Science Update

Heavy exercise induced intestinal permeability: New study suggests gut support for athletes

There was an interesting article published last week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding heavy exercise induced intestinal permeability in athletes. When one thinks of nutritional supplements for athletes they usually think of nutrients that increase or enhance energy and sports performance. However athletes commonly suffer from gut issues that are often not identified 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 for preventing large molecules and bacteria from getting into the blood stream.

Leaky gut is a particular problem for those engaging 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 new study researchers demonstrated that zinc carnosine and colostrum can have a significant value for athletes.

The study included eight participants in a four-arm double-blind placebo-controlled test. The participants were divided into groups receiving either the placebo zinc carnosine colostrum or both 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 a also as important nutrients to consider for athletes.

When working with athletes a disconnect between fitness and health is frequently seen. 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