Can Probiotics Boost Athletic Performance?
It’s well established that a gut populated with the right combination of bacteria is a good thing. From keeping you regular to helping to maintain a strong immune system, studies continue to uncover new ways that the 100 trillion or so bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract interact with your body.
Researchers are now beginning to ask what role the human gut biome can play in fitness and sport. Given how intensely even amateur athletes focus on things like protein, carbs, and hydration, is it time to get as serious about bacteria to help influence endurance, soreness, and time to recovery?
“From a research perspective, we still know so little about the microbiome’s role in fitness,” says Corrie Whisner, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition at Arizona State University. “It’s truly an untapped area which merits greater investigation.”
It’s estimated that the human intestinal tract harbors around 1,000 bacterial species, representing 100 times more genes than found in human DNA. Collectively these bacteria and their genetic material are called your gut microbiome, sometimes referred to in shorthand as your biome. Researchers see it as a sort of symbiotic super-organism, weighing about as much as the human brain and secreting a host of biologically active compounds.
When all is going well, the biome positively influences human physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function. When it gets temporarily out of whack, like during an E. coli infection or after a course of antibiotics, you may find yourself spending extra time on the can. And when chronically disrupted, the gut biome has been linked with obesity and gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, according to a recent review in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology.
It’s tantalizing to imagine that cultivating the right kinds of gut bacteria could make you flat out faster or stronger, and that popping a certain probiotic would get you there. So far there’s little evidence to support this. What’s more plausible is that a primed gut biome can help prepare your body to train to its maximum capacity, and offset some of the ill effects that such intense effort brings. A good place to start is inflammation.
“We know that imbalances in our microbial community can lead to inflammatory responses,” says Jarrad Hampton-Marcell, Ph.D., a metagenomics researcher at Argonne National Laboratory. “This has been observed in cases related to diabetes and obesity.” Since athletes suffer from inflammation during exercise and competition, he said, finding mechanisms that can alleviate these symptoms and speed recovery could prove a boon.
The possibility exists. A Taiwanese study published in 2015 looked at the association of intestinal bacteria and exercise performance in three strains of lab mice bred to have different gut environments. The researchers were especially interested in how the mice’s antioxidant enzyme systems would protect against oxidative damage from intense exercise. They found that the different microbiota (the kinds of bacteria in the gut) combined with endurance exercise in the form of swimming corresponded to differences in everything from inflammation biomarkers to how long the critters could actually paddle in water, as well as abdominal fat, liver, and muscle mass. Their conclusion: “Gut microbial status could be crucial for exercise performance.”
Another way the gut biome can help with fitness is by maximizing absorption of nutrients needed for performance and recovery. “Remember, you are not what you eat, you are what you absorb,” says Kiran Krishnan, Ph.D., a microbiologist who studies the role of bacteria in human health and fitness “The gut biome is virtually in total control of what happens to food and nutrition in the gut.”
This “absolutely translates to athletic performance and ability, including recovery,” Krishnan believes. For example, muscle contraction is dependent on sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium levels and metabolism. “If your gut cannot absorb enough minerals, your muscles will seize. If you gut cannot absorb enough pyruvate, amino acids, fatty acids and minerals, your mitochondria–the powerhouse of the cell—will run out of capacity to produce ATP, which will cause fatigue and muscle failure.”
We take for granted that what we put in our mouth ends up in our cells, Krishnan adds, but this isn’t always true. “In order for these critical nutrients to reach the cell, they have to be metabolized, isolated and made functional by the microbiome.”
A third, less obvious but potentially important way the gut biome can impact training and performance is its influence on an athlete’s state of mind. “Our gut microbes act like an endocrine organ, in that they produce important chemicals which act like hormones in our bodies,” notes the Whisner. GABA is produced by lactobacilli while other strains of bacteria have been known to produce anti-stress, ‘feel good’ hormones like dopamine, she said. (Indeed, still other studies have found links between gut bacteria and major psychiatric conditions like autism and schizophrenia.)
In short, a healthy gut biome can help reinforce the sense of well-being that exercise can induce, says Whisner. Indeed, it may be a big part of why exercise makes us feel so good. So what can you do to help your intestinal bacteria flourish? “A healthy gut is one that is diverse,” says Krishnan. Develop that robust diversity with by following these three tips.
Eat Fermented Foods
Supplementing your diet with fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut is a good way to continually reintroduce healthy bacterial strains to your digestive tract. The fermented tea kambucha, an acquired but trendy taste, can also help. Be sure to check food labels, though, as pasteurization and other processing can kill off a lot of the bacteria you’re after. Make sure the products contain live strains.
Prebiotics are foods that nourish the bacteria already present in your gut. Whole wheat and oats, mushrooms, raspberries, artichokes, beans, and asparagus are all good sources of the soluble fibers that make great fuel for your intestinal microbes, says Whisner.
Fill Up on “Friendly” Bacteria
Supplementing with probiotics—live bacteria and yeast known to provide specific health benefits beyond basic nutrition and gut health—is another way to fast-forward the process, and makes particular sense when coming off a course of antibiotics (which kill off both good and bad gut bacteria). The National Institutes of Health maintains a terrific resource on probiotics to help consumers make informed choices about whether and what kinds of probiotics to take. And for the record, Beachbody’s own Shakeology contains a pre- and probiotic, fiber and enzyme blend that can help keep your gut biome fueled and thriving.
What are the Shakeology Facts?
Here are the Shakeology Facts; this delicious shake that comes in six various flavors is a nutrient dense shake comprised of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogen herbs, prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. The flavors that this shake comes in are chocolate, strawberry, greenberry, vanilla, tropical strawberry vegan and chocolate vegan. There is at least one choice for everyone who wants to make some health changes in their life.
Let’s break down the shakeology facts further and get into specific ingredients within each nutrient group.
Proteins and Amino Acids:
I decided to do the Ultimate Reset because I was working out hard but not doing well in the kitchen and not sleeping. I knew it was time to learn how to incorporate a healthy menu into my schedule. Little did I know how this program guides you in a mental way also. The way I look at foods, water, time, my body and MIND has opened my eyes in a new direction.
So I have on week left on this part of my journey and the pictures may not show much of a difference but I feel the difference and it has been an amazing two weeks so far.
Even though the body is extremely resilient, our bodies have been pushed to the limit by pollution, pesticides, preservatives, and chemicals contained in nearly every item that makes up our modern world. These harmful items can disrupt the normal function of our bodies, which, in turn, can result in reduced energy, weight gain, and a weaker immune system.
With the Beachbody Ultimate Reset® you get these benefits:
6 Ways to Act on Your Ambition Success isn’t in the having. Success is in the doing.
Jim Rohn May 8, 2016
Building your ambition is building your enterprising skills: To consistently create new opportunity, to consistently take advantage of the opportunity you’ve created, to be aware, to face life with your eyes and ears open to the possibilities that might be just around the corner.
Self-enterprising people always see the future in the present. Self-enterprising people will always find a way to take advantage of a situation, not be burdened by it.
Every time we choose to do less than we possibly can, it affects our self-confidence, our self-worth. If we keep doing a little less every day, we are also being a little less. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, we won’t feel good about our lives. And if we don’t feel good about our lives, we won’t be very interested in looking for opportunities.
You can reverse this process by using your self-direction, self-reliance and self-discipline. You alter your course by doing a little more each day. And pretty soon, you’ll develop a new habit of doing rather than neglecting.
Success isn’t in the having. Success is in the doing. It’s the process of doing that brings value. It’s the activity that transforms our dreams into reality that converts ideas into actuality. Self-enterprise is found in the activity. For without activity, we’ll miss the opportunity.
Some people out there would have us believe that positive affirmation is more important than activity. Instead of doing something constructive to change our lives, they would have us repeating slogans, such as “Every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Well, getting better doesn’t just happen from wishful thinking. Getting better only happens with the discipline of doing better. Discipline is the requirement for progress. And affirmations without discipline are—in all reality—delusions.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. There’s nothing wrong with affirming the good life, as long as we are disciplined enough to take action. Affirmations can be effective as long as we remember two very important rules: We should never allow affirmation to replace action, activity, enterprise. Feeling better is no substitute for doing better.
Whatever we choose to affirm must be the truth. If the truth happens to be that we’re broke, simply say, “I’m broke.” By admitting you’re broke out loud, you’ll probably be disgusted enough to start the thinking process for how to change it.
*** So you’re here. You want to change and you’re ready to make the change. Follow these six steps to build the power of your ambition:
1. If you’re faced with a mental roadblock, put it down on paper.
Remember, creativity is the first requirement for self-enterprise. When you put a problem on paper, you take the emotion out of it. With the emotion gone, you can look at the roadblock objectively. You can figure out what you did right. You can figure out what you did wrong. You can figure out how to change it. Pick a problem out of your head and pull out a piece of paper. And then draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, jot down the problem. On the other side, you put the solutions. And I have three questions you must ask yourself to find the solutions: What can I do? What could I read? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel… do your homework and find the solution. Who could I ask? Approach them and say, “I’ve researched this material and I’m still short. Can you help me?”
2. Develop the ability to brainstorm.
We hear this term all the time. But what is brainstorming? It’s letting your brain go. It’s being free from all inhibitions and objections and negatives—just putting an idea into your brain and letting it take off, not planning a train of thought, but thinking freely. Effective brainstorming can only happen if you’re free from your ego. You can’t be worried about saying something stupid, or silly, or totally off the wall. Because your silly thought may trigger someone else’s brain to take it one step further. Brainstorming in a group is an experience of collective thought, an experience of developing one idea, or several ideas, through a variety of thought processes. It can’t be effective unless everyone involved is comfortable with each other. If you don’t feel comfortable within the group, you may withhold the very thought that provides the solution to the problem.
3. Imagine outlandish solutions.
This is really an extension of No. 2. Get your brain out of the rut by considering ideas without considering their practicality. If you allow yourself to think without confinement, you might come up with a solution that seems totally inappropriate. But it also allows you to open up the process, which will eventually lead to appropriate solutions. Related: How to Be a Better Thinker, Innovator and Problem Solver
4. Doodle. That’s right: Doodle.
The thing you got in trouble for in middle school is actually quite stimulating to the brain. Because the way you think while doodling is quite different from the way you think while creating a flow chart or writing a formula. Your doodles might end up looking like some symbol that will trigger your brain to think of an alternative solution. Doodling wakes up a different part of your brain. Try creating your flow chart to success. It doesn’t matter if it ends up being accurate or not. What matters is that it’s stimulating the creative thought process. Once you awaken that creative part of you, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that were always there, ones you never saw before. It’s all a matter of how you look at life and opportunities.
5. Access the information highway.
You need to start networking with people whom you’d otherwise never meet.
6. Commit yourself to learning.
Feed your mind. Sharpen your interest in two major subjects: life and people. Learn how you can better interact with others. Learn more on how to get the most from life. Learn all that you can so you can become all that you can become. Learning is the beginning of a life worth living. Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of happiness. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning and searching is where the process of creating your own personal miracle begins. Learning is the8 beginning of self-enterprise. Keep learning!
Shakeology is packed with superfoods.
What’s a superfood, you ask? Superfood is the collective name given to the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet. They go beyond meeting basic nutritional needs; in addition, they have high concentrations of multiple nutrients, such as antioxidants, phytonutrients, or adaptogens that work together to support the immune system and help fight aging.*
Shakeology’s ingredients fall into these powerful nutrient groups:
PROTEINS and AMINO ACIDS
(Whey, Pea, Chia, Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Sacha Inchi; Vegan Protein blend also includes Pea and Rice Proteins [Rice Protein replaces Whey in vegan formulas])
These two very important elements help build and repair muscles, reduce hunger and food cravings, support optimal brain function, improve your mood, and promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. The bottom line is, your body NEEDS proteins and amino acids to thrive—and Shakeology has lots and lots of them!
ANTIOXIDANTS (Cacao, Coconut Flower Nectar, Acerola Cherry, Pomegranate, Camu-Camu, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Blueberry, Açai, Green Tea, Rose Hips, Cinnamon, Luo Han Guo)
Antioxidants are incredibly important in one’s diet because they neutralize molecules known as free radicals. These destructive little devils damage your body the same way oxygen in the air rusts exposed metal on a car. Unfortunately, free radicals are natural by-products that our cells produce, and if you don’t have enough antioxidants to absorb free radicals, they overwhelm your cells, oxidizing and destroying them.
Moral of the story: Load your body up with antioxidants and super-fruits (via Shakeology) to help keep you happy and healthy for a long, long time.
(Moringa, Spirulina, Chlorella, Spinach, Kale, Barley Grass, Kamut Grass, Oat Grass, Wheat Grass)
Phytonutrients are the active elements found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas. All the green superfoods in Shakeology contain phytonutrients that are known to promote a healthy immune system, healthy aging, and help to detoxify and alkalinize the body.
Alkalinize? What does that mean?
Think back to science class when you were a kid and did that litmus paper test. If something was too acidic it turned the paper red. RED = BAD. If it was too much of a base it turned the paper purple. PURPLE = BAD. But right in the middle is the neutral zone (which is where we want our bodies’ pH levels to be). To be in that happy zone we need to “alkalinize” our bodies. And the alkaline nature of phytonutrients (which are packed in Shakeology) helps promote alkalinity in your body.
Unfortunately, the American diet is comprised of waaaaaay too many acidic foods—things like soda, energy drinks, coffee, alcohol, pasta, and processed deli meat. And an acidic environment in the body may lead to disease. So if you’re a self-proclaimed veggie hater (like our CEO Carl Daikeler claims to be), DRINK SHAKEOLOGY and you won’t even know you’re drinking phytonutrients that help alkalinize your body. You’ll just be happy and healthy.
(Maca, Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Maitake Mushroom, Cordyceps, Reishi Mushroom, Schisandra, Ginkgo, Tulsi [Holy Basil])
If they sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, they kind of are. Adaptogens are special herbs that often grow in harsh climates and conditions, at high elevations and on mountaintops where the soil is rocky and oxygen is thin.
Because these plants have to adapt to very harsh conditions, they have highly concentrated nutrients that can help your body cope with stress, and help neutralize harmful free radicals. Plus, they fuel your body with energy while promoting a strong immune system.
Shakeology has a total of 9 adaptogens! So if you want superpowers, consume adaptogens.
PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS
(Yacon Root, Chicory Root, Lactobacillus Sporogenes [Bacillus Coagulans])
Prebiotics pretty much act as “food” that fuels the growth of probiotics (the good bacteria) that are naturally found in your intestines.
Probiotics are strains of good bacteria that assist your body in absorbing nutrients and minerals, bringing an overall balance to the digestive tract while helping support your immune system.
Forget what those cleaning product commercials tell you about bacteria being bad, because these kinds of bacteria are important for proper digestive health and a strong immune system.
(Amylase, Papain, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase, Protease, Bromelain)
Digestive Enzymes help your body break food down into its individual components, making nutrients easier to absorb. Because cooking can destroy foods’ natural digestive enzymes, there’s a very good chance that you don’t get enough of these enzymes in an average diet.
Then we loaded Shakeology up with VITAMINS and MINERALS.
The truth is, most of us don’t get the complete range of vitamins and minerals in our daily diets. Some important vitamins, like vitamin C and the B vitamins, are water-soluble, which means they need to be replenished regularly. And other vitamins, like vitamin D, can be difficult to get enough of in food.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
There is not a simpler way to help your body detoxify and reduce stress then deep breathing! While breathing can be meditative and good for calming stress, it also cleanses the body. Breathing increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your cells, and it also clears carbon dioxide waste from your body.
Deep breathing improves brain function, aids digestion, reduces stress and muscle tension, calms your nervous system, and increases immune system function. Shallow, stressed breathing deprives the body of oxygen. Too little oxygen causes irritable bowels, allergies, headaches, abnormal blood sugar, sensitivity to pain, and a whole host of other symptoms. How long has it been since you’ve taken a deep breath?
Take five minutes and be intentional about your breath today, better yet, build the habit of every day.
Not only does breathing meditative and good at calming stress, but it improves brain and immune system function, cleanses the body, and purifies our minds. A simple technique I use in the morning is the 5-5-5-5 method.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and close your eyes.
What is a supernutrient?
Supernutrients are powerful nutritional components within superfoods that provide vital health benefits. Basically, they are the parts of superfoods that actually cause the foods to be “super.” For example, a bilberry is a superfood. One of the components of bilberries (which are an ingredient of Shakeology) that make them “super” is anthocyanins, which help support eye health. Therefore, anthocyanins are one of bilberry’ssupernutrients. Got it? Great!Shakeology has a smorgasbord of supernutrients in its ingredients, which is why you really do get your daily dose of dense nutrition with each delicious glass.
Throughout the month we will be going into detail about which foods have which supernutrients, but here are a few examples now to give you an idea.
Supernutrient: AMINO ACIDS
What it does: Are the building blocks of proteins which help build and maintain muscle health
Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Whey, Pea, Chia, Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Sacha Inchi; Vegan Protein blend also includes Oat and Rice Proteins
What it does: May help benefit the heart and the health of blood vessels
Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Pomegranate
What it does: Protects the body form oxidative stress
Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Spinach and Kale
What it does: May help promote nutrient absorption
Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Ginkgo, Tulsi [Holy Basil]
What it does: May help support cardiovascular health
Which ingredients in Shakeology have this: Blueberries, Bilberries, Yacon, Pomegranate
These are only SOME of the supernutrients in Shakeology that you consume every time you blend up a yummy shake. Not only is Shakeology a treat to your taste buds, but it is also a great way to treat your body to the nutrition it deserves. Are you heading to the kitchen right now to make a shake? We thought so.
Talk Nice...To Yourself
April 30, 2016
Did you know that the way you talk to yourself has a huge impact on your own health and well-being? Speaking negatively to yourself on a regular basis can have a profoundly bad effect on many aspects of your life. If you openly trash yourself, you give people around you license to do the same.
People who have positive internal conversation have less run-in's with depression, stress and drama, if-you-will. It's also been shown to ward off colds and reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues [wow]!
A positive attitude is much more than just "staying positive." It's about acknowledging and taking a hard look at all your positive attributes (and you have many) and bringing those to light instead of the negative ones.
We all have dark places in us, and things that have happened to us, but those things don't have to run our lives. We have a choice in the matter. We get to choose the way we feel about ourselves, and what we say to ourselves.
Comparing yourself to others, wishing you had what they did, wanting someone else's body, etc will not help you get what you want in life. We all have our own paths, and we are the ones responsible for carving out our path in the way we want it.
It took me years to get where I am. I used to do mime on the Santa Monica Promenade for crying out loud. All because I had this big lofty dream of being an actor. I would do whatever it took. I would land little acting jobs here and there, but I never got my big break. I have to be honest, it was hard to stay positive, but you know what? I did anyway.
I caught some breaks, and happened to be really good at helping people get fit, so I put my focus there. I continued to move forward, talk nicely to myself and take positive action even though my original dream wasn't happening. Sometimes life has another idea for us, and we can fight against it with negativity, or meet life with positivity and forward movement. I also make sure tosurround myself with positive people. It really is true when "they" say; you are who you spend your time with.
The language you use to describe yourself -- and others for that matter, reflects on your ability to see the sunnier side of life, search for solutions and find answers -- cup half full kind of stuff. Your words come from your thoughts, but they also influence your thoughts, it's a two-way street here. The words in your brain and the ones coming out of your mouth can serve you or impede you. Be conscious of the power of your words, and the effect they have on your reality. You get to choose. Remember that!
Hi I'm Kelly Richards Mulloy a stay at home mom of 6. I am on a journey to change my life inside and out. Health and fitness, staying young, join me.