Yogurt vs. Probiotic Supplements: Which is More Effective for Athletes?


Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that supports the intestines, aids digestion, maintains immune health, and keeps the gastrointestinal system balanced. They also have several benefits for all levels of athletes.  However, the source of probiotics matters a great deal, according to the latest research.


Sources for Probiotic Support

Probiotics can be found in a number of places, including yogurt and supplements. Over the past few years, the benefits of yogurt products containing good bacteria have received a lot of attention. 

But the truth is that probiotic supplements may have advantages for athletes over foods such as yogurt. Consider the following evidence.


  1. Limited Variety 

Yogurt has been found to possess only a very few types of probiotics. Although these strains may provide certain health benefits, probiotic yogurt falls short of delivering the best overall diversity of beneficial bacteria for exercise.

In other words, while yogurt may help provide some level of digestive support, it simply can’t compete with supplements that are formulated specifically to provide the proper amount and variety of probiotics to support athletic performance.

The good news is that supplements usually contain more varieties of strains per serving than a grocery store yogurt.

Plus, supplements disclose the particular probiotic strain and the amount of colony forming units (CFU) per serving clearly on the label.

You want to assure you receive the substantiated probiotics found in research to support your workouts. For example, studies show that specific probiotics can help reduce the duration of fatigue after intense exercise, even in the heat.

And since muscle inflammation commonly occurs during intense exercise leading to soreness and fatigue, using a high-quality probiotic may help reduce the muscle inflammation, and actually improve performance.


2. Limited Amount

While supplements offer specific levels of probiotics, foods such as yogurt may simply not have enough to provide the full benefits.

Published research confirms that he dosage of probiotics in most yogurt products are simply too low to offer the health benefits found in clinical trials. In fact, many of the studies that focus on yogurt’s benefits actually had to use doses that were as much as 25 times more than the amount actually found in the product to achieve the favorable results.

For athletes, physical activities places stress on the body. This can negatively affect the immune system. Countless studies validate that probiotics support immune health when used in the proper dosage. Plus, probiotics enhance the body’s natural defenses, particularly those related to the physical overexertion in athletes.

3. Limited Shelf Life

Many of the processes used to produce commercially-available yogurts actually destroy much of the live probiotic microorganisms. This is due to the fact that heat pasteurization and sterilization kills the microorganisms before they even hit store shelves. So, there is really no accurate method to tell if you are getting adequate levels of beneficial bacteria.

4. Unwanted Extras

Many yogurts have high amounts of high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, and other less-than-healthy ingredients that can affect the gastrointestinal system and balanced gut bacteria.

However, probiotics in supplement form, especially in a powder delivery system tend to have no added sweeteners, preservatives, colors or flavors and therefore, make for a much better decision on taking probiotics.

Choose Wisely

Probiotics help maintain a state of general health, enhance immune function, improve gastrointestinal health, reduce oxidative stress, and promote energy. Studies support probiotic supplementation instead of yogurt or similar foods for a steady supply of beneficial bacteria.

For the ultimate athletic performance at every level of fitness, the bottom line is that supplementing with probiotics specifically formulated for sports enthusiasts offers many benefits during and after exercise.

Read the labels carefully and choose a probiotic that will provide the optimum formula to deliver the benefits you want for your active life.


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