Could colostrum help manage exercise and heat-induced – and maybe other – gut disorders?

Exercise-induced gut disorders are common in athletes, and running can increase gut leakiness by 250%. In a study led by Ray Playford, Professor of Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, athletes were asked to run at 80 percent of their aerobic maximum for twenty minutes. Changes in gut leakiness were measured by testing urine samples, and the athletes’ core temperature had also increased by 2 degrees. In another trial, the group were given dairy colostrums for two weeks before the exercise, and the rise in gut leakiness was reduced by 80%.

These findings could have positive implications for sufferers of heatstroke. The body’s response to increased permeability is to clear out the gut, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea as the body gets rid of toxins from gut organisms to prevent them from entering the bloodstream – which can lead to heatstroke, damaging the internal organs.

In the laboratory, Professor Playford found that gut cells were cultured at 37 degrees body heat and at 39 degrees, to replicate the increase in body temperature after exercise. The death rate of gut cells, significantly higher at the higher temperature, was reduced by two-thirds after colostrums was added to the culture medium.

Athletes are restricted in what they can take to reduce these symptoms after heavy exercise, as the range of products they can legitimately take is limited. So exploring the potential of colostrum for the Olympic athletes, and also for soldiers in hot climates.

American Journal of Physiology

Click here for more miscellaneous research on digestive conditions

First Published in Febuary 2011

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