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Harvard researchers create probiotic pills to help increase stamina



New research on Monday has identified a special type of intestinal bacteria found in elite athletes who can play a role in increasing their performance during rigorous training – and this can lead to a probiotic supplement that "regular joes" could use to Improve their performance in a few years.

"The future of fitness is here, and that's something we are developing fast," says Jonathan Scheiman, former Harvard Postdoctoral and CEO and co-founder of FitBiomics, CNBC Make It. "We want to translate this into consumer products to promote health and wellness [to the masses]."

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine by 17 researchers, including Scheiman, showed that after exercising the marathon runners and endurance practitioners, they have higher levels of bacteria called Veillonella in their digestive microbiomas (the unique colonies of bacteria found in your body) compared to inactive people.

Researchers then isolated a strain of Veillonella from a marathon runner and inserted it into the colonies of lab mice ̵

1; they found the mice given Veillonella ran 13% longer on a treadmill compared to mice that did not get the bacteria.

"It may not seem to a large number, but I certainly think it is biologically significant and safe if you ask a marathon runner if they could increase their current ability by 13% – I think they will generally be interested, "Aleksandar Kostic, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of microbiology at Joslin Diabetes Center, tells CNBC Make It.

The group later made another analysis of 87 ultra marathons and Olympic testers and found similarly high levels of Veillonella. It seems that Veillonella works by feeding from lactic acid, a compound made in the muscles during exercise. The bacteria then become a composition called propionate (a common short-chain fatty acid) that can help increase one's athletic performance, researchers say.

Although there is much more research to be done (the concept has not yet been tested on humans yet), Scheiman left Harvard a little over a year ago after working with the studio for four years to launch FitBiomics with several study authors from Harvard. 39; s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

His team in New York-based early stages (who are venture-financed and also have a lot of private investors) is currently developing a prototype of a probiotic supplement containing Veillonella from elite athletes for commercial use. He says it will probably be cleaned in a supplement that can be used in a variety of foods and drinks.

However, he does not have a fixed schedule when he expects the products to be ready for human trials. "Science takes time. Since it's a probiotic, we don't necessarily reinvent the wheel here, we're just disturbing and developing it," he says. "We will of course do human studies, but I think the future of fitness is here."

Dr. Rabia De Latour, assistant professor of gastroenterology medicine at New York University School of Medicine, says while the study is "really interesting", the jury is still out on whether this study can be recreated in humans to increase exercise.

"[The study] shines a light on something we all know – that the microbiome is extremely important, but we do not fully understand it," says De Latour.

However, she says that the microbiome plays a much greater role in our health and well-being than we previously thought.

"In recent years, studies showed that transplantation chairs from a donor to a recipient suffering from a Clostridium difficile infection (a poor contagious bacterium) contributed to keeping its bad bacteria in bay This discovery was groundbreaking, she says.

The discovery adds she many scientists and doctors to begin testing what else can be achieved by manipulating bacteria in the microbiome.

But more research must be done on fecal transplants as earlier this month issued and the Drug Administration a security alert about the use of faecal transplants after a recipient died.The treatment has not yet been approved by the FDA

Kostic, which has equity in FitBiomics, says that with Veillonella, the overall goal goes beyond helping people with Increasing Endurance During Exercise.

"What we imagine is a probiotic supplement that people can take will increase their ability to make sense wool exercise and therefore protect them from chronic diseases, including diabetes. "

According to Scheiman, FitBiomics made no contribution to financing the current study, and the study was solely for academic purposes, funded by the Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health.

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