Improving performance by strengthening the gut

Life is full of deadlines and demands, which can cause stress. Stress may have a physical or mental cause, such as endurance sport or exams. For many people stress is so usual that it has become a part of life. However, stress has adverse effects, such as a ‘leaky gut’, oxidative stress and low-grade inflammation. Probiotics are able to reduce these adverse effects.

Research shows that stress increases the permeability of our gut (also called a leaky gut) and its associated symptoms and illnesses such as gastro intestinal complaints and an increased susceptibility to infection. Moreover, stress enhances the production of free radicals (oxidative stress). These free radicals attack the body’s own compounds, e.g. proteins and DNA.

Physiologic effects of stress. Stress leads to altered release/response to neuroendocrine factors, acting directly or indirectly on the gut wall, inducing barrier dysfunction and uptake of damaging substances from the lumen. The resulting inflammation causes disability and increases stress.


Many diseases are associated with oxidative stress, such as IBD and cardio vascular diseases. In addition, these free radicals negatively trigger the immune system and damage the intestinal barrier function. Stress is also linked with the body losing its ability to properly regulate the inflammatory response, which can cause a chronic low-grade inflammation and promote the development of disease. Previous research has shown that probiotics can alleviate the side effects of stress.


Winclove offers the following probiotic formulations for endurances athletes:



Ecologic® PERFORMANCE has been tested in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial at the Medical University of Graz, Austria. Twenty-three endurance sportsmen received Ecologic® PERFORMANCE or placebo for 14 weeks. Ecologic® PERFORMANCE significantly
decreased stool zonulin levels (p=0,019), an important marker for a ‘leaky gut’. Moreover, a trend was shown towards a decrease in the chronic inflammatory marker TNF-α (figure 3) and in the protein oxidation marker Carbonyl protein.

Read the clinical study

In a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial among 33 trained athletes at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Ecologic® PERFORMANCE showed to significantly reduce the incidence of URTIs. After 12 weeks of treatment, the proportion of subjects who experienced one or more URTI symptoms during the study period was 2.2-fold higher in the placebo group
than in the probiotics group (p=0.016) (figure 4). Also, the athletes in the Ecologic®
PERFORMANCE group could train 2.6 hours more per week compared to the control group (p<0.001).

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These results show that Ecologic ® PERFORMANCE could reduce the adverse effects of stress and offer a potential intervention strategy during heavy exercise training periods.

Interested in this probiotic formulation? Contact our sales team