Amino acid release matrix extracts maximum value from protein

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

“Ignitor is six times more expensive on a per kg basis than the main product on the market, but the recommended dose is 13 fold lower..."
“Ignitor is six times more expensive on a per kg basis than the main product on the market, but the recommended dose is 13 fold lower..."

Related tags: Amino acids, Amino acid, functional beverage, beverage

Glanbia Nutrtionals has debuted an enzyme blend targeting release of branch chain amino acids (BCAA) and glutamine from whey protein sources.

A proprietary blend of digestive enzymes, ‘Ignitor’ was launched to the US market at a trade show last week, with three target audiences in mind.

“We envision Ignitor to hit three key demographics: The sports nutrition crowd who are looking to get more BCAAs out of their protein powders; women who want to maximise the release of these key amino acids without having to take larger amounts of protein; and the elderly population who desire to maintain their current muscle mass but don’t want to take large amounts of protein or deal with poor-tasting individual amino acids,”​ Jeremy Bartos, scientific and regulatory affairs manager at Glanbia Nutritionals, told NutraIngredients.

Less protein, more amino acids

Research carried out by Glanbia’s enzymes partner, National Enzyme Company, compared 150 mg of Ignitor to 2500 mg of a rival product using 40g of whey protein concentrate under simulated gastric and intestinal conditions. Ignitor was found to release more leucine, BCAA and glutamine than the competing blend 2-fold or more.

Ignitor’s ability to provide more efficient release of amino acids allows formulators to use less protein to deliver the same amino acid value. The benefit of this is a reduction in serving size, which decreases the negative side effects of protein intake such as bloating, poor digestion and gas.

There is also a cost benefit, as even though Ignitor is more expensive than competing products, the required dosage is considerably less.

“Ignitor is six times more expensive on a per kg basis than the main product on the market, but the recommended dose is 13 fold lower (75 mg/20 g protein versus 1000 mg/20 g protein). This results in a cost per serving that is less than half that of the main competitor because you can get 13 times more servings out of each kg of Ignitor,”​ explained Bartos.

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Endo- and exopeptidases explained

Ignitor is a proprietary blend of two different types of enzymes: Endopeptidases and exopeptidases. Endopeptidases hydrolyse the protein molecule at the interior peptide bonds, liberating smaller peptides, while exopeptidases hydrolyse the protein molecule at the end of the peptide chain, liberating an individual amino acid.

Glanbia says the exopeptidases in Ignitor have been optimised to specifically cleave off the BCAAs and glutamine, while the endopeptidases cleave next to leucine, valine, isoleucine and glutamine. This creates fragments with the desired amino acids at the end, allowing the exopeptidases to cleave them off more easily, resulting in a much higher proportion of individual branch chain amino acids and glutamine being released from the protein, the company claims.

“Digestive enzymes such as Ignitor work alongside native enzymes in the body to break down protein and release amino acids. This enhances the probability that these amino acids will be released for absorption downstream,”​ Bartos said. 

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