Twenty athletes, aged between 18 and 34 took part in the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over clinical study. The study supports the potential of this ingredient for use in the rapidly-growing sports nutrition sector, estimated to reach $6 billion in 2008 and $22.8 billion by 2013 in the US, according to the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). The results will be presented in a few weeks' time at Supply Side West, and are scheduled for publication in a peer-reviewed article early next year. NutraIngredients.com has not seen the full data. The study, a collaboration between researchers from Avantage Nutrition and the French Agronomic Research Institute (INRA), indicates the grape extract could reduce the risk of muscular damage, improve the explosive sports performance during effort, improves recovery capacity after effort, and improves the antioxidant status in athletes. Berkem has specialised in polyphenols since 1964. It has attracted interest in the past as its coffee-derived Svetol ingredient for weight loss has received industry accolades. The new study adds to the science behind the Powergrape ingredient, an ingredient suitable for functional foods or beverages, and dietary supplements. The volunteers, average BMI 23.9 kg per sq. m, received daily doses of 400 milligrams of the grape extract, or placebo, for two months. At the end of the study, the researchers noted an increase in physical performance of 21.1 per cent as a result of taking the Powergrape supplements, compared to placebo. An increase of 7.8 per cent in the athletes' recovery capacity was also associated with Powergrape supplementation, compared to placebo. A spokesperson for Berkem told NutraIngredients.com that supplementation with the polyphenol-rich grape extract also led to increases in the blood antioxidant levels, as measured using the ORAC value. "We observed a diminution of the plasmatic ORAC value in the placebo group of -0.6 per cent and an increase of the plasmatic ORAC value of +9.3 per cent in the supplemented group, meaning an increase of this plasmatic ORAC value of +10% Powergrape group versus placebo group," she said. The study also reported changes in the urinary isoprostans, said to be one of the best of the best biomarkers to quantify antioxidant status of athletes. "We observed an increase of +56.7 per cent of the urinary isoprostans in the placebo group (meaning an important oxidative stress) and a slight increase of 7.8 per cent of this biomarker in the supplemented group, meaning a decrease of - 48.9 per cent of oxidative stress in the Powergrape group versus the placebo group," said the spokesperson. While sport nutrition is a clear target for Powergrape, it is also suitable for use in anti-ageing and antioxidant formulations, in functional foods or beverages as in dietary supplements. Leatherhead International valued the total global market value for performance foods and drinks at US$19.37 billion last year, representing 50 percent growth in the past five years.