Lactobacillus plantarum PS128, a probiotic that speeds up athletes' muscle recovery
The probiotics TWK10 and OLP-01 make muscles of lab animals bigger and stronger. In human research, TWK10 increases the endurance of athletes. It is obvious that these probiotics will be on the market in a few years as a sports supplement. Along with a probiotic that you may not know yet - Lactobacillus plantarum PS128. According to a Taiwanese human study, this organism allows athletes' muscles to recover faster after intensive physical exertion.
The researchers divided 16 triathletes into 2 groups. During a three-week period, the triathletes received 2 placebo capsules [the control group] or 2 capsules each with 1.5 times 10-10 CFUs of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 [the experimental group]. The athletes took a capsule just before their training and a capsule before they went to bed.

After these three weeks the test subjects participated in a triathlon, which consisted of 1.5 kilometers of swimming, 40 kilometers of cycling and 10 kilometers of running.

Lactobacillus plantarum PS128

Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 has been discovered in traditionally fermented Taiwanese vegetables. The researchers used a preparation made by the Taiwanese SynbioTech. We wrote about that company here and here.Results
Before and 72 hours after the triathlon, the researchers determined how much power the athletes could develop during the Wingate test. The Wingate test, in which test subjects have to cycle increasingly faster, determines the anaerobic capacity.

If you want to translate power into the everyday reality of sport, speed is not that far fetched.
The athletes who had used the probiotic developed more power after the triathlon than the athletes in the placebo group. Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 apparently accelerated muscle recovery.

Before and 48 hours after the triathlon, the researchers also determined the classic aerobic endurance capacity of the athletes. They allowed the athletes to cycle for as long as possible at an intensity of 85 percent of their maximum oxygen uptake [VO2max]. Again they saw that supplementation with Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 accelerated the recovery of performance.
Supplementation with Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 reduced muscle damage due to the triathlon. This is suggested by the figure below, in which the probiotic limits the rise of serum creatine kinase 3 hours after the triathlon. Creatine kinase signals muscle damage.

After the triathlon [AfterEx], Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 [LG] raised the production of antioxidant protective enzymes such as thioredoxin, analysis of the athletes' urine showed. Moreover, after the triathlon, the researchers found less myeloperoxidase in the blood of the athletes in the experimental group. Less myeloperoxidase indicates less tissue damage.The Taiwanese publication does not make us any wiser about the precise mechanism of action of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128, but perhaps the figure below gives a clue. You look at the concentration of amino acids in the blood of the test subjects after the triathlon. The probiotic increased the concentration of BCAAs, threonine and histidine. All test subjects ate about the same, so differences between the test subjects' intake of amino acids cannot explain these different concentrations.

"Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 may be a potential ergogenic aid for better training management, physiological adaptations to exercise, and health promotion," the researchers conclude.

Already on the market
A few minutes after we published this message, an observant reader contacted us. She told us that Lactobacillus plantarum is already on the market in Asian countries, and that the product has recently been launched in Western countries. Just google Psychobiotics PS128. [Google]

Nutrients. 2019;11(2):353.