Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Interdisciplinary Health Programs

First Advisor

John Geiser

Second Advisor

Gretchen Kauth


The purpose of this study was to investigate gastrointestinal disturbances in collegiate athletes and their knowledge of gastrointestinal health, or lack thereof, specifically pertaining to nutrition choices including prebiotic fiber and probiotic foods, sources, and supplements. Student-athletes at the division one level endure rigorous training for competition. Although one may have competent knowledge on the importance of fueling their body for their sport, there may be gaps in understanding the digestive mechanisms of their diet, importance of a diverse gut microbiome, and subsequent nutrient uptake. This study and questionnaire explored the relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances a student-athletes may experience and the level of knowledge an individual has of gut health maintenance, and how that impacts the dietary choices they make concerning prebiotic and probiotic consumption. This study showed there was a minimal to slight increase in probiotic and prebiotic knowledge in the last decade. Results revealed that GI disturbance expressed had no significant relationship to one’s level of knowledge and dietary consumption of prebiotic and probiotic foods. However, the population may still benefit from further education on this topic, and raise overall awareness on the prevalent health benefits and ways to achieve a rich and diverse gut microbiome.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Final Presentation.pdf (763 kB)
Defense Presentation