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Ingredients for sports nutrition: a look at the different sources of protein as well as other key ingredients in the market for sports nutrition.

According to Nutrition Business Journal, the sports nutrition and weight loss market surged to $9.9 billion in 2001, a 15% jump over the previous year's sales of $8.6 billion. Protein supplements are a key player in the sports nutrition category. popularity of protein supplements is due in part to the fact that protein is one of the most important nutrients in the body In fact, proteins are second only to water in body composition and are literally the building blocks of the whole system human system.

The correlation between protein supplements and sports nutrition is simple. The body needs to break protein down into its building blocks, amino acids, in order to build muscles. If you do not have enough protein, you cannot build muscle. Also, every time you engage in an athletic activity you are tearing down muscles and then rebuilding them, and protein is essential to the repair and recovery of muscles.

There are numerous sources of protein including soy, which is the most popular form of vegetable protein, and whey and casein, which are both derived from milk. Loren Ward, manager of whey research, Glanbia Foods, Monroe, WI, discussed the latter, "Milk contains 3.5% protein (the rest is mostly water). About 80% of the proteins in milk are casein and the remaining 20% are whey," he said. "During cheese making, casein proteins are retained in the curd and proteins found in the aqueous phase are called whey proteins."

Whey Protein

Whey is the most common ingredient found in protein supplements for sports nutrition and it has traditionally been the leader of the protein pack. According to Kimbedee Burrington, whey applications coordinator, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, Madison, WI, "There are a lot of reasons why whey proteins are the most popular form of protein supplements used in sports nutrition. One is that whey protein was the first to enter into the supplement market. If you look at a lot of the body building drinks 10 or 15 years ago most of them were whey protein based."

Fiona Taylor, marketing and sales, DMV International, Delhi, NY, said another reason for whey protein's popularity in the sports nutrition market is that whey protein is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids required by the body each day. "Proteins are vital components of human cells. The proteins are continually being built up and broken down to their building blocks, the amino acids," she said, adding, "In the adult human body, 350 grams of protein are turned over daily. During strenuous exercise the body requires more protein to support its muscles and prevent muscle break down. Whey proteins are one of the best known sources of branched-chain amino acids. These are important to athletes as they are metabolized directly into muscle tissue. Various forms of exercise increase the body's need for branch-chained amino acids and whey proteins can help meet that need."

Glanbia's Mr. Ward added, "Over the years, as research studies increased on whey properties and components, the nutritional properties of whey proteins were initially highlighted because of an excellent amino acid profile. Further research showed excellent functional and sensory attributes as well," he said. "Because of the bland flavor and functional properties such as emulsification, foaming, gelation and water-binding, whey proteins were used as a nutritional and functional ingredient."

Beyond the importance of whey's ability to mix with ingredients to form tasty products, Howard Simon, president, American Ingredients, Anaheim, CA, said the appetite for whey protein in general in sports nutrition has been sharpened by the adverse publicity of other ingredients including ephedra and andro. In contrast, he said whey protein is indisputable in terms of its quality and its efficacy.

Proteins are also becoming more attractive to the masses, according to Mr. Ward. "Whey protein has moved from being used specifically for the sports nutrition market into more mainstream markets including the functional beverages market and children's beverages. It's no longer just body-builders who are buying whey protein, it's much more wid-spread."

Some health benefits associated with whey beyond sports nutrition are immune modulation, glutathione enhancement, intestinal health, anti-bacterial properties against pathogenic bacteria, release of bioactive peptides, apoptosis (cell death) of certain types of cancer cells, appetite suppression/weight loss and anti-hypertensive peptides.

The two main types of whey proteins available are whey protein concentrates (WPCs) and whey protein isolates (WPIs), which are manufactured by either microfiltration or ion-exchange filtration.

DMV's Ms. Taylor discussed the difference between the two. "The main difference between WPIs and concentrates is in the amount of protein. WPCs are typically produced at 35%, 60% and 80-85% protein and WPIs are more refined or purified at 90+% protein."

According to American Ingredients' Mr. Simon, the fat content and lactose or carbohydrate content in proteins are big factors. "WPCs have more room for fat and carbohydrates, but a certain segment of the industry wants to minimize these components in products," he said. "Putting WPI in a meal replacement drink gives the formulator a little more latitude in choosing what other fatty substance they want to put into the product as opposed to the fat that's inherent in the product itself."

Given the two forms, Mr. Simon said, the isolates are the more desirable form in the marketplace. However, he said, "The cost difference between the isolates and other forms of dairy proteins are significant. As a result, people either look the other way or choose to blend WPI with other protein sources."

Casein

Casein is another protein ingredient that is used commonly in protein supplements. As previously mentioned, casein, like whey, is isolated from cow's milk and ingested as a powder that is put into delivery systems such as bars and drinks. Casein is considered a complete, high quality protein that contains a full complement of the essential and nonessential amino acids, although it has been overshadowed by whey in the past despite its impressive profile.

According to Dr. William Cabot, Fellow American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery (FAAOS) and consultant to American Casein Company, Burlington, NJ, there are two types of casein manufactured today, acid casein and rennet casein. "To manufacture acid casein, milk from which the fat has been removed is precipitated with an acid. The whey is left behind and can subsequently be utilized for the manufacture of whey protein," he said. "Acid casein is the main product used for the sports nutrition market because athletes who are interested in strength training uniformly believe that milk protein is the best source of complete protein to enhance maximum muscle growth. This is the predominant reason casein has come into play as a nutraceutical with regard to the athletic market."

Casein can also be found in its more soluble form called caseinate, which, according to Dr. Cabot, is produced by the reaction of casein with an alkaline substance. The various caseinates include sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, potassium casseinate and ammonium caseinate. Dr. Cabot explained that caseinates are utilized for their functional abiities. "They are used in meal replacers or liquid applications. They have excellent functional properties such as emulsification and thickening, which the food and sports nutrition industry finds very valuable' he said.

Dr. Cabot also discussed un-denatured casein, also know as micellar casein. "In the manufacturing of casein the application of heat produces a certain degree of denaturation. As opposed to acid casein, rennet casein, or caseinates, a microfiltration process produces it and casein is produced in its purest un-denatured form," he said. "This form of casein is in exceptionally high demand by weight trainers and serious athletes."

Dr. Cabot feels that both casein and whey are vital. "It is quite obvious that the combination of whey protein and casein is very desirable from a bodybuilding standpoint," he said, adding, "It presents the best of both worlds to the amateur or serious bodybuilder as well as the endurance athlete. One gets the high initial burst of amino acid release of whey protein combined with the sustained release of casein."

Soy Protein

In the past few years soy protein has risen in popularity and awareness among consumers. Soy's popularity can be attributed to two things, the FDA claim and improved taste. In terms of the former, the FDA health claim for soy protein issued in 1999 has had a significant impact on the use of soy proteins in food applications. According to Russ Egbert, director of proteins application research, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Decatur, IL, "The soy protein health claim allows food manufacturers to make a health claim related to the heart health benefits of soy protein on food packaging. For food products to meet the soy protein health claim, a serving of the food must contain a minimum of 6.25 grams of soy protein."

Laurent Leduc, international marketing manager, Acatris, formerly Schouten USA, Minneapolis, MN, also liscussed the claim and the taste issue. "That claim has done some very good things for soy. However, it is very difficult to put that much soy protein in a product and still have a product that tastes good. What we found in the marketplace is that several food companies tried to take a shortcut by using the health claim and putting 6.25 grams of protein in their products but the consumer would only buy it once."

The second reason for soy's recent popularity can be attributed to the flavor improvement of soy-containing products. "I think soy manufacturers have made tremendous progress in making the taste of soy-the beany flavor-disappear," said Mr. Leduc. "Most food products that are using soy protein or soy in general taste fairly good now. Flavor companies have done a very good job finding masking agents to cover up the unfavorable taste."

According to Mr. Egbert, soybeans typically contain 38% protein. After soy proteins are extracted from the bean they are generally classified into three groups, soy flour, soy protein concentrates and isolated soy proteins with minimum protein contents of 50%, 65% and 90% respectively. "Isolated soy proteins are the most common soy protein source used in the nutritional market," said Mr. Egbert. "These proteins are primarily delivered to the consumer in liquid and powdered beverages as well as nutritional bars."

Traditionally vegetable proteins have been considered inferior to animal proteins. However, Mr. Egbert noted, "Soy protein products are high quality sources of protein with regard to their amino acid profile. Vegetable proteins in general do not compare favorably with animal proteins but soy proteins are unique because of their higher lysine content." He also stated that in spite of a slight deficiency in the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine, the quality of soy proteins compare favorably to beef, egg white and casein when evaluated using the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), the currently accepted and most recent method for determining protein quality.

Mr. Egbert said soy proteins tend to be a more economical choice over whey proteins and other milk proteins, which could mean soy will play a bigger role in the future of the sports nutrition market.

According to Jocelyn Mathern, R.D., sales and marketing assistant at Acatris, soy is relatively new to the sports nutrition market. "Soy protein is limiting in certain amino acids and that could be why it is not as popular," she said. "However, soy along with the animal proteins are all considered complete."

It is up for grabs to try and determine which protein is better than the next one. All have beneficial qualities. In the end, DMV's Ms. Taylor offered, "The key is obtaining nutrition from various sources. It is not as simple as using one primary source of protein. The sports industry recognizes the benefits of supplementation with a variety of protein sources and therefore it makes sense to make proprietary blends of proteins."

RELATED ARTICLE: Joint Health Ingredients Primer

Many men approach middle-age fitness with the enthusiasm of a college freshman, joining in pick-up basketball games, softball at the park and other high joint-impact activities. But a youthful approach to exercise combined with 40 year-old cartilage has many seeking relief in the form of joint health supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

"When it comes to choosing the right dietary supplement for joint health, there are many options on store shelves and it can be confusing if you don't know how these products work," said Steven Yannicelli, Ph.D., R.D., director of continuing education at Pharmavite Corporation, makers of Nature Made dietary supplements, North-ridge, CA. "Each supplement has its specific benefits, so it's important for consumers to have an understanding of how each one works." Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are sold individually, in paired combinations, or with all three ingredients, such as in Nature. Made [R] Triple Elex [TM] formula. The following is a guide to how these ingredients work in the body.

* Glucosamine keeps cartilage connected: As a type of connective tissue that separates bone from bone, cartilage is subject to a lot of wear and tear. Glucosamine, an amino sugar, is produced naturally in the body and found mainly in cartilage. Supplementing the diet with glucosamine many help stimulate the formation of cartilage, promoting joint comfort and flexibility.

* Chondroitin helps minimize joint friction: As we age, we start to lose fluid in our joints, causing the space between them to diminish. Just as a car needs oil to function properly, our joints need joint fluid to stay mobile and pain-free. Chondroitin is a natural substance found in the body that may help deter cartilage-dissolving enzymes that can damage joints. Chondroitin may help case joint pain and improve joint mobility.

* MSM to maintain limber ligaments: Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect your bones and cartilage and help support as well as strengthen joints. Critical to maintaining the elasticity and flexibility of the ligaments is the sulfur found in MSM, a naturally occurring compound in all living organisms, MSM may play a role in supporting overall joint health.

Creatine, Reviving An Old Standby

On the creatine front, Degussa BioActives, Champaign, IL, is highlighting its Creapure [TM] Citrate and Creapure [TM] Purovate. According to the company, its Creapure Citrate is the ideal solution regarding taste and solubility and its Creapure Purovate (protected by compostion, manufacturing and application patents) is an ideal combination of creatine and pyruvic acid in a 60:40 ratio, which brings together the power of creatine and the endurance of pyruvate. Both Products are guaranteed to be free of TSE transmissible agents (BSE-madcow disease) due to the fact that no raw materials from animal sources are used during the manufacturing process. Recently, the company strengthened its intellectual property by exclusively licensing the pending use patent on rehabilitation (WO 00/30634). Commenting on the attributes of the ingredients was Craig Fish, sports nutrition manager for the company. "Compared to creatine monohydrate, Creapure Citrate is 56% more soluble and Creapure Purovate is 188% more soluble and pr ovides a 30% increase in performance," he said.

Discussing recent trends in the creatine market, Mr. Fish said liquid creatine is the latest craze. "First creatine was available as a straight powder. Then companies started to combine creatine with other ingredients such as glutamine to differentiate themselves from each other and give creatine added value. Now liquid creatine seems to be a trend that has penetrated the sports nutrition market," he said, adding. "The problem with liquid creatine is that a stable from of liquid creatine does not exist."

To address this issue, Degussa has developed a new delivery system for creatine to offset instability of liquid creatines. This involves putting a widget, which contains creatine, into a lightly carbonated beverage that upon opening will be released into the product. "The development of this widget is something that has taken three years to perfect in terms of the technology. To that end, we are always striving to give our clients the best products and did not want to come forth until it was just right," said Mr. Fish. "This new technology, along with Creapure Citrate and Creapure Purovate are advancements that will positively contribute to the sports nutrition market going forward." --R.M.
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Title Annotation:includes related article on joint health
Author:Wright, Tim
Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Words:2682
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