Health In Focus
  • Rio Olympics participants suffer from an upset stomach
  • Experts say the culprit may be leaky gut syndrome
  • Physical exertion due to heavy exercise may have contributed to leaky gut in athletes

A number of athletes participating in Olympics 2016 at Rio de Janeiro have reported gastrointestinal problems. Food poisoning was thought to be the reason for complaints of upset stomach, but, officials have denied it. A new study suggests that the culprit may be a leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

The bowel is lined by a thin mucosal barrier, which plays a role in absorbing nutrients and preventing large molecules and germs passing from the gut into the blood stream. When the barrier becomes less effective, the condition is called as leaky gut, causing widespread symptoms.
Rio Olympic Athletes With Leaky Gut Benefit from Zinc Carnosine
Rio Olympic Athletes With Leaky Gut Benefit from Zinc Carnosine

Some of the factors that increase permeability of the intestinal wall are Leaky gut syndrome is common among those who take part in heavy exercise and who are active in hot conditions. Military personnel in countries with high temperature are likely to suffer from a leaky gut. This condition has also been reported in athletes who perform heavy exercise. Athletes participating in the Olympic Games may have a leaky gut due to the combination of intense physical exertion and warm environment.

Zinc Carnosine - Leaky Gut Therapy for Rio Athletes

A new research study suggested that zinc carnosine may benefit athletes with leaky gut syndrome. The study was conducted by Professor Raymond Playford, a gastrointestinal expert and Professor of Medicine at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

Zinc carnosine is a health food product that improves gastrointestinal activity. It is an artificially produced derivative of carnosine. Pharmaceutical industries produce zinc carnosine as a dietary supplement with added value for gastric health.

The current research involved eight volunteers who participated in a four-arm, double-blind placebo-controlled test. The participants were divided into groups where each group received either zinc carnosine, placebo, bovine colostrum or zinc carnosine and colostrum for 14 days prior to standardized exercise taken two and 14 days after starting treatment. The body temperature was increased by two-degree Centigrade in the participants during heavy exercise. The rise in temperature may be a contributing factor in causing the increased leakiness of the gut.

Cell structure experiments were also conducted to understand the mechanisms behind how zinc carnosine and bovine colostrum worked. The results showed that supplementation of zinc carnosine improved the performance of the mucosal barrier of the gut. The findings also suggested that zinc carnosine supplemented with bovine colostrum enhanced the performance even more. Both zinc carnosine and bovine colostrum are readily available as a health food. The researchers concluded that zinc carnosine taken alone or with bovine colostrum might benefit athletes with a leaky gut.

Professor Playford said, "It comes as little surprise that some athletes at the Olympics are experiencing stomach complaints. The conditions are ideal for 'leaky gut' - hot temperatures and high levels of exercise are a heady combination for the condition. The good news is that our research has shown that there is a natural and readily available solution to the problem."

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

References :
  1. Zinc carnosine works with bovine colostrum in truncating heavy exercise-induced increase in gut permeability in healthy volunteers - (
  2. Exercise, intestinal barrier dysfunction and probiotic supplementation - (
  3. Zinc carnosine, a health food supplement that stabilises small bowel integrity and stimulates gut repair processes - (
Source: Medindia

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