Probiotics: Are they worth taking?

Thinking about adding probiotics to your diet? Renee McGregor explains all you need to know

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What are probiotics?

Probiotics are food supplements made up of live bacteria.

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What are the benefits of probiotics?

They’ve been recommended for a number of years now, as they’re beneficial to both the digestive and the immune system.

Recent developments are emerging that suggest that gut microbiota can influence mood, stress and sleep quality – all hugely important for recovery, which involves both physical and psychological components. So the fact that probiotics can reduce both physical symptoms of stress, especially post-race when the immune system is most vulnerable, as well as enhance mood and sleep quality, ensures that an athlete can return to training in optimal condition. (Gleeson, M 2016).

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What type of probiotic is best?

The evidence also points to using a water-based probiotic in preference to a tablet form. This is because a tablet will be seen as solid food within the stomach and will be broken down by stomach acids, making it less effective. Whereas a liquid form will pass through the stomach directly into the gut where it can get to work immediately.