Probiotic and protein push for Dutch athletes

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bacteria, Olympic games, Metabolism, Dsm

DSM hopes two ingredients can be used by Dutch athletes to beat
high temperatures and humidity as they train for next year's
Olympics in Beijing.

The company said the probiotic and protein powder will be available to the country's team and have been developed in partnership with the Dutch Olympic Committee/Dutch Sports Federation (NOC/NSF). They are the first in a series of innovations being drawn up by this collaboration as part of the Olympic Innovation Program. One of the products is a special grade Lafti probiotics, which combines lactic acid bacterial strains to help athletes boost their natural resistance and maintain a well-balanced intestinal environment. DSM said: "Top athletes are often prone to develop intestinal complaints and a weakened immune system, particularly in extreme weather conditions such as in China. These physical complaints can have an adverse effect on their performance."​ A program is already underway to test the probiotic on athletes who are suffering or have suffered from complaints relating to their intestinal tract or their immune system. The second product is PeptoPro powder made from acasein hydrolysate, which helps increase endurance and aide a quick recovery after intense training. PeptoPro, which promotes the transport of sugars into muscle tissue and stimulates the synthesis of muscle protein after heavy exercise, first saw the light of day in the 2004 Athens Olympics as a drink. Since then DSM has been working on improving the product. These efforts have resulted in the present powder form. Stability has also been improved along with taste. The powder now allows athletes to supplement their own drinks. DSM said the powder forms helps solve the problem of keeping the product cool, which in the past has been an issue. Both ingredients have been launched in products in the US, with Lafti making its way into a line of chocolate bars and PeptoPro in sports drinks. NOC/NSF sports physiologist Tjeerd de Vries said it was essential for athletes to use the right kind of sports nutrition drink in the harsh Chinese environment, adding: "Dehydration can cause an athlete to fail, destroying in one day what has been built up through years of training​." The sports nutrition market has seen phenomenal growth in the last five years in some countries. Analysts Mintel valued the UK market at £207 m (€301.9 m) - growth of 122.6 per cent since 2001. The market is currently dominated by drinks.

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