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Is gut health key to athletic performance? FrieslandCampina think so 

3 min read
AUTHOR: Ross Carver-Carter
Woman, nature fitness or hands on stomach in diet wellness, body healthcare or abs muscle growth in workout training or sunrise exercise. Zoom, sports athlete or person, belly digestion or strong gut

Curated from the podcast episode with FrieslandCampina, find out more about their latest solution, Biotis Fermentis, a fermented whey protein poised to revolutionise the sports nutrition market. We’ll also look at exercise-related digestive issues, explore the gut-muscle axis and hear how their latest product targets the gut microbiome to help athletes achieve digestive and performance benefits. 

Running into gut health issues 

Research shows that exercise is associated with increased microbiome diversity and balance, two key markers of digestive health. And yet a staggering 86% of well-trained sportspeople (defined as exercising five days a week) report having gastrointestinal issues such as bloating or cramps.  

In a discussion on the Food Matters Live podcast, Sara Camacho highlighted that the duration and intensity of physical activity can tilt the scales toward digestive problems, especially affecting endurance athletes. Despite this prevalence, the sports nutrition and gut health industries have yet to establish meaningful connections. 

The gut-muscle axis: a neglected target for sports nutrition solutions 

Not only are gut health issues common in active populations, but new research suggests that our microbiome composition might also be the key to athletic performance, influencing muscle mass, function and recovery. 

These raise exciting possibilities for the sports nutrition sector, offering a potential new mechanism for products to target. But consumers will need to be educated on the science first, with “few athletes aware of the link or using it to their benefit” currently, according to Sara Camacho. 

Biotis Fermentis: harnessing the gut-muscle axis for performance 

FrieslandCampina joined the Food Matters Live podcast to unveil their latest innovation, Biotis Fermentis, a first-of-its-kind performance and active nutrition solution targeting the gut-muscle axis. 

It combines whey protein, prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides, and probiotic cultures through fermentation to support digestive health and athletic performance. According to Linda Bentert, Marketing Manager at FrieslandCampina, it represents a “new angle” in the market. 

With applications spanning ready-to-drink beverages, yoghurts, and protein bars, it’s a versatile addition to the active nutrition market, says Sara Camacho. It also taps into what Linda Bentert calls “fermentation fever”, the growing trend for products containing live bacteria and probiotic cultures. 

Early results are promising, too, with an in-house consumer survey amongst 150 recreational athletes finding that: 

  • 80% of consumers self-reported improved satisfaction with their physical well-being 
  • 60% reported significantly reduced bloating compared to baseline levels. 

A clinical trial under review has also shown that Biotis Fermentis can alter microbiome composition, enriching levels of probiotic bifidobacteria and alleviating self-perceived gut health issues in well-trained athletes. 

For a comprehensive exploration of the intersection between gut health and athletic performance, tune in to the full podcast episode and discover how Biotis Fermentis is poised to transform the sports nutrition landscape.