PCC® probiotic and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes

Cox, et al. Oral administration of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2008;44:222-226

This study was conducted by researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia. They were interested in looking at the effect of PCC® dosing on elite athletes, because of reports that some probiotics can reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory-tract illness by modulating the gut microflora. Active individuals, in particular elite athletes, tend to experience respiratory tract infections more frequently than non-athletes. This study aimed to evaluate the ability of PCC® to boost the mucosal immune system of elite athletes.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial was conducted with 20 healthy male distance runners, over a four-month period of winter training.

General findings

The study found that the athletes taking PCC® reported less than half the number of days of respiratory symptoms compared with those on placebo. The severity of symptoms was also lower during the PCC® treatment. PCC treatment elicited a two-fold greater change in whole-blood culture interferon gamma compared with placebo.  


The authors concluded that consumption of PCC® was associated with a substantial reduction in the number of days and severity of respiratory illness in highly trained distance runners.

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