Bacteria are just about everywhere in the environment as well as in, and on, us. They live throughout the human gut but the greatest concentrations are in the large intestine (bowel) where up to 1000 species of bacteria can be found.
We should aim to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria within the gut. This balance can be disturbed by a number of factors including antibiotics, stress, poor diet and living conditions, concurrent diseases and allergic reactions. Probiotics and prebiotics are agents employed in restoring the balance and/or protecting against disruption.
If you’ve followed all the training plans and you’re looking for that extra ‘edge’ it’s tempting to seek out the ‘magic bullet’ that will take those last few seconds off your pace. There is a long list of substances that are, or have been, promoted as performance improvers; some are legal and others are not; some have scientific evidence of their benefit and others do not.
A word of caution, relating to all supplements, that is prompted by a Food Standards Agency warning received recently. (The FSA bulletin related to OxyElite Pro and VERSA-1, promoted for weight loss and body building; manufactured and sold in the US but available here via the internet.) If you decide to buy any supplements, whether dietary or performance related, please ensure that you purchase them from a reputable source. Internet prices can be very attractive but the larger manufacturers and suppliers, such as the well-known high street names, generally have better and more reliable quality control measures in place.
Caffeine has been used as a performance aid for a long time. Prior to 2004, it was on the International Olympic Committee list of banned substances. Caffeine was not banned entirely however there was a tolerance limit in place.
Caffeine has been used as a stimulant since Paleolithic times. It is a naturally occurring substance, found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans and cola nuts and it is now the most widely consumed drug in Europe and America.