Don’t Let “Bad” Bacteria Keep You From Your Goals
If you're trying to gain muscle, increasing your intake of healthy probiotic bacteria is a smart choice. Probiotics support immune function, impact insulin sensitivity, and regulate your body's ability to absorb nutrients, which are three factors that affect your ability to gain muscle.
How A Probiotic Impacts Muscle Mass
There are thousands of different kinds of bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbiota regulate absorption of nutrients, including amino acids and vitamins and minerals. They also affect fat storage and other metabolic functions such as protein synthesis.
A study from the University of Tampa found that supplementing bodybuilders with a probiotic improved ability to gain muscle. The probiotic was taken in conjunction with a protein supplement and a 4-day a week training program. By improving the bacteria composition in the GI tract, you can increase the anabolic potential of protein-stimulating amino acids, such as leucine. Leucine is the most important amino acid for building muscle and it maximizes protein synthesis.
How A Probiotic Supports Metabolism
Probiotics are also important for metabolic health and play a role in overall body composition. A study published in the journal PLOS One identified 26 types of intestinal bacteria linked to factors that contribute to obesity. These harmful bacteria produce insulin resistance, change the metabolism of sugars in the body, and affect the use of fat for energy in the body.
This study used a population of Amish adults and sequenced the DNA of the microbes found in their GI tracts. The Amish are ideal for a study like this because they are a homogenous population with very similar eating, physical activity, social, and lifestyle habits. Plus, they have limited medication use, which is important because taking medications or NSAIDs like Tylenol can compromise your gut bacteria.
Researchers found that there was a link between "bad" bacteria and the amount of dangerous belly fat the participants had. The participants who had more body fat and insulin resistance had 26 other rare harmful forms of bacteria. In addition, the overweight Amish had high levels of inflammation. They also had a lack of “good” bacteria that are known to be anti-inflammatory.
Get The Most Out Of A Probiotic
There are a few things you need to know to gain the most muscle from a probiotic:
- Yogurt and fermented foods naturally provide probiotics. Eating plenty of fermented foods is a good place to start.
- When taking a probiotic supplement, quality is important. Choose a probiotic that is guaranteed to have live bacteria at the date of expiration. Many brands only guarantee their products at manufacture.
- Choose a probiotic that includes at least 1 billion count of live bacteria. Many people need to start with a higher dose in the 25 to 50 billion-count range, but once the gut bacteria begins to shift, you can reduce the dose.
- Make sure you are also consuming prebiotic foods. Prebiotics are a form of fiber that is not digested by humans, but is used by healthy bacteria for food. Prebiotics come from high-fiber foods such as wheat, chicory, and oats.
- If you eat gluten-free, don’t eat grains, or eat a low-carb diet, you may be deficient in prebiotics. Resistant starch is a good source of prebiotic fiber. You can get it from starchy carbs that have been cooked and cooled, such as rice or potatoes. You can also take a resistant starch supplement, such as unmodified potato starch. There are also prebiotic supplements available. Look for one that has galactans, phosphatides, inulin, or plantain if you are gluten free.