Dr Williams (pictured), Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition at Nottingham Trent University, was the Principal Investigator of a new study conducted in collaboration with Clasado.
The study investigated the effects of prebiotic supplementation on gastrointestinal and immune function in elite athletes, exploring the potential role of prebiotics in sports nutrition and paving the way for future innovations in gut microbiome-centred product development.
The study to be presented at the event, titled "Effects of 24-Week Prebiotic Intervention on Self-Reported Upper Respiratory Symptoms, Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Markers of Immunity in Elite Rugby Players,” was published in the European Journal of Sport Science.
The research investigated whether Bimuno GOS could reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in elite athletes during a competitive season, giving vital clues to the potential application of prebiotics in sports health product development.
Dr Williams commented: "I look forward to presenting the findings of our new study and advancing our understanding of how the gut microbiome can influence athletic health."
"Our study sheds considerable light on the intersection of microbiome science and sports nutrition, emphasising the transformative potential of prebiotics in optimising athlete health.”
The results of the study demonstrate significant potential for prebiotics, such as Bimuno GOS, in sports health formulation.
In the double-blind placebo-controlled study, athletes that consumed 2.8 g of Bimuno GOS daily for 24 weeks experienced a 24% reduction in the duration of respiratory illness (cold or flu-like symptoms) compared with the placebo group (with an average reduction of 2.4 days).
Furthermore, incidence and severity of gastrointestinal symptoms were also lower in the group of athletes who consumed Bimuno GOS compared with the placebo group.
Dr Georgina Dodd, Senior Scientist at Clasado Biosciences, added: "At all levels of athletics, from leisure exercise to grassroots and top-flight athletics, training or events missed through illness can be a significant challenge to overcome."
"The new study shows significant potential for prebiotics in sports nutrition by supporting immune function and gastrointestinal health, and is another step forward in understanding how a better-supported gut environment can influence many different aspects of our day-to-day lives.”