Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the Gut flora. Probiotics occur naturally in fermented food products such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, cabbage kimchee, soybean-based miso etc. Other sources include drugs and dietary supplements. Numerous health benefits have been attributed to probiotics like improving gastrointestinal tract function and diseases, immune function, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and allergic conditions. Probiotics include different bacterial species among which Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are the most common ones. The human gut harbors a variety of microorganisms that influence host nutrition, metabolic function, gut development, and maturation of the immune system and epithelial cells. The human gut is colonized by around 400 different bacterial species. The probiotic bacteria promote digestion and absorption of nutrients. In the large intestine, complex carbohydrates are digested and fermented into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as n-butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the most utilized species by the food industry to convert carbohydrates into lactic acid, which produces the sour tastes of yogurt and other foods, and lowers the pH of foods which reduces the growth of food spoiling organisms. LAB also improves the nutritive value of the foods they inhabit.
The gut microbes also play a fundamental role in the functioning of the host immune system and protection from pathogens. It is reported that the athletes show higher infections associated with upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal troubles, including increased permeability of the gastrointestinal epithelial wall, also called “leaky gut”, disruption of mucous layer and higher rates of bacterial translocation. Hence it is important for the people who exercise to maintain their gut microbiota composition. Even though the studies on the role of gut microbes on exercise are meagre, but a few studies have shown the impact exercise has on the gut microbial composition. Another study reported that exercise training associated with weight loss showed significant increase in the Lactobacillus and reduced inflammatory marker IL-6 levels. Also Lactobacillus influenced exercise performance by producing lactic acid, which in turn, could be used by lactate-utilizing bacteria to produce butyrate and produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Butyrate helps in mucin synthesis and gut epithelium protection. Hence probiotic supplementation could play important roles in energy production during exercise. Also gut microbes including Lactobacillus promise health-promotion, improved performance, and antifatigue effects during exercise in terms of energy balance and body composition.
Consuming probiotic supplementation by athletes and other people who are into fitness activities would benefit them largely by improving their performance and health. Enlight life probiotic chocolate is a combination of probiotic microbes and prebiotic dark chocolate. Each chocolate provides about 10 billion CFU probiotics of various strains. The LAB species include L. acidophilus, L. casei and L. rhamnosus.