a runner crosses the finish line

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Bacteria from elite athletes’ poop might boost sports performance

The next generation of sport drinks might contain a new turbocharged ingredient—the bugs from elite athletes’ poop. A team of microbiologists is launching a company that will purify the gut bacteria of athletes and then market them as probiotic supplements, Quartz reports. After analyzing stool samples from athletes participating in the 2015 Boston Marathon and the 2016 Summer Olympics, the researchers found higher concentrations of two types of gut bacteria: one that helps degrade lactic acid, an exercise byproduct, and another that may play a role in breaking down carbohydrates, critical during long runs. Reporting this week at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the team says those bacteria—and others—could make even nonathletes better able to endure long periods of exercise.

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