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.
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.
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.”
Kate Allan, British 50 Mile Time Trial Champion in 2017 and founder of endurance sports communications firm, Compete PR, developed COVID-19 symptoms back in March.
“Three weeks in, with symptoms becoming more intense, I ended up in A&E – breathless, with a horribly mucous-y cough and body aches like no other,” she wrote of her COVID-19 experience.
“…the chest x-ray showed pneumonia in my right lung and the blood tests markers of infection.”
Coming down with COVID-19 prompted her to alter her eating patterns and views of nutrition.
“I’ve started taking magnesium, vitamin D and a more general multi-vitamin, and being more mindful about taking onboard healthier foods…My skin is brighter, and although I’ve felt pretty dreadful with lurgy – I can feel that my body is functioning far more effectively than it has been.”
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