A new drink developed by Dutch life sciences company DSM helps athletes achieve better performance levels than a normal, sugar-based sports drink, claims the company.
The formulation, which includes DSM Food Specialties' proteins, is being developed as part of the company's sponsorship of the Dutch Olympic committee NOC*NSF. DSM is aiming to have a finished product ready for use by Dutch athletes in Athens.
A study carried out by NUTRIM, the Food and Toxicology Research Institute of the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, tested the drink's ability to speed up the replenishment of fuel reserves in muscles following high-intensity exercise. This enables athletes to reach their optimum performance level faster and to perform at this level for longer.
"Our studies have shown that DSM's recovery drink gives significantly higher total insulin production and a faster decrease of glucose levels in the blood. We also found a 5 per cent better average performance level in athletes who had drunk the DSM recovery drink compared with those who had taken an ordinary, sugar-based sports drink," said Dr Hans Keizer of NUTRIM.
Casein (a natural protein found in cow's milk) has been added to a normal sugar-containing drink to make the new sports beverage. Casein contains components which have been shown in previous studies to reduce recovery time. The protein fragments stimulate insulin release in the body, allowing glucose to be absorbed faster from the blood into the muscle cells. Once absorbed by the muscles, glucose is converted into glycogen, which acts as a muscle fuel. The faster this process takes place following high-intensity exercise, the faster athletes can perform again at their optimum level, according to DSM Food Specialties.
The company added that by cutting the protein into fragments, it is absorbed directly into the body without need for digestion. DSM has also developed an enzyme that can 'almost completely neutralise' the bitter taste of the casein fragments, improving the taste profile of the drink, claims the company.
DSM is currently working on the definitive formula for the recovery drink and carrying out the final research to test its efficacy. The drink could eventually be available on the global market, through partnership with a soft drink manufacturer, the firm suggests.