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Why is digestion important for athletes?

Combined with mood, immune defenses and our health, digestion also plays a key role in achieving physical performance. How does it work and especially how to improve it?
Pourquoi la digestion est-elle importante pour le sportif ?

Combined with mood, immune defenses and our health, digestion also plays a key role in achieving physical performance. How does it work and especially how to improve it?

Contents :

  1. How Digestion Works
  2. Digestion affects mood
  3. The intestinal microbiota, an ally of the immune system and performance
  4. Sports activity helps digestion
  5. Supplements to improve digestion

How Digestion Works

In order to benefit from the nutrients provided to it, the digestive system follows a very specific course which consists of several stages:

  • Food is broken down by gastric juice and forms chyme;
  • Chyme is digested in the small intestine;
  • The liver, thanks to the production of bile, helps to better digest fats;
  • The pancreas produces enzymes that help break down proteins into amino acids;
  • By passing through the wall of the small intestine, food reaches the bloodstream;
  • The blood carries all the nutrients to the body's cells.

Digestion affects mood

We now know that the brain and the intestine are closely linked. Serotonin, the hormone responsible for our psychic balance, is present both in the brain and in our digestive system. This is why the proper functioning of the digestive system has a very real impact on mood and concentration. In other words, when the balance of the intestinal flora is disturbed, certain anxiety disorders can appear and vice versa: when we are anxious, our digestive system is disturbed.

Top athletes are often confronted with more or less intense stress. This is why supplementation may be a solution to better manage anxiety and digestive disturbances.

The intestinal microbiota, an ally of the immune system and performance

Difficult digestion, in addition to being uncomfortable during training, prevents the proper absorption of nutrients. Poor digestion would therefore have the effect of reducing the efficiency of the performances performed and slowing down muscle building.

In addition, some high-calorie or low-calorie diets disrupt the digestive system leading to certain disorders. The supply of probiotics and good bacteria helps to strengthen the populations of microorganisms present in the microbiota. They help improve digestion, assimilation of nutrients and strengthen natural defenses. Probiotics have even been studied on people with irritable bowel syndrome (1).

According to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the intestinal microbiota and its microorganisms:

  • Facilitate the assimilation of nutrients thanks to a set of enzymes;
  • Ensure the hydrolysis of starch, cellulose, polysaccharides (simple sugars);
  • Regulate certain metabolic pathways;
  • Improve the absorption of lipids, calcium, magnesium...

Sports activity helps digestion

It is well known that a "gentle" sports activity improves digestion. A simple walk or a bit of cycling should therefore be positive, helping you to digest and promote the absorption of nutrients. On the other hand, no intense sports training: just after a meal, it is better to spare your body, which uses a lot of energy to assimilate food. This is why it is also recommended, in order to avoid reflux and gastric disorders, to space out food intake and significant physical effort (1 hour minimum for a snack, 3 hours for a main meal).

Supplements to improve digestion

Rhodiola Rhodiolife : Rhodiola Nutrimuscle is an adaptogenic plant recommended for its benefits on the body and mind. It is known to improve mental energy and its anti-stress action through the reduction of cortisol levels (stress hormone). Its adaptogenic power also acts on the balance of serotonin, the hormone present in the intestine and the brain. By calming the mind and limiting stress, Rhodiola helps reduce pain and digestive problems.

Biotics : Nutrimuscle probiotics are Bacillus coagulans GanedenBC30 quality probiotics, number 1 in the United States. Their regular intake facilitates digestion and in particular improves the assimilation of nutrients including proteins. Thanks to the addition of good bacteria in the intestine, probiotics also form a protective barrier on the intestinal flora. These good bacteria will also take care of eliminating the bad ones.

Glutamine : Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning it can be made by the body. It is also the most abundant amino acid in our body, especially in the small intestine. Its contribution strengthens the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and limits intestinal hypermeability (2) and the triggering of certain diseases. In addition, its contribution helps to strengthen the immune system, preserving the cells.

Rolled oats : Nutrimuscle rolled oats are a source of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index thanks to their high quality fiber content. Fiber intake contributes to the athlete's digestive health, which is often undermined by training and intense effort. In addition, the fibers participate in improving the energy of the athlete, which is why it is the ideal food to prepare for an effort.

Nutri-fibres : Nutrimuscle Nutri-fibres are carbohydrates obtained from wheat starch which have several digestive benefits. First, fiber slows down the digestion process and releases slow, sustained energy. In addition, fibers have prebiotic effects, which help to develop the good bacteria of the intestinal flora.

Scientific references:

  1. Tina D, Shilan M, et al . Effectiveness of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: Updated systematic review with meta-analysis. J Gastroenterol. 2015 Mar 14;21(10):3072-84.
  2. Vermeulen MA, Jong J et al. Glutamate reduces experimental intestinal hyperpermeability and facilitates glutamine support of gut integrity. World J Gastroenterol 2011; 17(12): 1569-1573.
  3. Pink DJ. Influence of dietary fiber on inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer: importance of fermentation pattern. Nutr Rev. 2007 Feb;65(2):51-62.

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