On its surface, running seems like an easy and straightforward way to exercise. But anyone with a serious interest in running can tell you how deep the sport goes.
Some people choose to focus on the equipment they use. From specific shoes to anti-chafing measures, they are particular about the sort of products they buy.
Others take a more holistic approach by incorporating regularly scheduled massages or they look to supplements and hydration aids to make them better runners. If you fall into this group, make sure you include probiotics in your daily supplement routine.
Probiotics are only as effective as the particular strains contained in the supplement. But when you get the right strains, a probiotic supplement can have great impacts on your running.
From improving your mood to addressing leaky gut to altering your diet, probiotics have amazing potential for runners. Here are 3 reasons runners should take a daily probiotic supplement:
1) They Can Improve Your Diet
Runners, generally speaking, are pretty particular about their diets. You want to eat food that will help keep you at the top of your game so you can go the extra mile.
Now and then, though, odd cravings sneak in. This is where probiotics can help.
There are a lot of theories around why you crave certain foods. One theory holds that cravings are one way that your body lets you know what it needs. And in these cases, probiotics can help alter the foods you crave.
Probiotics do this by altering the bacteria in your gut microbiome. Healthier gut bacteria help you avoid unhealthy cravings that will further upset the microbiome, such as excess sugar. Emphasis on excess since a healthy gut will still crave some sugar.
When your unhealthy cravings go down, your body can turn its attention to the fat and sugar it already has stored. This will, in turn, help you burn fat stored in the belly and other problem areas, which is a nice bonus to craving a healthier diet. The fact that probiotics can help burn belly fat is just one reason to add a supplement to your daily routine.
2) They Can Improve Your Mood
Although it might sound far-fetched, the brain-gut connection is very real. It is also called the enteric nervous system and is essentially a connection that runs straight from your brain to your gut.
When your gut biome is unbalanced, it causes an imbalance in your brain chemistry. The opposite is true as well. It’s why your stomach gets upset when you’re dealing with stress. Or, if you’re like me, why an upset stomach is a good warning that your mood is about to take a turn for the worse.
In short, your gut health has an impact on your overall mood. Probiotics help balance your gut microbiome. And while this isn’t going to cure your depression, it can help improve your mood.
That little boost might be all you need to get yourself moving for your morning run, or to push yourself for that extra mile.
3) They Can Improve Your Health
The gut-brain connection has a big impact on your mood, but it can also impact your health. In fact, there is evidence that the health of your gut has a direct connection to your overall health.
When talking about the impact of probiotics on your health, though, it’s important to separate the myths from reality. Probiotics aren’t going to cure cancer or eliminate your risk of heart disease. And they aren’t going to cure IBS or Crohns.
They can, however, reduce the severity of some allergies and help boost your immune system, among other things. While these issues might not directly affect your running practice, they certainly have an impact on your overall wellness. It’s not easy to get up and go for a run when you’re suffering due to food allergies or down with a cold.
The Fine Print
Of course, taking a probiotic one time isn’t enough to make a difference. And unless you’re eating a lot of fermented food, you’re not likely to get enough probiotics from your daily diet. To get the benefits of probiotics, you need to take them every day.
You also want to get the best strains. This is why, when it comes to probiotics, you want to be aggressive about reading the labels. Probiotics are, as the name suggests, good varieties of live bacteria.
Most of us only think of bacteria as harmful microorganisms that have the potential to cause illness. Probiotics are at the other end of the spectrum, offering benefits so long as you get the right kind.
Getting the wrong kind usually results in the supplement having no effect at all. There are, however, some side effects to bad probiotics that you’ll want to watch out for. They include upset stomach, increased allergic reactions, and headache.
If you experience any of these issues, stop taking your supplement until you can talk to a health care provider and find the right strains of probiotic to suit your body and meet your needs.
Generally speaking, however, probiotics from trusted sources are more likely to do good than to do harm, especially if you take them daily according to the directions on the bottle.
Probiotics won’t magically make you a better runner, but they will help you avoid issues that can keep you from reaching your goals. From your mood to your allergies, these supplements are a great way to boost your health.
So long as you spend a little bit of time reading the labels and you take them correctly, probiotic supplements can be your new best friend. And in a world where there’s a supplement for everything, it’s nice to have one that works at the base level to create far-reaching improvements.