Leaky Gut Behind Stomach Problems at Rio Olympics: Expert

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Highlights

Rio Olympics participants suffer from an upset stomach

Experts say the culprit may be leaky gut syndrome

Physical exertion due to heavy exercise may have contributed to leaky gut in athletes

A number of athletes participating in Olympics 2016 at Rio de Janeiro have reported gastrointestinal problems.

British gastro-intestinal expert suggest a condition called “leaky gut” syndrome could be responsible for it.

Leaky gut syndrome caused due to intense physical exertion and warm environment may be the culprit behind stomach problems among competitors at the Rio Olympic Games, according to a UK expert.

Officials have denied that athletes have fallen victim to food poisoning at the Olympic athletes village in Rio de Janeiro, despite a number complaining of upset stomachs.

zinc-carnosine-could-be-useful-for-rio-olympic-athletes-with-leaky-gut-syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut is a condition where the thin mucosal barrier of the gut, which plays a role in absorbing nutrients and preventing large molecules and germs from the gut entering the blood stream, becomes less effective, said Raymond Playford, a gastro-intestinal expert and professor from Plymouth University in the UK.

Some of the factors that increase permeability of the intestinal wall are

  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Stress
  • Food additives 
  • Antacids and painkillers
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Environmental contaminants

Leaky gut syndrome is common among those who take part in heavy exercise and who are active in hot conditions. Military personnel in countries with high temperature are likely to suffer from a leaky gut. This condition has also been reported in athletes who perform heavy exercise. Athletes participating in the Olympic Games may have a leaky gut due to the combination of intense physical exertion and warm environment.

Zinc Carnosine – Leaky Gut Therapy for Rio Athletes 

A new research study suggested that zinc carnosine may benefit athletes with leaky gut syndrome. The study was conducted by Professor Raymond Playford, a gastrointestinal expert and Professor of Medicine at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

Signs and symptoms of a leaky gut include bloating, gas, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), skin issues (rosacea and acne), fatigue, food sensitivities, etc.

“The good news is that our research has shown that there is a natural and readily-available solution to the problem,” Playford noted in a university statement on Thursday.

The study claimed that zinc carnosine (a health food product), taken alone or with bovine colostrum, may have value for athletes affected by ‘leaky gut’.

Researchers recruited eight volunteers who took part in a four-arm, double-blind placebo-controlled test.

Both are readily available from health food suppliers and researchers concluded that zinc carnosine taken alone or with bovine colostrum may have value for those affected by leaky gut.

“It comes as little surprise that some athletes at the Olympics are experiencing stomach complaints. The conditions are ideal for leaky gut – hot temperatures and high levels of exercise are a heady combination for the condition,” said Playford

The participants were divided into groups where each group received either zinc carnosine, placebo, bovine colostrum or zinc carnosine and colostrum for 14 days prior to standardized exercise taken two and 14 days after starting treatment. The body temperature was increased by two-degree Centigrade in the participants during heavy exercise. The rise in temperature may be a contributing factor in causing the increased leakiness of the gut.

Cell structure experiments were also conducted to understand the mechanisms behind how zinc carnosine and bovine colostrum worked. The results showed that supplementation of zinc carnosine improved the performance of the mucosal barrier of the gut. The findings also suggested that zinc carnosine supplemented with bovine colostrum enhanced the performance even more. Both zinc carnosine and bovine colostrum are readily available as a health food. The researchers concluded that zinc carnosine taken alone or with bovine colostrum might benefit athletes with a leaky gut.

Professor Playford said, “It comes as little surprise that some athletes at the Olympics are experiencing stomach complaints. The conditions are ideal for ‘leaky gut’ – hot temperatures and high levels of exercise are a heady combination for the condition. The good news is that our research has shown that there is a natural and readily available solution to the problem.”

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

References:

Zinc carnosine works with bovine colostrum in truncating heavy exercise-induced increase in gut permeability in healthyvolunteers– (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/06/29/ajcn.116.134403.abstract)

Zinc carnosine, a health food supplement that stabilises small bowel integrity and stimulates gut repair processes– (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1856764/)

Exercise, intestinal barrier dysfunction and probiotic supplementation– (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23075554)

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