The evolving market for sports nutrition

Arla sports nutrition Arla Foods Ingredients has launched Lacprodan Hydro.365 (Hydro.365), its most advanced whey protein hydrolysate to date. Originally developed for elite athletes, the product combines the highest quality whey protein with rapid absorption properties.

Whey protein has been shown to be nutritionally superior to other sources of protein in promoting rapid recovery after a workout. Hydro.365 has a high degree of hydrolysation, offering quicker digestion time in comparison to standard whey proteins. It is absorbed quickly, which optimises the body’s muscle-building and repair response. The product can be applied across a majority of popular sports supplement applications, including clear beverages, gels and bars.

Protein supplementation is widely used by athletes to help build muscle and speed up recovery rates. It is often consumed in formulations alongside other helpful nutrients, such as carbohydrates.

The market for protein in sports nutrition is evolving rapidly. Market analyst, Euromonitor International reports that protein supplements are currently the fastest growing category in consumer health. The report states that protein products have delivered consistently year-on-year growth.

New era proteins

High-performing people demand high-performance solutions. The way protein has been delivered has evolved from standard whey to include isolates and whey protein fractions. Each new generation of sports nutrition products can pack a progressively more powerful dose of muscle-building protein into a beverage, gel or bar. Protein hydrolysates are emerging as the next big innovation. They are poised to join other forms of protein in products aimed at the mainstream sports nutrition market. Hydro.365 offers all the proven, superior sports nutrition characteristics of whey proteins in a highly-purified form that makes it easier to digest – thereby reducing recovery time.

Significant advantages

The product is easily absorbed as opposed to intact whey protein. The ingredient is broken down, or pre-digested into amino acids and small peptides. Studies show that these amino acids and peptides are more readily absorbed than the intact proteins normally found in food. They are absorbed directly and rapidly into the blood. This may enhance the recovery process.

Maximum benefits

Whey protein is classed as a fast protein. It is easily absorbed by the gut, producing a rapid spike in the levels of amino acids in blood plasma compared to other sources of protein. Consuming a dose of Hydro.365 combined with easily absorbed carbohydrates straight after a training session maximises potential recovery benefits. It induces a high concentration of insulin in the athlete’s blood plasma. As well as playing a critical role in regulating blood sugar, insulin is one of the body’s most powerful anabolic (muscle-building) hormones. Ingesting this combination after exercise induces plasma insulin concentration, optimising the body’s environment for superior glycogen replenishment.

Greater muscle synthesis

The amino acids in whey include a high proportion of the muscle-building branched-chain amino acids and leucine. When combined with other amino acids, it acts as signalling molecules that initiate the synthesis of new proteins as essential building blocks in the process. During exercise, an athlete’s body uses around 25 per cent more branched-chain amino acids and leucine than normal.

Commercial applications

Lacprodan Hydro.365 is designed to be applied in a comprehensive range of sports nutrition supplements. It is UHT stable, pH flexible (enabling application in all forms of beverages) and has a low bitterness profile. It is especially attractive to manufacturers wishing to develop highly functional clear sports recovery drinks with a palatable taste.  

As a whey protein hydrolysate, the product builds on whey protein’s reputation for performance by making the protein even easier to absorb, so recovery can begin sooner. In fact, tests show that recovery times can be reduced from days to hours. The product is supplied locally through Chempure.

About the author: Peter Schouw Andersen is business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients.