE
Dysbiosis is probably a lot more common than you think, and the bloating that you get after eating meals may not be from he sheer amount you’ve eaten but rather you gut telling you that something isn’t quite right. Or maybe it’s the fatigue you’re dealing with even though you feel like you’ve slept well. Watch out for the symptoms indicating that you may have microbial imbalances:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Skin rash or redness
- Bad breath
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety or depression
HOW YOUR GUT AFFECTS YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The link between gut health and athletes is bidirectional, meaning that gut health can affect athletic performance, but exercise can also affect gut health. Studies have shown that gut microbiome diversity (a marker of a healthy gut) has a great composition in people who are active compared to those who are sedentary. While research is still uncovering more about the link between exercise and gut health, researchers have found multiple possible mechanisms by which exercise may influence gut health, including:
- Higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria
- Increased diversity of microbial strains
- Increased metabolic capacity
- Improved GI barrier function
- Improved mucosal immune function
But that’s not it. A healthy gut bacteria are intricately involved in your physical performance for a few other reasons:
Improved Energy Output:
A healthy gut microbiome is also essential for:
- Reducing fatigue via more efficient lactic acid breakdown
- Controlling redox function, which can delay symptoms of fatigue
- Increasing ATP production
- Modulating metabolism
- Supplying essential metabolites to mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells
- Regulating energy harvest, storage, and expenditure
Improving Mental Strength:
How many times have you lacked the motivation and focus to get through your workout? As it turns out, the composition of your gut may have something to do with that. Your gut microbes communicate with your brain via the vagus nerve (10th cranial nerve) and have a huge influence on the state of your mental health. Dysbiosis has been known to contribute to mental health issues, but a healthy gut can also contribute to mental toughness, as the gut has profound influences on:
- Pain threshold
- Cognitive performance
- Mental clarity
Supports Body Composition:
Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but the thing that most can agree on is that fat mass isn’t exactly functional and can be an impedance to performance. But when you’re in a sport that relies on strength and speed, the gut microbiome can help the body run more efficiently. This is because it influences:
- Body composition (muscle vs. fat)
- White vs. brown fat
- Blood glucose response
Nutrient Absorption and Utilization:
Every athlete knows that diet affects their performance, but your performance is dictated not only by what you eat but also by what you actually absorb. Your body’s ability to effectively metabolize and use nutrients is key for optimal body function and athletic performance and it’s the gut job to do that.
Sleep is quite possibly one of the most important things an athlete can do for their performance, and research suggests that the composition and health of the microbiome may play role in regulating sleep by helping create important chemical messengers in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine. Studies show that total microbiome diversity was positively associated with increased sleep efficiency and total sleep time, and negatively correlated with wake after sleep onset. Sleep deficiency in athletes has been associated with not only impaired cognitive function but also affects reaction time, accuracy, speed, decision making, injury risk, and fatigue onset.
Supports Antioxidant Defenses:
Because virtually all metabolic processes produce free radicals as a byproduct of normal function, having a strong antioxidant defense system is critical to keeping the body healthy. And for athletes whose muscles are constantly working overtime, that need is even greater. But the health of that system partially relies on the health of the gut. A recent study found that gut microbiota plays a role in regulating glutathione and amino acid metabolism of the host, glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and the main detoxifying agent that plays an essential role in enabling the immune system, nutrient metabolism, and regulation of other important cellular events. A deficiency of this antioxidant is known to contribute to oxidative stress, which plays a major role in the mechanisms of several chronic diseases. A healthy antioxidant defense system is associated with:
- Prevents of tissue damage from intense exercise
- Protects against intense exercise-induced oxidative damage and inflammation
- Reduces physical fatigue
- Improves exercise performance
- Accelerates tissue repair and recovery