There was an interesting article published last week in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on heavy exercise induced intestinal permeability in athletes. When one thinks of nutritional supplements in athletes, they usually think of nutrients that increase enhance energy and sports performance. However, athletes commonly suffer from gut issues that are often not identifies or addressed. ‘Leaky gut’ occurs from dysfunction in the intestinal barrier. This intestinal barrier in the gut is only one cell layer thick. It is essential for the absorption of nutrients and preventing large molecules and bacteria from getting into the blood stream.

It is a particular problem for those taking part in heavy exercise or who are active in hot conditions. It can lead to gut issues in athletes as well as more serious conditions like inflammatory bowel and autoimmune disorders.

In this study, researchers demonstrated that zinc carnosine and colostrum can have a significant value for athletes.

The study included 8 participants in a four-arm, double-blind placebo-controlled test. The participants were divided into groups receiving either the placebo, zinc carnosine, colostrum, or zinc carnosine and colostrum for 14 days prior to exercise. These nutrients were taken 2 and 14 days after starting treatment. They noted that during heavy exercise, athletes had a 2 degree increase in body temperature, which may have been a factor in inducing intestinal hyperpermeability. This significant stress on the body and central nervous system may also play a role.

The clinical trial was parallel to cell culture experiments to uncover the mechanisms of zinc carnosine and colostrum.

The results showed that zinc carnosine improved the function of the intestinal barrier which was further enhanced when colostrum was added. These findings demonstrate the importance of zinc carnosine and/or colostrum in preventing leaky gut associated with heavy exercise but also as an important nutrients to consider for athletes. When working with athletes, there is often a disconnect between fitness and health.

As a competitive powerlifter, I work with many of these athletes. Due to the stresses they put on their bodies and increased metabolic demands, many often have debilitating gut issues and inflammatory bowel diseases.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Glen Davison, Tania Marchbank, Daniel S March, Rhys Thatcher, and Raymond J Playford. Zinc carnosine works with bovine colostrum in truncating heavy exercise–induced increase in gut permeability in healthy volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134403

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