Today, synthetic actives and those of natural origin can be found side by side on the sports nutrition market. Nevertheless, consumers’ expectations expressed for naturalness are becoming increasingly stronger.
An in-depth look at three categories of botanical ingredients for your sports nutrition products.
1. Sources of natural caffeine
Caffeine is an indispensable active for sports nutrition products. Its stimulating properties and its benefits for athletic performances have been widely demonstrated since the 1970’s. A research team, for example, has shown that consuming caffeine improves endurance during prolonged efforts.1
A recent scientific literature meta-analysis once gain supports the attributes of caffeine on athletic performances.2 It could even be said that this powerful stimulant will continue to make a lot of noise among sports nutrition actives!
Several sources of natural caffeine are available based on these virtues including:
- cola nuts;
- guarana seeds;
- maté leaves;
- green tea leaves.
2. Sources of natural vitamin C
As with caffeine, vitamin C is a reference active for sports nutrition products. Its importance for the proper functioning of the body is undeniable. It is to be reminded that there are several recognised health claims for food and food supplements containing vitamin C3.
European health authorities consider that products containing less than 12 mg of vitamin C for 100 g or 100 ml can claim to contribute to:
- normal energetic metabolism;
- reducing fatigue;
- normal collagen formation needed for the proper functioning of blood vessels, bones, cartilage, skin, teeth and gums;
- proper functioning of the nervous system;
- normal mental functions;
- regeneration of vitamin E in reduced form;
- digestive absorption of iron;
- cell protection against free radicals.
You can base the formulation of your sports nutrition products with acerola. This superfruit has a natural vitamin C content 30 times greater than other renowned fruits in the field, such as oranges4.
3. Antioxidant plant
It is interesting to talk about the sports nutrition benefits of certain antioxidant plants such as ginseng, turmeric, roucou (annatto). These plants, which have been extensively studied, offer significant advantages towards the protection of the body.
We are particularly interested here in the plant’s capacity to compensate oxidative stress inherent in physical effort. The increase in oxygen consumption during physical effort amplifies the production of free radicals thus promoting oxidative stress. By fighting against the accumulation of highly reactive radicals, natural antioxidants can promote recuperating after effort, thus having a positive effect on athletic performances.5,6.
Are you looking for natural ingredients to formulate an energy product? Visit our natural ingredients e-platform or feel free to contact our experts.
- Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports. 1978 Fall;10(3):155-8.
- Salinero JJ, Lara B, Del Coso J. Effects of acute ingestion of caffeine on team sports performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Res Sports Med. Dec 2018. 5:1-19.
- EFSA. EU Register on nutrition and health claims. Oct. 2016.
- USDA. Food Composition Databases. Dec 2018.
- I. Forgo and A.M Kirchdorfer. The effect of different ginsenoside concentrations on physical work capacity. Notabene Medicine. 1982; 12:721-727.
- L. D’angelo and al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on the effect of a standardized ginseng extract on psychomotor performance in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. April–May 1986; 16(1):15-22.