Can probiotics reduce gastrointestinal complaints in athletes?

Connor Parker, Dr Caroline Childs

Season 2


Clear understanding of:
  • Prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in athletes
  • How exercise can influence gut permeability and damage
  • The use of probiotic supplements in athletes
Be aware of:
  • Methodological considerations for human nutrition intervention trials
  • Different strains of probiotics in supplements
  • Considerations for research trials in athletes
Be able to:
  • Interpret data from a human intervention trial
  • Understand if the data can apply to real-world settings and athletes
  • Critically analyse research in order to apply it in performance nutrition


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Dr Sue Reeves, Head of Undergraduate Studies and Student Experience, Department of Life Sciences, University of Roehampton

Expert speaker

Connor Parker
Academic Associate and PhD Researcher in Exercise Physiology, Nottingham Trent University.

Connor Parker is an academic associate and PhD researcher in exercise physiology at Nottingham Trent University. His research is primarily focused on nutritional interventions that improve athlete health and performance through modulation of the gut microbiota. His other research interests include the impact of exercising in extreme environments on gut health.

Paper reference

The session discusses the paper: Pugh, J.N., Sparks, A.S., Doran, D.A. et al. Four weeks of probiotic supplementation reduces GI symptoms during a marathon race. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 1491–1501 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-019-04136-3

The paper explores the use of a probiotic supplement to reduce the incidence and severity of gastrointestinal symptoms in marathon runners. We will be covering tools and techniques to help you best understand and appraise this research paper, through both critical examination and discussion.


About Journal Club Chair, Dr Caroline Childs

Each Journal Club session is chaired by Dr Caroline Childs, Nutrition and Metabolism subject lead in Medicine at the University of Southampton. She received student-nominated awards for ‘most engaging lecturer’ and ‘best pastoral support’ and a colleague-nominated award for teaching excellence. Dr Childs is a Nutrition Society Ambassador and a South East Regional Representative for the Association for Nutrition.

As she says, “Developing skills in critical appraisal is an essential part of being a competent nutrition professional – whether you’re a dietitian, nutritionist or health professional specialising in nutrition.”


Nutrition research reported in the media often highlights mixed or contradictory results between studies. So, as a nutrition professional, how can you ensure you use the strongest available evidence to inform your practice?


This webinar has been approved for CPD by the AfN

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