I have talked about the many reasons why runners should take probiotics before, but I largely focused on the pro-biotics and not the pre-biotics side of the subject. In this article, we will explore why prebiotics completes the overall equation for a healthy gut. Running and gut health is just as important as a great pair of running shoes.
The difference between probiotics and prebiotics
The difference between probiotics and prebiotics is subtle. Essentially, probiotics are live cultures and microorganisms in foods and supplements that promote a diverse microbiome in our gut. Prebiotics though are just as important. These are the fibers that we cannot naturally digest, but which the good gut bacteria in your stomach need to stay alive.
So we can think of probiotics and prebiotics working together in tandem like a well-oiled system.
- Probiotics are the engine that drives a positive microculture in the gut.
- Prebiotics are the fuel that keeps the engine running.
Let’s explore the many additional reasons that all runners should take prebiotics below!
Should runners take Prebiotics?
Taking probiotics and prebiotics is extremely important for runners. In fact, according to a study by the journal Sports Medicine in Auckland, about 25% to 90% of endurance runners reported persistent intestinal distress during an event or training cycle.
Endurance athletes are also more inclined to develop increased intestinal permeability or (“leaky gut” syndrome), and overworked immune systems because of the constant stress of training.
And perhaps the marathon runner Bill Rodgers said it best when he stated: “More marathons are won or lost in the porta-toilets than at the dinner table.” Which of course means that no matter how strict you are with dieting and training, if you are not taking probiotics and prebiotics for your gut health, you are sacrificing faster completion times, more comfortable races, and a healthier body overall.
Are Prebiotic Supplements Just Fiber?
Technically, prebiotics are a type of fiber called “oligosaccharides”. But the difference between prebiotics and other types of fibers is that they are highly specialized and fine-tuned to promote gut health.
Think of it this way. You can have a healthy gut by eating a lot of different types of foods that are high in fiber. And you should definitely do that! But other general types of dietary fibers aren’t specific to the needs of gut microbiota.
To make sure that I satisfy the little guys in my microbiome, I take the Kibow Fortis Ⓡ prebiotic supplement. So far, I have noticed a huge difference in how well my stomach feels during long runs (especially around the 10+ mile mark).
Also, everything just feels great even when I’m not training. I make sure to eat healthy as it is, but even just eating a lot of foods can overwork the digestive system, so it’s good to have products that I can rely on.
How Prebiotics Have Helped me Train for Berlin
I have been training for the Berlin Marathon since June and my stomach has felt really great actually. In the past, when I was just beginning, I didn’t quite know the importance of proper gut health for runners. But now, my gut feels completely healthy.
Although I can feel the stomach nerves a little bit before the big Berlin race, I know that everything will be kept in check by my favorite prebiotic supplements. Wish me Luck on the Race!