Repeat after me: steroids are not supplements. Even so, any professional bicycle race or Olympics games are routinely clouded in accusations of doping — cheating. And yet, any self-respecting athlete swears by the power of nutritional supplements to improve performance. It starts with protein — the building block of muscle.
"Whey proteins continue to be recognized as the premier protein source for men's nutrition," says Loren Ward, from Glanbia Nutrition's R&D group. "Whey proteins provide the best anabolic response compared to other proteins. And they contain 30-100 per cent more branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs) compared to other common food proteins."The smooth taste profile of whey, combined with new processes that minimize nutrition-bar hardening (as proteins tend to absorb water), makes whey a great anytime ingredient that extend its use far beyond those giant tubs of protein powders found in the sports aisles of stores.
Beyond protein, various nutraceuticals help create energy and power. The big three are carnitine, co-Q10 and ribose. Notably, these have applications beyond mere sports — marketing them to this sector, therefore, takes some strategic thinking.
"The very nature of virtually all naturally occurring compounds utilized for health supplements is that they have more than one function in the human body," says Matt Phillipps, president and COO of Cyvex Nutrition. "You have to pick the key health benefit that the ingredient impacts the most, otherwise it dilutes the value of the ingredient if you try to encompass too many health indications."
Carnitine has been shown to optimize performance, delay onset of fatigue and improve recovery. It works by shuttling lipids into the cellular mitochondria and also transporting short-chain fatty acids from inside the mitochondria to the cytosol — the protein-rich watery pool in which the cell organelles are suspended. Because of this detoxification action, L-carnitine is responsible for maintaining energy metabolism of the whole body. This opens up a range of potential health applications it can address, which can be challenging from a marketing point of view. Carnitine supplier Lonza gets around this issue by dint of the weight of research to vouchsafe its efficacy for all those applications.
"It is not a matter of whether or not the product works for one specific health condition, it's more a matter of effectively communicating the information to the consumer that the product is proven to work in that specific area," says Lonza spokesman Anthony Galasso. "Making scientific studies readily available to the consumer — who is quite educated these days — provides reassurances that the nutrient is as effective as claimed, specifically for the condition it is being employed."
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component of the mitochondria, where it plays a major role in energy production. In addition, co-Q10 has antioxidant effects inside the critical mitochondrial membranes where bioenergetics take place.
D-ribose, meanwhile, replaces the energy pool within cells. As a structural component of ATP, ribose forms the precursor to ATP directly upon entering the muscle cell, and can increase ATP levels. In particular, once ATP levels have been depleted because of exercise or physiological stress, it takes as much as three days to restore levels. In a rat study using intravenous ribose, the repletion time was cut to 12 hours, suggesting a tremendous exercise-recovery tool.
Bioenergy Life Science
D-Ribose: A naturally occurring five-carbon sugar used by the body to stimulate the synthesis of ATP. Crucial to health and maintenance of normal energy-dependent body functions. Effective in relieving muscle stiffness, and good for cardiovascular health.
+1 763 757 0032
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Draco Natural Products
Pomegranate Seed Oil, 70% CLnA: Contains a high level of a unique omega-3 fatty acid, CLnA, that converts into CLA in the body. Studies also show that pomegranate- seed oil promotes skin-cell renewal.
+1 408 287 7871
San Jose, California, USA
Chondroitin Sulfate: 90-85%, with HPLC/CPC/USP grade. 10,000kgs production each month.
Glucosamine Hcl/2kcl: 30,000kgs production each month.
Green Tea Extract: 98%-50% polyphenol. 20,000kgs production each month.
+1 778 998 2518
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
UC-II: Undenatured (native) type II collagen, a revolutionary ingredient that works with the immune system to promote healthy joints and increase joint mobility and flexibility. Supported by six human clinical studies, including research from Harvard University Medical School. The only source of undenatured type II collagen available as a dietary ingredient.
+1 800 783 4636
Benicia, California, USA
Carnipure L-Carnitine: A vitaminlike substance that enables the generation of energy from fat. Daily supplementation prior to high intensity exercise may significantly reduce muscle pain and decrease muscle damage. May also optimize performance and delay onset of fatigue.
+1 800 365 8324
POWERGRAPE: An ingredient for vitality and energy formulations, including foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Grape extract (vitis vinifera L.) with a particular flavanols repartition and guaranteed levels of flavanol monomers. For the first time, 400 mg/d of this unique composition is available to link strong antioxidant power with performance improvement in athletes.
+33 (0)5 57 55 31 58
alled café do mato, or coffee of the woods, in Brazil for its powerful stimulant effects. Very clean energy with low caffeine levels. A great addition to combination supplements for energy and weight loss.
+1 201 796 4041
Elmwood Park, New Jersey, USA
Forslean: A patented phytonutrient for weight management that promotes lean body mass. A proprietary composition extract of coleus forskohlii root, standardized for 10 per cent forskohlin. Promising results exhibited in three areas: enhancing lean body mass, promoting fat loss and promoting weight loss.
+1 732 777 1111
Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
TSI Health Sciences
PEAK ATP: A patented, proprietary nutraceutical that provides the exact molecule the human body needs to create energy, making it effective for a variety of indications, such as energy levels, athletic performance, and anti-ageing.
Promilin: A patented ingredient for promoting healthy glucose and insulin utilization. Proprietary research and clinical studies supporting a bioactive compound found in 4-hydroxyisoleucine indicate promise for healthy products.
+1 406 549 9123
Missoula, Montana, USA