fitness supplements Archives

Why Take Probiotics? Do Probiotics Work?

I’m a skeptic when it comes to nutritional supplements. I think that if you eat healthy and varied you will get most of the essential nutrients through your food. A while ago I felt tired and washed-out all the time so I asked some advice in a nearby store. The girl that worked there seemed to know a lot about nutritional supplementation and she told me that if you exercise a lot, like I do, probiotics can help you feel fitter.

I decided to buy a probiotics supplement. (Enzymatic Therapy Acidophilus Pearls). (acidophilus is a subspecies of lactobacillus) And after using it for a while I noticed to feel a bit more energetic, or less tired actually. Something more profound I noticed is that a while ago, after I quit using the probiotics for about a week, I started to feel a cold coming up. The first time I thought this to be a coincidence but the second time I thought I was getting sick I realized, I again, hadn’t taken my Acidophilus pills for about a week. This, of course, is no hard proof probiotics help fight fatigue and boost your immune system so I did some online research.

The Possible Benefits of Probiotic Therapy

Probiotics refers to the beneficial bacteria that reside in the digestive system and gut in humans. Originally, they were thought to be beneficial by improving the microbial balance of the gut and inhibiting the growth or pathogens and bacteria that secrete toxins.

Today, probiotics are being investigated to see their connection to issues like alleviating;

  • chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine,
  • pathogen-caused diarrhea,
  • urogenital infections,
  • and atopic diseases (atopic refers to allergies, examples are hay fever, asthma, and eczema.)

The most well known probiotic bacteria include lactic-acid bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus, and bacteria from the genus Bifidobacteria. These can inhibit and displace harmful proteolytic bacteria that metabolize proteins into toxic phenols, indols, and ammonia.

Proteolytic bacteria have been linked to factors that cause old age, and studies have observed long-lives in human populations in eastern Europe and Russia who include fermented dairy products (milk and yogurt fermented with lactic-acid bacteria) in their diets.

Pioneering probiotics researcher Eli Metchnikoff discovered that certain rural peoples in Europe such as in Bulgaria, who lived mainly on milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria, lived a relatively long life.

Where are Probiotics Found?

Natural sources of probiotics include cultured and fermented foods—such as certain yogurts, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, aged cheese, and miso. These foods must have active cultures in order to be beneficial (not heated or pasteurized, which kills the bacteria). You can also take probiotics in the form of a dietary supplement

Probiotics and Fitness

The results as to whether probiotics help athletes stay fit are mixed. In one study, Australian long distance runners were given a trial that included taking capsules containing the probiotic Lactobacillus. Though the probiotic did not increase overall fitness, it did help reduce the incidence of respiratory problems, such as sore throats, coughing and sneezing.

It was also suggested that the probiotic caused an increase in interferon-gamma, an important immune system molecule (News-medical.net, February 13, 2008). Another study suggested that though probiotics may help improve the overall health of athletes, there was no direct proof that they help increase athletic performance (Norton, Amy, August 3, 2007).

Probiotics and Fatigue

Studies have suggested that taking probiotics may help alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome. One Swedish study observed ten male and five female patients who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. These test subjects were given a regimen that included daily treatments with an activated yogurt.

Six of the patients, including four of the women, reported improvements in their physical and/or mental health after these treatments, with some of them claiming dramatic improvement (Harding, Anne, February 27, 2009). The findings of the study were that improvement of health is possible using probiotics, and further studies should be conducted in patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (Sullivan, Åsa, Nord, Carl E., and Evengård, Birgitta, January 26, 2009).

Probiotics and the Immune System

Probiotics are also believed to aid the immune system. One study conducted in the Netherlands concluded that preoperative probiotics reduced the incidence of infectious complications resulting from abdominal surgery, liver transplantation, and severe trauma (Borrell, Brendan, May 12, 2008).

In another study, a nutrition researcher at Tufts University reviewed 161 published reports on the immunological effects of yogurt, and concluded that yogurt has immunostimulatory effects in patients whose immune systems are compromised by disease or medical treatments (Brody, Jane E., December 25, 2001).

Conclusions

Probiotics, either from eating activated foods or taking probiotic supplements are good for maintaining a healthy intestinal flora. They displace disease-causing bacteria in the gut, aid in proper digestion, and might help people stay more fit and less fatigued. They also might help stimulate the body’s immune system to keep you infection-free. Click this link for the most popular probiotics supplements on Amazon.

Probiotic Supplements Benefits

  • relieving chronic constipation
  • can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • regulate bowel movements
  • Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.
  • may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

There might be a place for probiotics in your diet, after discussing possible treatment options with your nutritionist or personal physician.



References
ADVANCE for Physician Assistance. (May-June 2008). The Advantages of Using Probiotics. Patient Handout. Retrieved from: http://nurse-practitioners-and-physician-assistants.advanceweb.com/SharedResources/Downloads/2008/050108/PA/pa050108_p58pathandout.pdf

Borrell, Brendan. (May 12, 2008). A Boom in Edible Bacteria. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/may/12/health/he-probiotics12

Brody, Jane E. (December 25, 2001). PERSONAL HEALTH; Make These Bacteria Go to Work for You. New York Times. Retrieved from:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/25/health/personal-health-make-these-bacteria-go-to-work-for-you.html?fta=y&pagewanted=print

Harding, Anne. (February 27, 2009). Probiotics may help some with chronic fatigue. Reuters. Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/02/27/us-probiotics-fatigue-idUSTRE51Q44G20090227

News-medical.net. (February 13, 2008). Probiotics Help Keep Athletes Fit and Well. Retrieved from: http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/02/13/35241.aspx

Norton, Amy. (August 3, 2007). No Proof Probiotics Aid Athletic Performance. Reuters Health. Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/03/us-athletic-performance-idUSCOL36858820070803

Probiotic. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic

Sullivan, Åsa, Nord, Carl E., and Evengård, Birgitta. (January 26, 2009). Effect of supplement with lactic-acid producing bacteria on fatigue and physical activity in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutrition Journal 8 (4). Retrieved from: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-8-4.pdf

Yes it does. In various cultures around the world such as Asia and Latin America people have known for long that spicy foods help weight loss.

Researchers acknowledge that the substance in peppers responsible for their hot taste (e.g. capsaicin) helps the body burn additional calories. Peppers do not only help reduce body weight they also pack a ton of other health benefits. More on this in a bit.

As far back as 6,000 BC, Ayurvedic medicine used black pepper to increase the digestibility of food. The internal heat generated by the consumption of pepper indicates its positive influence on the body’s absorption of nutrients.

How Does Regular Intake of Peppers Help Weight Loss?

Peppers aid weight loss in several ways;

  • by raising body temperature. Peppers act as so called thermonutrients which are responsible for a process called thermogenesis, the production of heat in the body which makes excess calories burn faster.
  • by enhancing digestion, due to an increase of hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach. For the athletes among you, peppers are also thought to increase absorption of amino acids and proteins post workout.
  • experts believe that capsaicin as well as other substances responsible for the spiciness of certain foods reduces hunger pangs for salty, sweet, and fatty, foods. Some scientists state that the reduction of appetite is due to the increase of epinephrine and norepinephrine levels in the body which causes us to feel less hungry.
  • by improving bio-availability. This term refers to your body’s ability to absorb and transform foods into forms that can be used and progressed. Peppers enhance bio-availability and thus improve digestion and nutritional status (the take and utilization of nutrients). In other words, peppers improve how your food is being digested and used by the body.
  • There’s another benefit of regular intake of peppers for weight loss purposes and the intake of capsaicin in particular. “Although capsaicin appears to work by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, it doesn’t produce the undesirable side effects associated with sympathetic stimulants such as ephedrine”. said Dr. Moritani, Kyoto University Japan.

    Burn Fat, Not Your Mouth!

    Some experts think that while it’s true that peppers and other spicy nutrients can increase metabolism, the increase is marginal and thus its weight loss benefits. Opinions on whether or not adding peppers to your daily diet will help weight loss sufficiently differ:

    “It’s possible to consume enough of capsaicin from your diet to raise your calorie-burning rate”, says Dr. Toshio Moritani, a professor and director of the Laboratory of Applied Physiology at Kyoto University in Japan.

    “I think it will probably be quite difficult for a Western population to eat a dosage of capsaicin from food items to obtain a fat-reducing effect.” said Dr. Anita Belza, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen

    Apart from that, not everybody likes the taste of peppers and the burning sensation in your mouth. For those people Capsiplex may be a valuable option.

    Capsiplex is a clinically proven weight loss pill containing concentrated capsaicin. It has shown to help burn up to 12 times more calories. In a placebo controlled study test persons were able to burn up to an extra 278 calories. Capsiplex is100% natural, has no known side effects, and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Learn more about this natural supplement by reading this extensive Capsiplex weight loss pills review.

    General Health Benefits of Peppers and Spicy Foods

    Peppers are natural anti-depressants and stress relievers. By eating spicy foods the brain is triggered to produce endorphins and serotonins. These are natural painkillers that also promote a sense of well-being and lift up your mood.

    Peppers also contain a wide range of healthy substances such as beta-carotene (in red chili peppers) to vitamin C. They lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and fatty acids (triglycerides) in your body. Thet are known to improve sleep, increase energy levels in the morning, help fight flu and colds, improve breathing especially among those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis.

Where Can I Buy Proactol PLUS

where can I buy proactol plusYou can buy Proactol PLUS at the official website of the supplier. Click here to go there right now! Still not convinced about your choice for this improved fat burning supplement? Read on to learn what’s so unique about this product.

A friend of mine with whom I recently started bodybuilding again asked me, Where can i buy Proactol plus. I answered that the only place you can purchase this supplement is on the official website of the manufacturer. The rumors about the new, updated fat burner pill for weight loss called Proactol PLUS will probably have reached you. The demand is exploding as media coverage has led to an increased awareness of the unique traits of this product among the large public.

There are a few reasons why many dieters are rapidly placing their orders on the Proactol website. Here’s a short roundup on the benefits of this fat burner.

“Proactol Plus is 100% natural and 100% organic, and is highly effective in blocking and isolating fat molecules in order to prevent them from being digested”

Why Should You Buy Proactol PLUS?

Proactol PLUS is;

* Clinically tested
* A registered medical device
* A Potent fat binder
* Recommended by experts
* One of its kind in nature, action & results
* Approved for efficacy and safety
* Cost-effective & economical
* Tested & trialed
* Owned and backed by scientific studies & data
* Lets you lose extra fat and weight efficiently and safely

Here’s more info on where to buy Proactol Plus weight loss pills.

How Does It Work?

Proactol PLUS is a fat binder which implies that it works by preventing fatty acids in your meals from getting digested. Therefore they can not be stored as fat cells.

The active ingredients form a viscous substance in the stomach which is then naturally excreted by the intestines. It’s not only efficient but non-invasive as well. It has been proven a safe and effective way for dieters to achieve their goals.

What Are Proactol PLUS’s Ingredients?

There are two main, active ingredients. Both totally organic and herbal. These are one soluble and one non-soluble fiber derived from an edible cactus. This extracts of this cactus, Prickly Pear or Opuntia Ficus Indica, are combined in a unique and patented formula which has already helped many obese people lose weight.

This plant has wonderful properties consists almost completely out of concentrated fibers and antioxidants.

Bovine colustrum is indicated to be very effective muscle growing supplement for bodybuilders and other athletes. No wonder it is becoming increasingly popular among athletes to promote performance and to build lean muscle mass.

According to Pubmed:

supplementation with bovine colostrum (20 g/d) in combination with exercise training for 8 wk may increase bone-free lean body mass in active men and women. Source: Pubmed

The Pubmed article titled: ‘The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women’ concerns a 8 week during study in subjects participated in aerobic and heavy-resistance training. The whey protein group experienced a significant increase in body weight whereas the colostrum group experienced a significant increase in bone-free lean body mass.

So What Exactly Is Bovine Colostrum?

Bovine: refers to cows.
Colostrum: Is the first milk a mammal produces after giving birth. This very nutritious type of milk is also colloquially known as beestings, or bisnings and has a huge amount of vitamins and minerals to give the newborn a jumpstart.

Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease since it often has no immune system of its own right after birth. It is lower in fat and higher in protein than ordinary milk.

Did you know?
If a calf does not receive colostrum, it will die within a few days after birth.

Bovine Colostrum also contains growth factors. A newborn calf will be able to develop his young body in a very short time span. These benefits are used by human bodybuilders to support their muscle growth.

As a nutrient or supplement is has show to have the following benefits:

  • Natural immune system booster
  • stimulates lean muscle growth
  • contains loads of vitamins and minerals
  • speeds healing of injuries
  • regulates blood sugar
  • may help burn fat
  • contains a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1 that spurs growth.

The 20 grams used in the study to use is high compared to the concentration of most commercially available colostrum supplements. Most contain 500mg per capsule. Also the ingredients differ from product to product. So it’s wise to compare brands based on their ingredients.

Other, Bodybuilding Related Benefits:

The combined presence of insulin-like growth factors (IGF), transforming growth factors, immunoglobulins, cytokines, lactoferrin and lysozyme, in addition to hormones such as growth hormone, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone and glucocorticoids, would suggest that BC might improve immune function, gastrointestinal integrity and the neuroendocrine system, parameters that may be compromised as a result of intensive training. Source: Pubmed.

It should be noted that in a large part of these hormones will be destroyed by the stomach acids but there its use has shown an increase of IGF. It is suggested that it stimulates Igf production just like regular milk. Although there is a plethora of research and studies backing the fitness and overall health benefits of this supplement more research is needed on the bio-availability of hormones.

A review from bodybuilding.com:

I was a competitive body builder in 2001 drug free and discovered colostrum through a natural body building site. I used it aggressivley for 3 months and gained 20 pounds of lean muscle and had amazing gains in strength and recoupe from my hard work outs. The stuff really works and is amazing for general health. I never had a cold or got sick at all over that time. I took several years off of body building but kept using the colostrum to keep up my health. I’m back working out again and have been using the colostrum for the last month while training 4 times a week and have put on 8 pounds LEAN muscle and have made amazing gains again, i swear by the stuff and have had several people take my advise and they are having the same results ot better… God bless you all.

A popular colostrum supplement on Amazon is 21st Century Colostrum. For a wider range of products check out Bodybuilding.com = #1 Online Health and Fitness Supersite!



Interesting Bovine Colustrum Facts and Articles

Colostrum may boost immune function after exercise. Source: Center for Nutritional Research.

Colostrum, both in healthy subjects and high-risk cardiovascular patients, is at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu and is very cost-effective. Source: Sage Journals Online

Bovine Colostrum, The Forgotten Miracle. Source: Holisticvetpetcare.com

I have been an avid fitness enthusiast / bodybuilder for a few years. It was about 3 years ago that I quit and started practicing kickboxing. Last week I resumed fitness and it feels good to be lifting weights again. I really enjoy my sport and am planning to treat my food intake et cetera seriously in order to get the best results.

My ex-father in law who was a doctor said whey will clog your intestines.

Something that haunted my head for the last week is the question if whey protein shakes are bad for your health? I remember my ex girlfriend saying something like that and now I want to know the facts. In fact it was her stepfather who now is a retired general practitioner who said the powder can be harmful. Do whey and other protein shakes leave a residue in your colon, are they bad for your liver, do they damage your kidneys, or is this a fable? Here’s a write-up on what I have learned.

Mixed views are abundant

When searching online both proponents and opponents of proteins shakes come up with convincing arguments. At first. When digging some more I do think I have a pretty clear and sound view on this matter. I must say that I did not find much study reports or other research findings regarding this subject. This post is more of a view of my opinion than a well-researched paper. Nevertheless I think I’m spot on.

Whey proteins are a quickly digested source of amino acids which makes them available for the muscles almost direct after training. These branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as they are called help recover muscles after working out and stimulate muscle repair, thus growth.

Healthy use of whey as a supplement?

Those who warn for the dangerous health benefits of whey protein commonly state that its quality isn’t by far as good as the proteins present in meat, eggs, or fish. I can relate to that opinion. Vitamins in fruit and vegetables are of a better quality than those in supplements. But sometimes you can’t get it all from your food intake and that’s where vitamin pills or protein shakes come into play.

Another frequently heard warning is that these shakes are loaded with toxins. I don’t think this is true because I didn’t find any trustworthy source confirming this claim. There may be tiny, negligible quantities of heavy metals and other less wanted substances but that applies to many other nutrients as well.

Intestinal toxemia

I could not find any proof that the statement that whey protein powder clogs in your colon is true. I did read that intestinal toxemia is supposed to be caused by protein shakes. In fact this ailment occurs due to many different nutrients and yes, it may be caused by excessive whey intake. Not by taking a few shakes a week. I believe avoiding such ailments is merely a matter of a varied diet and perhaps being lucky not to be genetically predisposed to such conditions.

Protein shakes also don’t, by definition cause stomach problems, unless you have some kind of special sensitivity to them. As for any nutrient, if it hurts your stomach, stop using it. Whey protein is reported to make some people pass gas or belch a little bit. Whey does not cause ‘weight to stick’. Yes it potentially does, as will any nutrient do, if you take too much of it.

Too much of anything is never good… Well except for a few things of course..

I am convinced that whey protein shakes CAN cause kidney, liver, and colon damage. But only if you overdo taking them. Excessive intake of protein may result in your kidney having difficulties to metabolize the proteins. Scientific backing to support the claim that excessive intake of protein may cause kidney damage lacks. As is the same for the other health compromising claims regarding whey.

In fact, several studies show beneficial effects of whey protein supplements regarding treatment of diseases;

“Results from animal studies suggest that whey protein, but not casein protein, may provide protective effects against experimentally induced breast cancer in animals.”
Source: American Association for Cancer Research.

and;

We and others have demonstrated that whey protein diets result in increased glutathione (GSH) concentration in a number of tissues, and that some of the beneficial effects of whey protein intake are abrogated by inhibition of GSH synthesis.
Source: Whey Proteins In Cancer Prevention – Anticancer RESEARCH 15: 2643-2650, 1995

Conclusion

I think the claim that whey protein powders and creatine are just worthless, harmful by-products of the dairy industry production dumped on the sports market to make some easy bucks is an old wives tale. Protein shakes are a valid option to increase protein when you are a bodybuilder or other type of athlete that wants to grow muscles more quickly.

On the one hand I do believe that natural sources are the best option but whey protein shakes can provide something extra. For example when you don’t have the opportunity to eat five or more meals a day containing meat, chicken, fish, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds. And let’s be realistic, who has that much time and opportunity. So I will be happily ordering my whey protein powder. (This is my favorite whey protein)

But I won’t drink two shakes a day like a friend of mine does. That may very well be unhealthy. I’m convinced about that. I don’t take multivitamin supplements each day as well. I take them a few times a week. Moderate behavior is healthy. Even when it comes to things that are good for you. In the end it’s all about common sense. If you have another opinion, or know about some studies I missed please let me know below.

————UPDATE————–

Recently I spoke with a nutritionist and he told me that you actually need (whey) protein shakes in case you exercise a lot like I do. It’s very difficult to get all those proteins from your daily food intake.

At the moment I also take MMA classes but lately I noticed being tired all the time. I was told to take probiotics for recovery since balance in the intestinal flora seems to be very important. It’s been three weeks now and I feel fitter already. Anyone else experiences with probiotics for overall well-being and fitness?