Energy drinks and shots share a crossover appeal with sports. Women exercising two times a week are more likely to drink energy drinks, said David Sprinkle of Packaged Facts at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas in October.
HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. At 3g/day, HMB minimizes muscle damage, decreases muscle protein breakdown and increases protein synthesis and recovery, Jager said. “It increased strength gains from resistance training by over 200 percent and increased lean mass by 250 percent with a decrease in body fat percent by 190 percent.”
Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the currency of energy. When combined with HMB, the combo has showed synergistic results – 329 percent strength gains from resistance training v. placebo, 305 percent increase in lean body mass from resistance trianing v. placebo, and improved power 75 percent v. placebo.
Creatine increases power and strength by extending the time that muscles can exert maximal power. It quickly rose to a chart-topper when it was introduced into the market in the 1990s. It has an unquestioned safety record. Probably the latest entrant into this sub-category is beta-alanine, one of the two constituent amino acids of L-carnosine. While beta-alanine does not increase body mass, it works by reducing lactic acid buildup, thus reducing fatigue in high-intensive pursuits.
Sweat loss means sodium and electrolytes such as potassium are lost, so sports drinks such as Gatorade, which are basically salt water, remain popular. The key to really driving recovery, said Jager, is to increase leucine levels faster. To optimize muscle protein synthesis, dosages of 1.7-3.5g leucine work best. Even though total amino acids are slower absorbed from rice than from whey protein, leucine is faster absorbed from rice than from whey protein, said Jager. “Leucine is the most critical amino acid,” he said, but cautioned, “It doesn’t work alone.” Which is why he likes it within protein powders.
Whatever the sport, a lot of time the difference between winners and losers comes from not who’s most physically fit but who’s mentally tough. Caffeine is a well-researched stimulant, while L-theanine is an amino acid from green tea that makes you relaxed but not drowsy. In a word, focused.
You can’t exercise if you’re sick. One interesting immunity ingredient, probiotics, also has been shown to help absorb amino acids from proteins. From a market op perspective, there is crossover between probiotics and certain athletic pursuits. “There’s a very strong correlation among women and men--the frequency of which they work out and seek out probiotics in their diet,” said Packaged Facts’ Sprinkle. "You can also see certain sports are strongly associated with seeking out probiotics – yoga, backpacking, aerobics.”