Iron man Iron_Man_USA__September_2017 - Page 18

When we ferment anti-nutrient foods, phytates are removed giving us access to a greater number of the available vitamins and minerals. Fermenting increases vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and amino acid metabolism, and B vita- mins, responsible for energy and red blood cell production, nervous system support, DNA synthesis and much more. It also decreases protease inhibitors allowing more amino acid availability. This is intriguing for plant-based athletes because many find it challenging to consume enough protein and vitamin B12. Pre And Probiotics Prebiotics are fiber-based carbohydrates, not digested but rather fermented by gut microorganisms, promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Basically, prebiot- ics feed probiotics, keeping them alive. Examples of prebiotic foods are onion, leek, chicory, garlic, dandelion greens, as- paragus, artichoke and banana. The microorganisms produced in the actual fermentation process are better known as probiotics. They’re usually split into two families, and when buying a probiotic supplement or yogurt you should look for bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. At the very least a few billion of each is recommended. Probiotics have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, balance the stress hormone known as cortisol, sup- port the immune system and improve mood and other brain functions related to the gut-brain axis. There’s also research that suggests probiotics may help with weight control. In a 2011 cross over study published in the journal, Nutrition Research, researchers compared metabolic parameters that are related to metabolic syndrome risks and cardiovascular disease between those who consumed fer- mented kimchi and those who ate fresh kimchi. They found, “the ingestion of fermented kimchi had positive effects on various factors associated with metabolic syndrome, includ- ing systolic and diastolic blood pressures, percent body fat, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol, compared with the fresh kimchi.” In a Florida-based study published in 2016, researchers gave participants either a protein drink or a protein plus probi- otic drink over a two-week period. They had participants go through an intense single leg exercise training protocol followed by performing a modified Wingate test – cycling as hard as they could. The protein only drink resulted in a reduced power output compared to the protein plus probi- otic drink. The probiotic bacteria reduced the rise of creatine kinase (an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of muscle) in the blood and therefore demonstrated better recovery and performance. Endurance athletes often suffer from stomach pain and diar- rhea because blood is being pulled out of the digestive sys- 16 SEPTEMBER 2017 | ironmanmagazine.com tem and into working muscles. This process, and the repetitive impact of each stride runners must endure, can damage intestinal cells. A study published in the Journal of the Inter- national Society of Sports Nutrition found that probiotic supplementation improved intestinal barrier function and reduced inflamma- tion in trained male endurance athletes. The good bacteria in probiotics increased the integrity of the intestinal wall by helping to create tight junctions between cells. It’s these tight junctions that protect us against a leaky gut and the inflam- mation that follows. EAT TO GROW It’s important to supply the GI tract with sufficient pre and probiotics to fight off infections and combat the harsh effects of treatments, medications and antibiotics. Hormone produc- tion that slows with age and a poor ability to manage your stress are two additional factors that may deplete the good bacteria in your gut. Whether the good bacteria are