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Harvard researchers are developing probiotic pills to improve endurance



New research from Monday has identified a specific type of gut bacteria found in elite athletes that may increase their performance during rigorous physical exercises. This could lead to a probiotic-like preparation that could use "normal guys" improve their performance in a few years.

"The future of fitness is here and it is rapidly evolving," said Jonathan Scheiman, former postdoctoral and Harvard CEO and co-founder of FitBiomics, to CNBC Make It. "We want to turn this into consumer goods for health and well-being to promote [to the masses]. "

The study by 17 researchers, including Scheiman, published in the journal Nature Medicine found that marathon runners and endurance athletes after exercise had a higher content of Veillonella bacteria in their digestive microbiota (the unique bacterial colonies in their study) than inactive individuals Body occur).

The researchers then isolated a Veillonella strain from a marathon runner and inserted it into the colons of laboratory mice ̵

1; they found that the mice given Veillonella ran 13% longer on a treadmill than mice receiving the bacteria They asked a marathon runner if he could increase his ability to walk by 13% – I think he will be generally interested, "said Aleksandar Kostic, co-author of the study and Assistan CNBC's professor of microbiology at Joslin Diabetes Center told Make It.

The group later carried out a second analysis of 87 Ultra-Marathoners and Oarsmen with Olympia Test and noted a similar high Veillonella content It appears that Veillonella works by the supply of Lactic Acid, a compound that is formed during training in the muscles.The bacteria then turn into a compound called Propionate (a common short-chain fatty acid), which according to researchers, can contribute to the increase in athletic performance.

There is still much to explore (the concept has not been tested) Scheiman left Harvard just over a year after working on the study for four years to join FitBiomics with several co-authors of the study from the Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering to start at Harvard.

His team of the New York-based early-stage startup (which is funded with venture capital and also has a number of private investors) is currently developing a prototype of a probiotic supplement that Veillonella contains for professional use by elite athletes. He says it will most likely be upgraded to a supplement that can be used in a variety of food and beverage formats.

However, he does not have a firm timeline of when the products are likely to be ready for human trials. "Science takes time and because it's a probiotic, we're not necessarily re-inventing the wheel here, it's just disrupting it and somehow continuing to develop it," he says. "Of course we want to do human studies, but I think the future of fitness is here."

Dr. Rabia De Latour, assistant professor of gastroenterological medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, says the study is "really interesting," but the jury has yet to determine if this study can be replicated to improve physical activity in humans.

[The study] sheds light on something we all know – the microbiome is extremely important, but we do not quite understand it yet, "says De Latour.

However, she says that the microbiome plays a much bigger role plays in our health and well-being as we thought so far.

"In recent years, studies have shown that transferring a stool from a donor to a recipient suffering from a Clostridium difficile infection (a nasty infectious bacterium ), helped to hold his chair. "This discovery was groundbreaking," she says.

The discovery prompted many scientists and physicians to test what can still be achieved by manipulating bacteria in the microbiome.

However, more Fecal transplantation studies are needed as the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety notice on the use of fecal grafts earlier this month after a recipient died. The treatment has not yet been approved by the FDA.

Kostic, who is involved in FitBiomics, says the overall goal of Veillonella is to improve endurance during exercise.

"What we imagine is a probiotic supplement That people can handle it increases their ability to make meaningful moves and therefore protects them from chronic diseases such as diabetes."

According to Scheiman, FitBiomics did not contribute to the funding the current study, and the research was conducted solely for this academic purpose. The study was funded by the Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health.

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