The first-ever pan-European good manufacturing practice (GMP) for sports nutrition is the topic of hot debate as industry weighs up whether it will help enforce quality and weed out bad actors lacing products with doping analogs like steroids and stimulants.
Specialized Nutrition Europe (SNE) and The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) argue the voluntary GMP will build confidence in the sector among elite and other athletes.
However, the European Specialized Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), Europe’s largest sports nutrition-focused industry body, says the standard is ill-defined and will sow confusion.
Beetroot shot market leader Beet It is challenging other beetroot players to put up their nitrate (NO3) numbers or ship out of the rising sports nutrition category.
“Athletes are being misled by beetroot products that are not labelled with their nitrate content, or by beetroot products that do not provide an adequate dose of nitrate per serving,” said Beet It brand manager, Jonathan Cartwright.
Cartwright explained this labelling coyness by pointing to a 2018 study that found many beetroot drinks and supplements contained nitrate levels below the 300mg efficacious dose backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and in some 200+ peer-reviewed studies.
“Our data reveal marked variation between different products and often even between different samples of the same product,” researchers in that study concluded.
Lawrence Mallinson, the managing director of UK-based Beet It owner James White Drinks, added that achieving beetroot nitrate potency and consistency was a supply and formulation chain challenge not paid due respect by many manufacturers in the sector.
“Beetroots have highly variable nitrate content and unless you try very hard – as we do – to ensure the beetroot juice is highly concentrated in a way to protect the nitrate – there is likely to be little there,” Mallinson said, noting a consumer would need, “293 pills of one particular product to get the nitrate equivalent of one of our Beet It shots.”
The IOC in a 2018 consensus statement found nitrate could aid muscle function and athletic performance when consumed at daily doses of 310-560mg.
The International Probiotics Association (IPA) has weighed in on Spain’s recent decision to permit probiotic labelling despite an EU ban, saying an international standard could resolve Europe’s increasingly splintered probiotics position.
“The establishment of global requirements would satisfy the triumvirate of authorities, consumers and, industry and will certainly lead to quality products, better consumer satisfaction, and health and well-being,” IPA executive director George Paraskevakos told NutraIngredients.
Spain’s recent decision to use EU mutual recognition principles to allow the term ‘probiotic’ on-product despite an EU ban on probiotics as an unauthorised health claim, has provoked law experts to question how much longer the EU ban can last.
With the digi-ink still drying on its freshly minted pro cycling sponsorship, nutritionals giant Royal DSM is demonstrating its commitment to sports nutrition and personalised nutrition.
By upping its existing 5-year nutrition partner status with German-based pro outfit Team Sunweb to title sponsor in 2021, DSM aims to give team members a nutritional edge through live biotracking tech and uber-refined supplement-enhanced dietary regimes for each rider in the men’s, women’s and development squads that comprise Team DSM.
DSM will feed the elite athlete level intel it gathers back into its own nutrient programmes to refine developments in omega-3s, tomato extracts, proteins, peptides, lutein and others beyond sports nutrition core markets.
“Pro athletes demand the most from their body and their equipment…The solutions that we provide society at large ultimately benefit from being informed by such proven results,” James Bauly, DSM’s global personalised nutrition chief, told NutraIngredients.
Italy’s primary food supplements group is taking action to protect the EU’s biggest and most dynamic market from a surge in misleading coronavirus-linked immunity claims.
Federsalus, a 230-strong group of institutional and commercial organisations operating in the food supplements sector, told NutraIngredients it was “taking very seriously” the 200+ infringements logged in the country since the pandemic began and was engaging with its members and the broader Italian food supplements sector, as well as regulators and EU law experts to tackle the problem.
The trade group told members to remove any online or offline marketing that suggested any nutrient or supplement could treat or prevent coronavirus or risk expulsion from Federsalus, not to mention penalties that can run to millions of euros from Italy’s Competition and Market Authority (AGCM).
“We are committed to the fight against these kinds of false claims because Italy has the most important supplements market in Europe – we have to protect it,” Federsalus director general Madi Gandolfo said. “In some cases it is companies misinterpreting the health claims law and quickly remedied, in other cases other actions might be required.”
Italy’s €1.6 billion food supplements market dwarfs the next biggest in Europe: Russia at €1.08bn; Germany with €967m and the UK with €755m, according to analyst Statista.
Objects of beauty: Royce Racing Gold Carbon Road Hubs. Only 1500 sterlings...
Royce gear is not cheap. A nitride, gold-finish titanium Racing Gold Bottom Bracket Axle with a “lacquered Carbon Fibre Spacer” costs 360 sterlings and is available by “special order only”.
If you want to turn the exclusivity dial all the way up to 11, consider a pair of Racing Gold Carbon Road Hubs. These specimens mix carbon, titanium and stainless steel to deliver a Shimano or Campag-compatible hub set weighing just over 300g and glittering like a precious golden thing.
But be prepared to pay £1500 and wait two years before you can join your local group ride feeling like some newly anointed ancient Grecian pedalling God among mortals. But two years? Even the Gods may not possess that much patience.
A regular titanium hub set Royce describes as “virtually indestructible” will only lighten your wallet or purse by £500. Bargain!
Asked what types invested in Royce components, Cliff Polton told us “enthusiastic cyclists” did.
A bespoke Filament. Nice...
Bamboo bikes are niche but there is a genuine and rising interest in them – I noticed it in a recent race here in Berlin where a friend riding a bamboo bike was swamped by other racers afterwards. They wanted to know how it rode; they wanted to know how it was made and by whom; they wanted to know how much it cost.
My friend enthused. He’s top 10 on a super competitive and popular Berlin Strava crit segment on his bamboo steed and is part of the Anti-Panda bamboo fixie racing team that has performed well in local criteriums. Make no mistake folks: Bamboo is fast.
It might not be able to match carbon for weight performance when you need to go uphill or col, but on the flat, it possesses serious kudos in the speed stakes. And as Daniel Vogel-Essex told me when I visited his Ozon Cyclery operation in Berlin recently, there are quite a few good reasons to give the ‘boo a bash, not least its affordable customisation potential.
“Say you want a winter or training bike – we can make a frame that is an exact replica of your favourite racing bike,” he says. “Then there is the performance. People have said they have never ridden a bike that has the combination of torsional stiffness and vibration dampening and a good weight – it will never be lighter than carbon but it can be close and it is a lot stronger. And better for the environment of course.”
The ketone esters market has received its annual publicity boost as a performance and recovery aid for pro cyclists competing in the world’s toughest and most famous bike race – the just-completed and COVID-19-rescheduled three-week-long Tour de France.
The strongest team in the race, Netherlands-based Jumbo-Visma, was the only team to go on the record about using ketone esters.
Its Slovenian leader and second-place finisher Primož Roglič stated somewhat ambiguously in a mid-race press conference: “Yeah, we are still using it. For the real effects, it’s really hard to say. It’s hard to feel it.”
Teams are obviously not going to shout about it if ketone esters are indeed producing significant performance gains.
However, ketone ester suppliers spoken to by NutritionInsight reckon more than half the 22 team Tour de France peloton uses them for training, in-race 'glycogen sparing' gains and post-race recovery, and have been for several years.
Other teams like Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal from Belgium have previously said they have used them.
Frank Llosa, the owner of leading US ketone esters manufacturer KetoneAid and supplier to many pro cycling teams, tells NutritionInsight: “Nobody wants to talk about it. I’m surprised Jumbo talked about it. Perhaps they find it safer to admit to it now instead of being accused of it later.”