The multi-species probiotic formulation, Ecologic® Barrier possibly recovers the gut barrier disturbance caused by the stress of intensive exercise. Increased gut permeability in turn can result in changes in metabolic health. Previous findings from this study also suggest this probiotic formulation’s favorable effects on metabolic health.2
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of Ecologic® Barrier on the incidence of gastrointestinal symptoms and selected biochemical parameters in the serum of long-distance runners. As many as 70% of athletes who practice endurance sports report experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as abdominal pain, intestinal gurgling or splashing and diarrhea, during or after intense physical exercise.
The study examined active participants in long-distance running events. The group consisted of 46 men and 20 women in the age range of 20–60 years with gastrointestinal problems. Participants received a placebo or Ecologic® Barrier (2.5 x109 CFU twice a day) for twelve weeks. At the beginning and end of the study, the participants described their usual meals and completed questionnaires on GI-symptoms. The researchers performed blood tests to measure values for glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, and minerals.
Higher HDL- and lower LDL-cholesterol
In the group of women using the probiotic, the researchers established a statistically significant increase in serum HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL cholesterol (the “bad”) and triglycerides. This was not observed in the group of men using the probiotic. Improvement in cholesterol values is consistent with Ecologic® Barrier’s previous results on metabolic health.3 The researchers stress that due to the small sample size (n = 66) and the imbalance in the gender representation these results are only indicative.
Ecologic Barrier may reduce constipation
After three months of intervention with Ecologic® Barrier, a large proportion of the participants reported both an improvement in general health (71% of the women and 60% of the men) and a reduction in constipation (57% of the women and 40% of the men). These percentages seemed higher than in the placebo group, but the differences were not statically significant. Nevertheless, the use of Ecologic® Barrier shows the tendency to positively affect gastrointestinal complaints in long-distance runners.
Intestinal barrier and metabolic health
Endurance sports can negatively influence the function of the intestinal barrier, resulting in intestinal problems. This study indicates that Ecologic® Barrier may be able to strengthen the intestinal barrier. In addition, Ecologic® Barrier may affect metabolic health as it appears to be able to positively affect cholesterol levels. In a previous publication of the same study, probiotic therapy showed metabolic changes as well. Although not statistically significant, body fat and visceral fat decreased in women taking Ecologic barrier.2 The authors highlight the need for studies with more participants and a longer duration of probiotic intervention. This will enable conclusions that are more precise and the determination of the mechanism of the changes.
- Smarkusz-Zarzecka, J., Ostrowska, L., Leszczyńska, J., et al. Effect of a Multi-Strain Probiotic Supplement on Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Serum Biochemical Parameters of Long-Distance Runners: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022, 19.15: 9363.
- Smarkusz-Zarzecka, J., Ostrowska, L., Leszczyńska, J., et al. Analysis of the impact of a multi-strain probiotic on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in long-distance runners. Nutrients, 2020, 12.12: 3758.
- Szulińska, M., Łoniewski, I., Van Hemert, S., et al. Dose-dependent effects of multispecies probiotic supplementation on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) level and cardiometabolic profile in obese postmenopausal women: A 12-week randomized clinical trial. Nutrients, 2018, 10.6: 773.