Researchers say there’s help for athletes experiencing sudden bathroom urges

Researchers say there’s help for athletes experiencing sudden bathroom urges

Few may want to discuss it, but scientists estimate that 30 to 60 percent of athletes have experienced a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, during both training and competition. “Instead of sizing up the competition or envisioning my route to victory, I often spent my time on the starting line thinking about where and when I’d have to make a bathroom pit-stop,” recalls two-time Olympian Laura Bennett.  

Now there’s research supporting prebiotic fiber’s ability to let you focus more on your performance and less on your digestive tract. A study published by the Journal of Functional Foods, reports that prebiotic guar fiber may help minimize athlete’s diarrhea by boosting levels of healthy probiotics in the gut.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 47 healthy male athletes (mainly soccer players) found that consuming 6 grams of PHGG (Sunfiber) daily over a four-week period resulted in them having fewer negative GI symptoms. The study was published in the Journal of Functional Foods. 

The researchers also noted that PHGG lowers abundance of harmful bacteria and increases energy recovery from gut contents in athletes. They further noted that the presence of Bifidobacterium, a probiotic known to flourish when fed by PHGG, was associated with these benefits.

While there is still more research to be done in this area, Sunfiber is already known to provide relief from occasional diarrhea as well occasional constipation. It may be a welcome dietary addition for any endurance athlete who wants to focus on something besides the location of the nearest bathroom.