Yesterday after I drank homemade blueberry kefir(see previous post) for the first time in over a year, I went for a 9 mile(14.4 km) run. At other times that I’ve had water kefir drinks I was either not training enough, injured, or sick, so I couldn’t “experiment” with it to see if it improved performance. But this time with all my marathon training, I wondered if the blueberry kefir would give me an edge. It sure felt energizing!
It took me 1 hour and 14 minutes to run 9 miles, which is a new record for me. This means I was able to sustain an 8 minute 13 second per mile pace for 1 hour and 14 minutes, the first time I have been able to do this(and it was in the mid 70s during the run and somewhat humid). Ordinarily, I run at a 9 or 10 minute pace if I run an hour or a little more. And I came so close to breaking into the 7 minute zone, a pace I seldom achieve and can rarely sustain for more than 15 minutes.
Of course this could be a placebo. But if the blueberry kefir helped, what was it? The B vitamins? The enzymes boosting my digestion? The vitamin K? An unknown factor? A mixture of all these things?
I don’t think the scientific evidence shows that probiotics help improve athletic performance beyond how they can prevent digestive problems in distance runners like stomach cramps, or runner’s diarrhea(which fortunately I’ve never suffered from).
Its possible probiotics can help some athletes more than others, but we need to see some good research on this.