Scientists investigating natural ways to enhance athletic performance have found that bovine colostrum can massively reduce gut permeability — otherwise known as ‘leaky gut syndrome.’ Their findings, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, could have positive implications not just for athletes but also for sufferers of heatstroke.
‘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 bloodstream, becomes less effective. It is a particular problem for those taking part in heavy exercise or who are active in hot conditions.
A research group led by Ray Playford, Professor of Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry looked at athletes who were asked to run for 20 minutes at 80 percent of their aerobic maximum. At the end of the exercise, changes in the subjects gut leakiness were measured using urine sample — also determined were changes in the athletes’ core temperature. Under standard conditions, gut leakiness had increased by 250 percent and the temperature had risen by 2 degrees. However, when the group was given a drink of dairy colostrum for two weeks before the trial, the rise in gut leakiness was reduced by about 80 percent, despite the same effort and temperature rise.
Gut disorders induced by exercise are common in runners — the body’s response to increased permeability is to clear the gut contents, giving rise to symptoms such as diarrhea to avoid toxins from gut organisms entering the bloodstream, as these lead to heatstroke which can result in damage to the internal organs.