Microbiota is currently an important issue in disease and health and many studies have revealed it to play an important role in physiological homeostasis and health promotion. Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum), isolated from Taiwan pickled vegetables, is a well-known probiotic microorganism. In a recent animal study, it was shown that supplementation of mice with L. plantarum TWK10 (TWK10) could increase muscle mass, improve exercise performance and exert anti-fatigue effects. In order to examine the ergogenic effect of TWK10 supplementation on endurance performance in humans, we conducted a human double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study. A total of sixteen adult subjects over 20 years of age were recruited and randomly allocated to the placebo or TWK10 group (n = 8 each). The TWK10 group received 6 weeks of supplementation. Physiological assessments were conducted by exhaustive treadmill exercise measurements and related biochemical indexes. After 6 weeks of supplementation, levels of lactic acid, blood ammonia, blood glucose, free fatty acid (FFA) and creatine kinase (CK) were evaluated during exhaustive exercise. We were able to show that the TWK10 group had significantly higher endurance performance and glucose content in a maximal treadmill running test compared to the placebo group (P < 0.05), suggesting that TWK10 supplementation may be beneficial to energy harvest. Taken together, our results suggest that TWK10 has the potential to be an aerobic exercise supplement for physiological adaptation or an ergogenic supplement with health benefits for amateur runners.
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