Can Probiotics Help You Build More Muscle?

Becoming more muscular is not a process that you can achieve through exercise alone. Having a balanced diet is also extremely important. However, if you are into serious bodybuilding, banking on dietary nutrients might not be always sufficient

So, you might need to take certain supplements for better results. In that case, you can always count on good gut bacteria to develop your muscles. Probiotics help you with this.

Although probiotics are considered to be general wellness supplements, they are now being used by serious athletes, including resistance trainers, at increasing rates. 

In this article, we will see what probiotics are, where we can find them, how they work and what are the advantages of consuming them.

What Are Probiotics? 

Probiotics are a kind of bacteria but not the kind that we need to worry about. In fact, when you consume a lot of them, they can provide various kinds of health benefits. You’d be surprised knowing that the count of these beneficial bacteria might surpass the total cell count of a healthy human body.

In our body, we have gut microbiome which are colonies of both good and bad microbes lining our digestive tract. The function of probiotics is that they add more and more good bacteria to this gut microbiome. It is also necessary to keep in mind that not all bacteria are harmful to our bodies.

Moreover, no two human beings have the same gut microbiome. It is an identifying feature like a fingerprint. If your gut microbiome, which constitutes more than 70% of your gut, is healthy, you can be assured of your strong immunity. Along with this, they also help in the production of serotonin, melatonin, and other neurotransmitters in the body

Intaking probiotics also help in absorbing amino acids. Amino acids are the smallest divisible units of proteins. So, this means that you absorb your proteins extremely well which directly contributes to your muscular growth as well as repair. Therefore, probiotics can develop athletic performance, steer recovery, better body structure, increase levels of testosterone and decrease cortisol levels. To sum up, it is a healthy supplement.

yogurt for muscle gains

Let us see the foods in which probiotics can be found:

  • Fermented foods and drinks
  • Yogurts (also high in protein!)
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Some kinds of Cheese
  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Buttermilk (pre-workout pancakes anyone?)
  • Pickles
  • Miso

However, you also need to take supplements because some of these foods may contain other elements like high sodium or fats that might not be good for you in the long run or in too high of quantities. Who wants to sit and eat a whole jar of pickles anyways?

How Do Probiotics Work?

The main reason why you should take probiotics or good bacteria is that they help in maintaining a healthy balance in your body. In a way, they maintain the neutrality of your body. When you fall ill or catch any bacterial disease or are simply weak, letting your body be a fertile ground for bacterial breeding, bad bacteria increases in your body. 

This creates a kind of harmful imbalance. This is where you need good bacteria to check the growth of bad bacteria by increasing the count of the former. Once the probiotics or the good bacteria restore the original balance, you feel a lot better.

When you consume food rich in good bacteria or external supplements, they multiply the good bacteria production in order to neutralize the bad bacteria and thereby keep you in proper health. Good bacteria are a part of your body.

So, this balance is always in motion, even without any supplements. But when you take these supplements along with a balanced diet rich in roughage, you catalyze the production of these good bacteria for your own benefit. 

Moreover, there are various types of good bacteria that you may need for different purposes. Some help in developing immunity by reducing inflammation. Some help in the easy digestion of food.

Good bacteria keep you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. As discussed in the previous section, some work on the gut lining and do the same task there: prevent the bad bacteria from entering the bloodstream. Bad bacteria might come from junk food or drinks that you might have had. Finally, they also disintegrate important medicines and nutrients like proteins and help in their easier absorption.

4 Important Benefits Of Probiotics

While trying to understand the working of probiotics, you have already got an idea of some benefits that intaking probiotics will provide you. Let us take a quick look at them:

1. Balance in Your Digestive System

They help in maintaining the bacterial balance in your digestive tract by increasing the count of the good bacteria. Because of their good effect on the gut, they can treat or reduce the effect of diarrhea, if not prevent it.

They can also help reduce the effects of several other severe digestive disorders that people widely suffer from. These might range from Crohn’s disease to inflammatory bowel disorder to ulcers and colitis. For example, it is found that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains can work well on ulcerative colitis.

2. Mental Health

Supplements often help in improving mental health because recent studies show gut health can be linked to mental health as well as your mood. Scientists believe supplements containing bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains can help with conditions of anxiety, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as memory.

Mental health is key in maintaining a consistent workout routine and diet, which requires discipline, self-motivation, and focus. If your gut is messed up it can be hard to achieve these things and thus, can impact fitness goals negatively.

3. Improving The Heart Conditions and Immunity System

Probiotics might also be good for your heart because research shows they lower LDL cholesterol along with blood pressure. Moreover, they improve the immune system by increasing the count of natural killer cells, IgA-producing cells, and T Lymphocytes. They also help in losing weight as well as belly fat.

Of course, consistent cardiovascular exercise is most important in maintaining a healthy heart but augmenting that with a well-rounded diet and above-mentioned probiotics only increase your heart health and immune strength.

4. Enhancing The Health of Skin

Probiotics may also help your body deal better with various allergies and dermatological issues like eczema, especially in young children and infants. However, research in this sector is still under development and subject to scrutiny.

That said, the frequent sweating associated with serious weight lifting and bodybuilding often leads to breakouts that can be difficult to control. Acne for example can be combated with creams and lotions but eating a healthy diet low in processed oils and high in probiotics can also assist in maintaining clear skin.

probiotics for gut health

How Do Probiotics Impact Bodybuilders?

Now that we have a general understanding of the benefits of probiotics, let us see how they can help bodybuilders or those who want to build a muscular framework exclusively.

  • Probiotics increase the body mass composition in favor of muscles over fat
  • They help in bettering the mental fortitude that results in increased levels of pain withstanding capacities, tolerance, mood, and attitude all of which are integral parts of rigorous training. As we already know probiotics help in improving mental health, they help athletes to be happy during such sessions which is essential because they often suffer from exhaustion, stress, and sleeplessness which might only make them sicker.
  • They also help to fight fatigue by perfectly disintegrating lactic acid. Most importantly, they lessen the effects of stress on the body as well as inflammation.
  • These supplements help in increasing energy production through proper digestion, breakdown, assimilation, and absorption of food, increasing the rate of body metabolism.
  • Since under the effect of probiotics, the body uses more and more water, they also help in hydration.
  • Since they are great at absorption, probiotics also absorb minerals like calcium and magnesium equally well. This is particularly good to fight any athletic trauma because they are constituents of the skeletal system.

Tips About Using Probiotics

Here are some useful tips that you might need if you are just starting on your journey with probiotics:

  1. You can get probiotics from supplements like Colon broom for example, as well as from foods that are rich in fibers and proteins like yogurt, kimchee, etc but supplements will give faster results.
  2. If you are someone who has never consumed probiotics before and are also not very sure of your exact needs, you can begin with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
  3. There are different probiotics for different purposes. The ones that help you build your muscles or lose your belly fat will not be the ones that reduce the effect of diarrhea. So, keep in mind the purpose for which you are taking it up.
  4. Although when you should take probiotics is not a crucial issue, it is better if you take one while fasting. As it will help get more and more probiotic bacteria into the lower area of the gut. However, there is one exception to this rule. That is Lactobacillus paracasei. It helps in better absorption of amino acids when you take it with protein supplements because that is the source of your proteins.
  5. It is also crucial to always remember that taking a probiotic alone will not help you to build your muscles or keep fit. It will only work if you take it in addition to a balanced diet and proper exercise. When the other conditions are satisfied, probiotics can enhance their functioning.
  6. Moreover, you should also put your money into a good probiotic if you want to manage hormonal issues.

Final Thoughts

The current craze in the market surrounding probiotics might be confusing to most of us. However, the truth is we often have probiotics in the food that we consume, a list of which has been provided. But in case you do not consume any of them in adequate amounts or do not know how to manage your diet, the best option would be to take a probiotic supplement of good quality along with your normal diet.

However, if your goal is to build muscles, probiotics will only be a catalytic agent. They cannot be the key factor which will always be rigorous exercise and a balanced diet. It is also essential to keep in mind the purpose of your probiotic’s intake because the kind of probiotics that you need to intake varies with the purpose.

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