Probiotics

  • Episode #2 - Jamie Pugh: Probiotics, A New Player In the Sports Supplements World?

    dr jamie pugh

    Dr Jamie Pugh (PhD) is a post-doctoral research at Liverpool John Moores University. After graduating from world-renowned Loughborough University with first class honours in Sports and Exercise Science, Jamie spent time as a sports science intern with Swansea City FC. After this, Jamie spent time working with PRP Supplements and Aliment Nutrition while studying for a PGCert in Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at University of Chester, before eventually beginning his PhD at Liverpool John Moores University.

    In This Episode We Discuss With Dr. Jamie Pugh:

    – How Jamie came to start his PhD and the journey to get there

    – Working with world-leading experts like Prof. Graeme Close

    – Common causes of gut symptoms in runners

    – Jamie’s most recent studies including a new study looking at the effect of probiotics on gut symptoms in marathon runners

    – The Lab4 probiotics used in the study, why these were chosen and what to look for in a probiotic

    – The most memorable moments of working at Liverpool John Moores University

    – What’s next after completing his PhD, including future studies looking at the effects of probiotics on exercise metabolism

    nutrition health performance summit

    Nutrition, Health & Performance Summit Live 2019

    – Some of the most renowned practitioners, researchers and speakers in the world of sports performance and nutrition
    – Experienced speakers from different backgrounds that have worked with professional teams and athletes
    – Learn how to research is translated into practice at the highest level

    Find out more…

    Download the Podcast and Subscribe:

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    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.

     

    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

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  • Spring Marathon or Triathlon? Avoid Gut Issues During Race Day

    gut issues during race

    During endurance races like marathon running and long-distance triathlon, up to 90% of those taking part have reported gut issues during a race such as heartburn, nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps, vomiting, flatulence, the increased urge to defecate, and diarrhea [1]. While these symptoms can be mild (we have all ran behind someone with a bit of gas), they can also be detrimental to performance, and even force us to drop out of the race. There are many reasons why we experience these symptoms during endurance exercise including changes in blood flow as we redirect blood that usually goes to our gut towards our working muscles, hormonal alterations, neural effects, and the mechanical movement of exercise. However, there are things we can do to reduce the likelihood of suffering from gut problems on race day.

     

    Practice Your Race Nutrition

    When it comes to racing, may people load up on carbohydrates the day before, and then take on drinks, gels and all sorts of other foods to try to fuel their efforts. However, if you have not practiced this in training, it could spell disaster. Consuming more fluid or carbohydrates than you are used to, or that you can tolerate, can lead to bloating, cramps, nausea, as it cannot be emptied from our stomachs and then absorbed from our intestines quickly enough. On your longest runs, practice matching your planned fuelling strategy exactly. It’s not enough to sip on a sports drink or taking the odd gel in training if you are then planning on taking on board much larger amounts on race day. If you are planning on 2 gels an hour, for example, then build in training sessions where you go through the exact strategy. Use the same brands as you are going to use on race day as well. If there are only a couple weeks left until your race, all is not lost. A study from Australia has shown that runners reduced their gut symptoms during a 2 hour run after 2 weeks of ‘gut training’ by consuming carbohydrates during their training runs [2]. This lead to reductions in carbohydrate malabsorption and gut symptoms, and improvements in performance.

    intensive training probiotics

    Shown in Clinical Trials To Help Relieve GI Symptoms During Exercise

    – Formulated for performance
    – Used in two clinical trials with endurance athletes
    – 25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    – Helps aid digestion during intense exercise
    – Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium. Also contains L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl Glucosamine and ElavTP

    Find out more…

    Take a bath

    It has been shown in a number of studies that greater increases in our body’s core temperature appears to lead to great gut damage and symptoms. Cooling strategies during the race such as cold drinks, water sprays, and finding shade can all help slow down the rise in core temperature. Another successful method to help is to acclimate to the heat before you even toe the start line. For those of us who maybe don’t have the time or money to head out on a warm weather training camp like the elites, there is a simpler and much more economical way to do this – taking a bath. It has been shown that taking a 40 min hot bath (40C) submerged to the neck for 6 consecutive days has a large effect on acclimating athletes to exercise in the heat [3].

    Pre-race feeding

    What you eat the day before the race can have a big impact on your chances of experiencing gut symptoms. Like what you eat during the race, you should practice your pre-race day fuelling strategy in training. The day before a long training effort, practice eating the same breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that you plan to eat the day before a race.

    In general it has been found that, before competition, consuming high amounts of fat, fibre, red meat or non-digestible, fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) have all been linked to gut symptoms of some sort [1, 4]. While removing all of these from your diet is obviously not advisable during everyday life – most of them are essential for our overall health – some athletes have looked to used reduced fibre diets with high glycaemic carbohydrates (e.g. white rice) and lean, easier to digest meats (e.g. chicken) in the day before a major competition.

    nutrition health performance summit

    See Dr. Jamie Pugh Speak at Nutrition, Health & Performance Summit 2019

    – Some of the most renowned practitioners, researchers and speakers in the world of sports performance and nutrition
    – Experienced speakers from different backgrounds that have worked with professional teams and athletes
    – Learn how to research is translated into practice at the highest level

    Find out more…

    Medication

    Think long and hard before taking unnecessary medications before a race. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can worsen the damage caused to our digestive tract during exercise [5]. Marathon runners report more gut symptoms after taking ibuprofen and aspirin, and show greater markers of gut damage [6].

    Probiotics

    Lab4 probiotics are the first to show potential benefits to endurance athletes during exercise. To date, Lab4 probiotics have been shown to reduce gut symptoms during training in triathletes [7], and during a marathon race in runners. When athletes have consumed Lab4 probiotics, they have reported fewer and less severe gut symptoms than those taking a placebo. This is perhaps not surprising given the probiotics have been shown to be beneficial to individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, who often share similar symptoms to endurance athletes.

    References

    1. de Oliveira, E.P., R.C. Burini, and A. Jeukendrup, Gastrointestinal complaints during exercise: prevalence, etiology, and nutritional recommendations. Sports Medicine, 2014. 44(1): p. 79-85.
    2. Costa, R.J.S., et al., Gut-training: the impact of two weeks repetitive gut-challenge during exercise on gastrointestinal status, glucose availability, fuel kinetics, and running performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 2017. 42(5): p. 547-557.
    3. Zurawlew, M.J., et al., Post-exercise hot water immersion induces heat acclimation and improves endurance exercise performance in the heat. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2016. 26(7): p. 745-54.
    4. Lis, D., et al., Case Study: Utilizing a Low FODMAP Diet to Combat Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Symptoms. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2016. 26(5): p. 481-487.
    5. Playford, R.J., et al., Co-administration of the health food supplement, bovine colostrum, reduces the acute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability. Clin Sci (Lond), 2001. 100(6): p. 627-33.
    6. Smetanka, R.D., et al., Intestinal permeability in runners in the 1996 Chicago marathon. Int J Sport Nutr, 1999. 9(4): p. 426-33.
    7. Roberts, J.D., et al., An Exploratory Investigation of Endotoxin Levels in Novice Long Distance Triathletes, and the Effects of a Multi-Strain Probiotic/Prebiotic, Antioxidant Intervention. Nutrients, 2016. 8(11).

     

    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.

     

    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

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  • GI (Gastrointestinal) Symptoms During Exercise

    gastrointestinal symptoms exercise

    Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are generally thought of as heartburn, nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps, vomiting, flatulence, the increased urge to defecate, and diarrhea. This wide range of symptoms each have their own and overlapping causes and so it is difficult to identify a single factor. Changes in blood flow, hormonal alterations, neural effects, psychological stress, mechanical movement during exercise, dehydration, our diets – even altitude, medications, and the climate can all have effects on our digestive tract and be a potential cause of gut symptoms.

    When it comes to gut symptoms during exercise, endurance athletes typically report more gut symptoms than athletes from other sports – especially long distance runners. Up to 90% of ultramarathon runners report gut symptoms during racing, and describe symptoms as a leading cause of under-performing [1]. Across sports, while athletes tend not to report this same high frequency of symptoms, there is still a significant number that reports symptoms severe enough that they affect an athlete’s quality of life [2]. But what are some of the common factors that could lead to some of these symptoms?

    intensive training sports probiotic

    Shown in Clinical Trials To Help Relieve GI Symptoms During Exercise

    – Formulated for performance
    – Used in two clinical trials with endurance athletes
    – 25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    – Helps aid digestion during intense exercise
    – Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium. Also contains L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl Glucosamine and ElavTP

    Find out more…

    Diet

    In general it has been found that, before competition, consuming high amounts of fat, fibre, red meat or non-digestible, fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) have all been linked to gut symptoms of some sort [3, 4]. While removing all of these from your diet is obviously not advisable during everyday life – most of them are essential for our overall health – some athletes have looked to used reduced fibre diets with high glycaemic carbohydrates (e.g. white rice) and lean, easier to digest meats (e.g. chicken) in the day before a major competition.

    Stress

    In the general public, persistent GI symptoms are associated with psychological traits such as stress and anxiety [5, 6]. In a group of triathletes, GI symptoms were perceived to be worse when psychological stress was present [7]. Athletes have also reported GI symptoms directly before competition, believed to be from psychological stress [8]. . It is also believed that psychological stress can result in changes in intestinal permeability, more commonly known as ‘leaky gut’ [9].

    Excess or Unaccustomed Carbohydrate and Fluid

    Eating or drinking large amounts of carbohydrates as either gels or drinks during endurance races is a common practice by both elite and non-elite athletes. However, taking on large amounts of these, having never done so before, can spell disaster. Our guts will have not been trained to empty these from our stomachs, and absorb them from our small intestine quickly enough. This can lead to them being malabsorbed – and the reason why many endurance athletes report gut symptoms during the later stages of a race. If you plan to take on any fuel during exercise, you need to train your guts and practice it in training. Start with small amounts, eventually building up until you are mimicking the exact same fuelling strategy you want to use during competition.

    nutrition health performance summit

    Nutrition, Health & Performance Summit

    – Some of the most renowned practitioners, researchers and speakers in the world of sports performance and nutrition
    – Experienced speakers from different backgrounds that have worked with professional teams and athletes
    – Learn how to research is translated into practice at the highest level

    Find out more…

    Dehydration

    Exercise, particularly in the heat ( when athletes report more gut symptoms, can lead to dehydration because of sweat loses. Dehydration has been shown to be another factor to affect GI symptoms [10-12]. This may be due to the increase in gut damage that occurs during exercise when individuals restrict their fluid intake [11].

    Medication

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can change our gut permeability [13]. This may be the reason why marathon runners report more gut symptoms after taking ibuprofen and aspirin [14]. Additionally, one of the common side effects of anti-biotics is diarrhea.

     

    You can head over to the Sigma Nutrition Website to hear Dr. Jamie Pugh talk about this on a Podcast

    References

    1. Hoffman, M.D. and K. Fogard, Factors related to successful completion of a 161-km ultramarathon. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 2011. 6(1): p. 25-37.
    2. Pugh, J.N., et al., Gastrointestinal symptoms in elite athletes: time to recognise the problem? Br J Sports Med, 2018. 52(8): p. 487-488.
    3. de Oliveira, E.P., R.C. Burini, and A. Jeukendrup, Gastrointestinal complaints during exercise: prevalence, etiology, and nutritional recommendations. Sports Medicine, 2014. 44(1): p. 79-85.
    4. Lis, D., et al., Case Study: Utilizing a Low FODMAP Diet to Combat Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Symptoms. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2016. 26(5): p. 481-487.
    5. Hauser, G., S. Pletikosic, and M. Tkalcic, Cognitive behavioral approach to understanding irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol, 2014. 20(22): p. 6744-58.
    6. Koloski, N.A., N.J. Talley, and P.M. Boyce, The impact of functional gastrointestinal disorders on quality of life. Am J Gastroenterol, 2000. 95(1): p. 67-71.
    7. Sullivan, S.N., Exercise-associated symptoms in triathletes. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 1987. 15(9): p. 105-108.
    8. Worobetz, L.J. and D.F. Gerrard, Gastrointestinal symptoms during exercise in Enduro athletes: prevalence and speculations on the aetiology. N Z Med J, 1985. 98(784): p. 644-6.
    9. Mayer, E.A., Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut-brain communication. Nat Rev Neurosci, 2011. 12(8): p. 453-66.
    10. Glace, B., C. Murphy, and M. McHugh, Food and fluid intake and disturbances in gastrointestinal and mental function during an ultramarathon. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2002. 12(4): p. 414-27.
    11. Lambert, G., et al., Fluid restriction during running increases GI permeability. International journal of sports medicine, 2008. 29(3): p. 194-198.
    12. Rehrer, N.J., et al., Fluid intake and gastrointestinal problems in runners competing in a 25-km race and a marathon. Int J Sports Med, 1989. 10 Suppl 1: p. S22-5.
    13. Playford, R.J., et al., Co-administration of the health food supplement, bovine colostrum, reduces the acute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability. Clin Sci (Lond), 2001. 100(6): p. 627-33.
    14. Smetanka, R.D., et al., Intestinal permeability in runners in the 1996 Chicago marathon. Int J Sport Nutr, 1999. 9(4): p. 426-33.

     

    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.

     

    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

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  • Journey of the Lab4 Probiotic Studies

    timeline_pre_loader

    2001 - The First PhD Thesis

    in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, containing research specifically relating to Lab4 Probiotics is published; Madden J A J (2001). The effects of probiotic supplementation on the response of the intestinal microflora to antibiotic therapy. The studies from this thesis would later be published in Scientific peer-review journals.

    2004 - The Cambridge Clostridium difficile Study

    Lab4 Probiotics Clostridium difficile Study

    The Cambridge Clostridium difficile Study was the first published scientific paper on the Lab4 probiotic strain. This published study showed that supplementation with Lab4 probiotics can reduce the incidence of C. difficile diarrhea in hospitalised patients – around 70% of patients taking antibiotics reported suffering with diarrhea, while only 20% did when supplementing with Lab4 at the same time.

    2005 - The Cambridge Probiotic and Antibiotic Trials

    Two more papers published showing the benefits of Lab4 for those individuals undergoing antibiotic treatment. The first showed Lab4 probiotics alongside antibiotic therapy reduced the overgrowth of undesirable and potentially harmful bacteria both during and following antibiotic therapy. The second showed that Lab4 probiotics alongside antibiotic therapy has been shown to reduce the extent of gut microbiota disruption AND to reduce the level of antibiotic resistance within the ‘re-growth’ microbiota.

    2008 - The Sheffield IBS Trial

    Lab4 Probiotics Sheffield IBS Trial

    Lab4 probiotics significantly reduced total gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g.  bloating and pain) and improved scores for satisfaction with bowel habit and quality of life in diagnosed IBS sufferers. Continued supplementation was considered necessary to sustain this improvement.

    2010 - Safety in Newborns Study

    lab4 probiotics safety in newborns

    Study confirms that the use of Lab4b probiotic is perfectly safe for mums-to-be and their healthy newborn babies. No differences were found in total adverse events either in the mums-to-be or the babies between the Lab4b probiotic group and the placebo group. Symptoms, drug usage, infant growth, method of feeding, visits to the doctor, and mothers’ assessment of infant health were similar between Lab4 and placebo.

    2013 - The Cambridge IBS Study

    lab4 probiotics cambridge ibs trial

    More good news for IBS patients. The supplementation of IBS sufferers with Lab4 probiotics prior to and alongside antibiotics was shown to provide protection against overgrowth by yeasts.

    2014 - The Swansea Baby Study

    lab4 probiotics swansea baby trial

    This large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study was designed to evaluate whether Lab4b probiotics given during infancy could prevent allergy in children. Babies given the Lab4b probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema than those receiving the placebo. The babies given Lab4b were 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to common allergens, including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite.

    2014 - The Keele Study

    lab4 probiotics Keele study

    A study to examine the effects of Lab4 probiotics on general feelings of anxiety, mood and cognitive function in healthy individuals. Lab4 probiotics significantly decreased ‘trait’ anxiety levels compared to the placebo group, where the ‘trait’ anxiety levels increased over the course of the 6 weeks supplementation.

    2015 - The ProChild Study

    This study investigated the efficacy of Lab4 probiotics with vitamin C in significantly reducing the symptoms of coughs and colds in young children, who are the most susceptible age group. Results found:

    – 49% reduction in the duration of all symptoms of coughs and colds in the group taking Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C compared to placebo
    – 33% reduction in the incidence of cough and cold symptoms in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C
    – 30% significant reduction in the incidence of absenteeism from school in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C. The number of days with absence due to coughs and colds alone were virtually halved in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C
    – The number of visits to the GP for any reason was reduced by 43% with the use of Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C

    2016 - The Hertfordshire Study

    lab4 probiotics hertfordshire study

    A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study aimed to assess the effect of a 12-week Lab4 probiotic/prebiotic/antioxidant intervention on gut symptoms, endotoxin levels, intestinal permeability and race time in recreational athletes.
    Faster race times were observed with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo group.
    A significantly faster time was reported for Lab4 probiotics group during the cycle stage of the triathlon.

     

    Gut symptoms (bloating, nausea, stomach/intestinal pain or discomfort, cramping, headaches, dizziness, constipation and diarrhoea) severity scores during training were significantly lower in both Lab4 probiotic groups compared to the placebo group.

    2017 - Liverpool John Moores Studies

    Studies are undertaken to assess the effects of probiotics for endurance athletes. Soon to be published data shows that Lab4 Probiotics increase cyclists ability to use carbohydrate sports drinks that they consume during exercise. In the second study, Lab4 Probiotics reduce gut symptoms in marathon runners. Marathon runners report less symptoms during training and less symptoms during a marathon race – which lead to improvements in performance. Keep an eye out for these studies to be published in full later this year.

    Lab4 Probiotic Study Timeline

    To date Lab4 Probiotics have been shown to have a range of benefits for different populations. Studies have shown benefits to; newborn babies, infants, expectant mothers, IBS sufferers, individuals who may suffer from mild anxiety, and (most recently) weekend warriors and elite athletes. Lab4 is one of the most studied probiotic products in the world. Below is a summary timeline of the main research to date. This research has been ran at some of the UK’s most prestigious universities and published in scientific, peer-reviewed journals.

    intensive training sports probiotic

    20% Off Lab4 Intensive Training Sport Probiotic

    – Formulated for performance
    – Used in two clinical trials with endurance athletes (as shown above)
    – 25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    – Helps aid digestion during intense exercise
    – Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium. Also contains L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl Glucosamine and ElavTP

    Find out more…

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  • Colds, sniffles, sneezing and the flu

    The winter months often are often associated as the time of year when we are more susceptible to coughs and colds. The common cold is one of the most widespread illnesses and is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and absenteeism from school and work. Although there has never been a definitive explanation why we might be more at risk during the colder months, there are some evidence-based recommendations as to how we can reduce either the number of colds we encounter or how long they last. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the fact and fiction of some of the most popular supplements for the cold season.

    Probiotics

    Inside our body are trillions of bacteria that can have an impact on our immune system. Probiotics are bacteria that, when taken in adequate amounts, offer health benefits to the body. Studies have shown that probiotics have the ability to help stimulate our immune function and so could possibly help reduce the risk of getting a cold. However, different products use different types of bacteria and use different doses so if you are considering taking probiotic supplements then it is important to find one that has been shown to be effective in scientific studies. For example, when children took ProVen Fit For School daily for a period of six months, absenteeism was reduced by 30% compared to a placebo group1.

     

    Vitamin C

    One of the most popular and well-known supplements for colds, vitamin C is known as an essential vitamin because humans cannot produce it in the body nor can we store it. We have to a make sure that we get enough through our diets. In health populations, vitamin C has not been rigorously shown to reduce our chances of catching a cold but has been shown to reduce the duration of colds1. Plus, in athletes, who are at an increased risk of illness, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of catching a cold by about a half2. Research has used anywhere between 200-2000mg of vitamin C in studies.

     

     

    Zinc

    Zinc is an essential mineral involved in regulating many enzymes. It is an antioxidant and immune-boosting supplement that is most commonly supplemented to reduce the frequency of illness. Although zinc deficiencies can be rare, zinc is lost through sweat, making supplementation important for athletes that don’t get a lot of zinc through food. A review in 2012 found that zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. When supplemented for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence, school absenteeism and prescription of antibiotics in children4.

    Supplemental doses range from 5-45mg, although the upper limit is often for those who have a large deficiency.

     

    Conclusion

    While the cure for the common cold has eluded scientist for centuries, we do have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to helping relieve the symptoms. As a word of warning, more is not always better when it comes to supplement doses so be careful to read the packaging. This goes for pregnant women as well who should note that many supplements have not been specifically studied during pregnancy – again, be sure to read the label.

    Finally, it is not just about supplements and herbal remedies. Remember to take a common sense approach and think about these other steps, which have been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu:

    • Wash your hands. Use disinfectant wipes on telephone and computer keyboards to prevent the transfer of viruses.
    • Avoid close contact with sick people. And stay home if you have a cough and fever. Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or the crook of your arm.
    • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep-deprived volunteers in one study mustered half the immune response to a flu shot compared with those getting normal sleep.
    • Eating well, exercising regularly, and reducing stress may also bolster immunity.
    • If you smoke, quit. Smokers are vulnerable to the flu and its complications.

     

    References:

    1)    Garaiova, I., Muchová, J., Nagyová, Z., Wang, D., Li, J. V., Országhová, Z., … & Ďuračková, Z. (2014). Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool: a randomised controlled pilot study. European journal of clinical nutrition.

    2)    Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Library.

    4)    Singh, M., & Das, R. R. (2012). Cochrane Review: Zinc for the common cold. EvidenceBased Child Health: A Cochrane Review Journal7(4), 1235-1308.

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  • Omega 3 - FAQ

    Have you got questions about fish oils and omega 3? Over the years, we have been asked about a number of things, so we’ve put this blog together with some of the most frequently asked questions. Your questions not here? Contact us and we’ll get an answer to you.

     

    Q) Which Ones, Who For, How Much, How Long?

    There are only two truly essential Fatty Acids, these are:
    1) Linoleic acid – omega 6
    (Corn oil, Sunflower oil, nuts, cereals, avocado, rapeseed, palm oil hidden oils in crisps for example)
    2) Alpha linolenic acid – omega 3
    (Fish oil, Flaxseed oil)

    Theoretically all other fatty acids essential for health can be synthesised in the body.

    Our bodies are able to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, however this process is very inefficient. You would need to take 20-40g of flaxseed oil /day to oil to deliver just 1g EPA/DHA. This is a huge amount of Flaxseed oil, to produce a relatively small amount of EPA/DHA.

    Also most health benefits associated with increased intake of EPA/DHA not ALA, which makes things even more difficult, hence the need to supplement with EPA/DHA so there is no need for conversion.

    Q) Fats have numerous important roles to play in the body, what are they?

    1) Energy source
    2) Major component of all cell membranes (numerous derivative functions and effects)
    3) Precursors for eicosanoid production (eicosanoids are extremely important in how the body deals with inflammation)

    Omega 3 is known as nature’s anti-inflammatory, generally it is easy to remember the following when thinking about your diet or supplements.

    Omega 6 are generally pro-inflammatory
    Omega 3 are generally anti-inflammatory

     

    Q) What are the benefits of omega-3?

    1) Structural/Physiological
    Foetal, infant, neural system and brain development.
    Cognitive function improvement (children & adults).

    2) Anti-inflammatory/Physiological
    Reduction in risk and progression of CVD (cardio vascular disease).

    3) Anti-inflammatory
    Modulation of inflammatory response and chronic inflammatory diseases.

    4) Anti-inflammatory/structural/physiological
    Potential improvement in mental disorders.

     

    The importance of Fatty Acids is evident even before birth, so this is not just something which gains in importance as we develop and go through our lives. As a developing foetus fatty acids are crucial in laying down the foundations for future development. The accumulation of Fatty Acids in Infant Brain are so important.

    60% by weight of brain at birth is lipid
    18% of total fatty acids (11% brain weight) is DHA
    12% of total fatty acids (8% brain weight) is AA

    Brain cell division, brain growth and fatty acid deposition occurs substantially in third trimester of pregnancy (400 – 500% growth)
    From birth to 3 months of age, DHA and AA accumulation continues at same level. This is time of maximum neural development with synaptic development, myelination and cell growth (but not division) in brain stem and spinal cord.
    DHA continues to accumulate in brain and neural tissue up to 2 years of age, and then at a much slower rate into adulthood. (Martinez 1999 Carlson 2001)

    – In pregnancy, DHA and AA must be obtained from maternal bloodflow. The placenta preferentially selects AA and DHA
    – If DHA is deficient, AA and then docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) is laid down
    – It is possible to replace DHA or AA by dietary supplementation in deficient individuals while brain is developing.
    – As adults the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids become more and more evident and relevant depending on the way you lead your life.

    Q) What Are The Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Inflammatory Response ?

    It has recently been recognised that omega 3 fatty acids affect the inflammatory response by activity at four different levels – omega 3 fatty acids are unique within fats and any other nutrients in producing these effects.

     

    Q) Are Omega 3’s important in any other areas?

    Omega 3 fatty acids are also extremely important in Cardiovascular health. This is an area where these supplements are possibly better known. Clinical evidence supports the role of omega-3 in following aspects of CVD risk

     

    Q) What is the recommended daily intake of Omega-3?

    1991* – Minimum level of ALA necessary to prevent deficiency 0.56g
    Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.1g
    1994** – Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.2g
    2004*** – Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.45g
    *Report of Health Committee on Medical Aspects of Nutrition Policy (COMA)
    ** COMA Update
    ***SACN/COT

     

    Q) How much omega-3 is in the typical British diet ?

    Total Omega-3 in British diet:
    Men 2.3g Women 1.7g
    (Henderson et al 2003)

    EPA + DHA (Estimate)
    Oily fish eaters (27%) – 244mg
    White fish eaters – 113mg
    Non-fish eaters – 46mg
    (Givens & Gibbs 2006)

     

    Q) So where does our Omega 3 come from? Omega-3 rich oils —Sources and Types

    Plant oil
    Flaxseed oil (50-60%)
    Soybean oil (7-8%)
    Rape oil (9.6%)
    α- linolenic acid (ALA)

    Fish oil
    Oily fish 1g/100g fish
    White fish 1g/Kg fish

     

    Q) Important Question – how much EPA/DHA do we need??

    Everyday maintenance – 500-1000mg/day
    Prevention – 1000-1500mg/day
    Therapy – 2500-5000mg/day

    The Total Amount of EPA/DHA Is More Important Than The Ratio

    Most fish we eat is higher in DHA than EPA, whereas most fish oil is higher in EPA than DHA.
    Most research is concluding that presence of both EPA and DHA is more beneficial than a heavy predominance of one over the other.
    The combined level of EPA/DHA is more important than the ratio.
    Fish Oil supplements vary enormously in potency so look at the EPA/DHA level – even from an economic point of view!!

     

    Q) What are the advantages of Omega 3 fish oil supplements

    Fish oil supplements are less contaminated.
    Fish oil supplements offer opportunity for adequate daily dose of omega-3! Functional foods generally don’t!
    Unless you are eating a large portion oily fish 3 times per week, you are not getting the minimum recommended level of EPA/DHA.
    Everyone needs to take fish oil!!
    Some people need more!!
    No one needs to take more than 4 teaspoons per day!!*

    One of the key and important factors in your choice of which fish oil to choose to buy is very often how ‘natural’ the oil is and what kind of quality it is? These questions, are both very sensible questions to ask.

    Our PRP fish oil is the ‘Triglyceride oil’ which means the EPA/DHA is standardised in a certain way which is thought to be more ‘natural’. Also, instead of using alcohol in this process, we use enzymes which are much closer to nature.

     

    Check out the full PRP Omega 3 range

     

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  • Probiotics FAQ

    Have you got questions about probiotics? Over the years, we have been asked about a number of things, so we’ve put this blog together with some of the most frequently asked questions. Your questions not here? Contact us and we’ll get an answer to you.

    Q – What are they?

    Each person has a small world inside of them. We have as many bacterial cells in our body (mostly in our digestive system) as we do human cells. These bacteria can have an enormous impact on a number of health measures. Probiotics are bacterial species that have been studied and shown to have health benefits when consumed.

     

    Q – What are the benefits of probiotics?

    More and more research is being carried out each year as the benefits of probiotics are tested. Current research shows that probiotics could have benefits for;

    • Digestion and absorption
    • Mental health conditions
    • Allergies
    • Immune function
    • ISB
    • Traveler’s diarrhea

     

    Q – How do they work?

    There are a number of mechanisms by which probiotics have been suggested to improve health.

    They can directly modulate our immune system and can boost immune cells including natural killer cells, the Iga-producing cells as well as T lymphocytes.

    They have an antimicrobial action. They produce antimicrobial substances and also compete with pathogens to adhere to the lining of our digestive system.

    They can improve the intestinal barrier. Within our digestive tract, the lining of cells are held together by structural proteins. This barrier prevents certain substances and compounds from entering our circulation. Probiotics can enhance this barrier, as well as increase the mucosal layer which covers it.

    Probiotics can also increase the amount of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in our digestive system. These have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.

     

    Q – Are they all the same?

    If you look at the label of a probiotic product you will see the name of the bacterial strain that the product uses. For example, in our probiotic products we use the strains:

    Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 60

    Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 21

    Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis CUL 34

    Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL 20

     

    The names are made up of the bacteria genus (e.g. Lactobacillus), species (e.g. acidophilus) and strain (e.g. CUL 60).

    While some bacterial strains can have similar mechanisms and health benefits (particularly if they are the same species), some of the benefits have been shown to be strain specific.

     

    Q – Which ones and how much?

    Because many of the benefits are strain specific, it is important to select the right probiotic. In general, it has been found that those with more than one strain and species are more beneficial than those with a single strain and those that have strains from the Lactobacillus species appear to be the most effective (Chang et al., 2017). There have not been many studies that have looked at optimal doses of probiotics. However, a minimum of 10 billion CFU has been suggested (Ouwehand 2017) while the general recommendation is >20 billion CFU.

     

    While these are general recommendations, the best advice would be to check each probiotic and see what research has been performed with that product, and what dosage was used. Many commercial products have not been used in research.

     

    Q – Have the Lab4 strains been used in research? Probiotic-daily-25-billion

    Lab4 is the proprietary group of probiotic bacteria, which was developed by Dr Nigel Plummer and his team of scientists at Cultech Ltd and has been used in probiotics products around the world for the past 10 years.

    There are now 12 clinical studies supporting the use of Lab4 probiotics for a variety of functions in adults, children and babies. Carried out over the past 15 years, these studies have shown the benefit of the Lab4 and Lab4b consortia in supporting digestive health, immune health, performance and mood and cognition.

    Specifically, the studies have shown the impact of probiotics on early immune system development, immunity in children, along

    side antibiotics and in helping to prevent antibiotic resistance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), athletic performance, anxiety and attention.

    Throughout these trials and 15 years of use in products, the Lab4 probiotic bacteria have been shown to be completely safe. This is further supported by The Swansea Baby Trial which involved both pregnant ladies and newborn babies. The approval of the Lab4b probiotics for use in this large trial with these two potentially vulnerable populations is testament to the efficacy of this group of bacteria.

     

    Q – Are there any other benefits?

    More recent research has also shown the Lab4 strains can also have a positive impact on sports performance.

    Probiotic-advanced-50-billion

    • When runners supplemented with Lab4 probiotics for 4 weeks and asked to run to exhaustion in the heat, they were able to run for ~15% longer compared to when they had taken the placebo (Shing et al., 2014)
    • In ironman triathletes, participants supplemented with probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks. Those taking probiotics had a 10% quicker overall race time than those on the placebo – although this did not reach statistical significance. Those taking probiotics also suffered from fewer and less severe gut symptoms (e.g. bloating, urge to defecate, nausea, etc.) during training compared to the placebo group. (Roberts et al., 2016)
    • Runners competing in the Marathon des Sables (often called the toughest race on the planet) had an overall race time that was 12% quicker after supplementing with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo (Marshall et al.m 2017)

    Yet to be published research has also shown that Lab4 can have benefits to athletes who consume carbohydrate drinks during exercise, as well as improve performance in marathon runners.

     

    Take a look at the full PRP Probiotics range

    Gut-Brain-Connection

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  • Podcast - Gastrointestinal symptoms during exercise wth Jamie Pugh

    Gut-Brain-Connection

    This week, Jamie was interviewed on the Sigma Nutrition Podcast. In the interview he discussed;

    • The range and severity of symptoms athletes experience
    • Causes of symptoms: physiological, mechanical and nutritional
    • Individual variation in susceptibility to symptoms
    • Lack of association between gut “damage” and symptoms experienced
    • GI distress outside of endurance sport
    • Maximal rates of glucose ingestion: higher than previously thought?
    • Effect of glutamine supplementation
    • Effect of probiotic supplementation
    • Effect of low FODMAP diets
    • Practical steps for practitioners and athletes to mitigate risk

     

    Head over to the Sigma Nutrition Website for a listen

     

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  • Probiotics and Sport

    As well as ensuring all of our products are made to the highest manufacturing standards, it is also important to us to be at the front of the latest research and knowledge of different supplements. The bacterial strains used in our Probiotics range (Lab4) has previously been used in UK studies performed in Cambridge and Sheffield and have shown that 2 capsules (25 billion) can provide benefits in supporting digestive and immune health. As part of a new series of studies, we are also now beginning research to see what effect the probiotics can have on gastrointestinal health in individuals who take part in regular intense exercise, and even if they can improve sports performance.

    The strains used in our Intensive training probiotic have been used in published research and a number of benefits have already been shown;

    –  When runners supplemented with Lab4 probiotics for 4 weeks and asked to run to exhaustion in the heat, they were able to run for ~15% longer compared to when they had taken the placebo (Shing et al., 2014)

    –  In ironman triathletes, participants supplemented with probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks. Those taking probiotics had a 10% quicker overall race time than those on the placebo – although this did not reach statistical significance. Those taking probiotics also suffered from fewer and less severe gut symptoms (e.g. bloating, urge to defecate, nausea, etc.) during training compared to the placebo group. (Roberts et al., 2016)

    –  Runners competing in the Marathon des Sables (often called the toughest race on the planet) had an overall race time that was 12% quicker after supplementing with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo (Marshall et al.m 2017)

    Dr Jamie Pugh, has spent the last 4 years at Liverpool John Moores University, and has been performing studies looking at the effects intense exercise can have on our digestive system, what symptoms these may cause, and has even started to catalogue how prevalent these symptoms may be in elite sport. Jamie has completed ground-breaking research to see if probiotics can help improve the rate of digestion during exercise, and reduce the associated symptoms of bloating and nausea that can occur when we mix eating and exercise.

    While the results from the 2 studies are yet to be published, we can share some of the take home findings. In the first study, Jamie looked to see if probiotics could help athletes who consume carbohydrate drinks during exercise. After 4 weeks supplementing with probiotics, athletes were able to use more of the carbohydrate drink they consumed compared to placebo. This could have performance benefits to any endurance athlete, and could also reduce the risk of gut symptoms due to carbohydrate malabsorption during exercise.

    In the second study, Jamie looked at the effects of probiotic supplementation on gastrointestinal damage and symptoms during endurance exercise, we recruited 26 participants to run an entire marathon race around the athletics track (just over 105 laps). The aims of the study were to see if probiotics could reduce the gut symptoms many runners face during training and racing. The main conclusion of the study was athletes had fewer days were they experienced gut discomfort during training and they had less severe symptoms during the marathon itself. There was also a relationship between the level of gut discomfort and how much runners slowed down during the final third of the race. As the probiotic runners had less severe symptoms, they did not slow down as much, and so they actually performed better than the placebo group. This study therefore adds to the growing body of evidence showing that Lab4 can improve athletic performance.

    Altogether, more and more evidence is mounting that shows that for athletes, Lab4 probiotics (the ones used in our Intensive Training Probiotics) can reduce symptoms of gut discomfort during training and competition, and can also improve performance.

    Intensive-Training-Probiotic

    Save 20% on Intensive Training Probiotic Complex

    Our probiotic developed specifically for sport and training
    25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    Help aid digestion during intense exercise
    Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium

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