Why is gut health important for athletes?
The gut is an important athletic organ, allowing uptake of the nutrients and water necessary to support exercise. The gut also has various other roles that can impact the health of an athlete. For example,
- Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to control the brains pleasure centre. Dopamine effects our emotions and appetite and 50% of its production comes from the gut.
- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, appetite and digestion. Our gut produces 90% of our serotonin.
- Housing the microbiome these bacteria are able to provide benefits such as aiding digestion and strengthening our immune system (up to 80% of the immune system is located in the gut.) The gut microbiome has also been linked to alterations in mood, anxiety, depression, memory, food cravings & eating behaviours.
A Closer Look at Digestion in the Gut
Digestion involves breaking down food into its most basic components so that the nutrients can be absorbed and utilised by the body. Just chewing your food doesn’t release the essential nutrients though, digestive enzymes present in the stomach, pancreas, small intestine and saliva are a very necessary part of this process.
When your body doesn’t produce enough of certain digestive enzymes undigested compounds can make their way into your large intestine causing unpleasant gut symptoms and robbing your body of essential nutrients – which can therefore affect performance both in the short and long term.
Musashi High Protein, 100% Whey and Shred & Burn powders contain papain, a protein – digesting enzyme or ‘protease’. Papain is naturally sourced from the tropical papaya fruit. Proteases help to break protein down into smaller peptide and amino acid fragments so that they can be effectively absorbed and used to create the many important protein structures of the body, vital for keeping us healthy and functioning. These functions include…
- The structural formation of muscle tissue
- The structural formation of connective tissues and bone
- A major component of most body enzymes
- The transportation of various substances throughout the blood
- Creation of peptide hormones such as insulin
- Creation of Neurotransmitters
- Antibodies necessary for immune function
So as we know protein is essential, and even more so for athletes. The proper digestion and absorption of protein though is what allows it to play its many roles in the body. Digestive enzymes are a necessary part of this process.