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The #1 Most Surprising Supplement for Stronger Muscles, New Study Says

Keep your muscles in tip-top shape.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

Making sure to get probiotics—either from your food or additional supplements—might be a good idea for anyone who wants to keep their muscles in tip-top shape.

That's because "probiotic strains (and mix of strains) … improve muscle mass and function," according to research that was published recently by The Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle.

probiotics supplement
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While the current data focuses on animals and more studies need to be done to get a better grasp of how probiotics might help keep us strong, Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, who is a senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, points out that this information is "definitely interesting since in the hospital setting we see a lot of malnourished and frail patients, many of whom are on antibiotics which destroys the good probiotics in their microbiome."

Hunnes adds that "the more we learn about the microbiome, the more we are astounded by how much it influences our health, and it wouldn't surprise me that it also has something to do with muscle mass and function as well."

Probiotics "seem to moderate or modulate inflammation in our bodies, and as we have learned in the field of nutrition, inflammation has a lot to do with muscle catabolism, especially in critical illness," Hunnes tells Eat This, Not That!."So, it would seem that keeping inflammation at very low to negligible levels would help preserve muscle mass and functionality better, and if having healthy gut microbiome helps with that, we should do all we can to keep it healthy!"

As for what else you should know about probiotics, Hunnes explains that "​not all probiotics are created equal. There are several that have been tested extensively in humans (including bifidobacterium and lactobacillus), but what we are finding more and more is that the more diverse the strains are in our guts, the better off we are. So, focusing too much on one at the expense of others may not be a good idea either."

To find out more about how what you consume can benefit your muscles, be sure to read 25 Best Foods to Eat for Muscle Definition and Toning.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more