Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum Olympic No. 1 (OLP-01) has been shown in previous animal experiments to improve exercise endurance performance, but this effect has not been confirmed in humans, or more particularly, in athletes. Toward this end, the current study combined OLP-01 supplementation with regular exercise training in well-trained middle-and long-distance runners at the National Taiwan Sport University. The study was designed as a double-blind placebo-controlled experiment. Twenty-one subjects (14 males and seven females aged 20–30 years) were evenly distributed according to total distance (meters) traveled in 12 min to one of the following two groups: a placebo group (seven males and three females) and an OLP-01 (1.5 × 1010 colony forming units (CFU)/day) group (seven males and four females). All the participants received placebo or OLP-01 supplements for five consecutive weeks consisting of three weeks of regular training and two weeks of de-training. Before and after the experiment, the participants were tested for 12-min running/walking distance, and body composition, blood/serum, and fecal samples were analyzed. The results showed that OLP-01 significantly increased the change in the 12-min Cooper’s test running distance and the abundance of gut microbiota. Although no significant change in body composition was found, OLP-01 caused no adverse reactions or harm to the participants’ bodies. In summary, OLP-01 can be used as a sports nutrition supplement, especially for athletes, to improve exercise performance.
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