There has been increased evidence on the prevalence of intestinal permeability in athletes the last year and a half. I shared previous studies 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.

This is a particular problem for those taking part in heavy exercise or any form of vigorous strength training, such as CrossFit athletes, strongman competitors, and powerlifters, which can lead to gut issues in athletes as well as more serious conditions like inflammatory bowel and autoimmune disorders.

In addition, gastrointestinal discomfort is a common complaint among endurance athletes who participate in marathons and triathlons as well.

In a study published last Friday in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers demonstrated that acute supplementation with glutamine mitigates intestinal permeability in runners.

It makes sense to consider BCAA power with glutamine or glutamine powder prior or during exercise to prevent gastrointestinal barrier dysfunction.

Also, other studies have demonstrated that oral supplementation with colostrum decreases intestinal permeability.

These findings demonstrate the importance of colostrum and glutamine in preventing leaky gut and are important nutrients to consider for athletes. When working with athletes, there is often a disconnect between fitness and health. For those individuals that have a sensitivity to dairy and cannot use colostrum, serum-derived bovine immunoglobulin/protein isolate (SBI) is a great alternative to normalize the gut microbiota and decrease gut permeability. The other advantage of this for athletes is the addition protein content with BCAAs levels superior to whey and provides high levels of IgG which reduces inflammation decreasing mucosal damage.

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: Pugh JN, Sage S, et al. Glutamine supplementation reduces markers of intestinal permeability during running in the heat in a dose-dependent manner. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2017 Oct 20.

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