Let's talk probiotics

Hi there,

In ~2 months I will be racing Cape Epic and one of my greatest challenges will be to overcome sickness through the week. My obsession during the preparation leading to the race is to control all the elements within my reach and would love to know your opinions on “gut health” for this kind of events.

I live in Spain and have a pretty balanced diet, eating tons of veggies, fruits, quality veg/animal proteins, avoiding sugars … you name it. Theory says that a healthy adult with this nutrition habits should have a healthy microbiome, but if there’s a chance of maximizing this aspect, I’ll grab it.

We will be crossing rivers and riding over mud puddles, so I guess millions of bacteria unknown to my gut will enter my body and would like to be in the best conditions to avoid sickness.

My question is: will probiotics help me with my quest? In what form? Natural (fermented foods) vs. supplements? What about the dose? Is megadosing advisable? I’d love to hear your takes on this topic.

Well the entire point of having super acidic stomach juice is to kill of microbes, so whatever you eat is disinfected by your stomach. And even if some microbes from “probiotics” reach your gut… they still have to deal with the microbes that are already there.

So just keep eating healthy and you’ll be fine. :slight_smile: And at the event it’s probably best just to eat packaged food or well heated food if you want to avoid stomach issues.

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The ideas on probiotics seem to be shifting. They should be used more like a medicine for specific conditions not as a daily supplement. The idea is that bacteria in probiotics don’t permanently colonize the gut, they temporarily displace your own good and bad bacteria.

The better strategy is to encourage your own beneficial bacteria - fermented foods as you mentioned are great. Eating a wide variety of vegetables and fiber is great. If you want to supplement I’d look at a prebiotic. A prebiotic is just fiber that feeds your benefical gut bacteria.