Going 4GOLD: leveraging lipids to fuel performance

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

4GOLD launches new lipid supplement to boost athletic performance

Related tags Lipid Fatty acid Triglycerides MCT Sports nutrition

The food technology company 4GOLD, founded by a pro-athlete trio, have launched a new LiFT lipid supplement combining long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) for a fast and lasting energy release to fuel athletic performance.

The new product launch is the result of a partnership between 4GOLD ​and Bunge Nutrition, a global leader in nutritional lipids, containing the ‘NuliGo’ formulated vegetable oil, containing palm and rapeseed oils, as well as sunflower oil, with natural lime flavouring within a convenient tube capsule.

Moving away from traditional carbohydrate-based energy products, MCTs and LCTs can be used for a quick energy source. MCT can help your body to make ketones for fuelling energy, reducing reliance on carb stores (glycogen sparing effect).​ Usually these are absorbed in the liver but 4GOLD claims the LiFT formulation allows for the ingredients to bypass the liver, enabling for efficient delivery to muscle tissue and the mitochondria to produce a rapid energy source.

The company says that the incorporation of lipid-based energy into athletes’ nutritional plans may boost performance due to creating an glycogen sparing effect; a crucial factor to enable a strong finish in endurance races.

Commenting on the new launch, Brent Luyckx, co-founder and CEO of 4GOLD, told NutraIngredients: “In recent years, nutrition has played a crucial role in maximizing performance in endurance sports. One key factor is the preservation of muscle glycogen during prolonged physical activity. The more muscle glycogen an athlete can maintain towards the end of their performance, the better their overall performance will be.

“We strongly believe that LiFT has the potential to revolutionize performance because it introduces a groundbreaking opportunity to utilize lipids as a source of energy,” he added.

The science

Explaining the benefits of lipids as fuel for sporting performance, a white paper​ published by 4GOLD explains that their higher caloric density of 9kcal/g, compared to 4kcal/g for carbohydrates and proteins, enables a greater quantity of available energy per gram consumed.

It describes the slow-release energy characteristics of LCTs, highlighting that “they need a special transporter to enter the cell and the mitochondria before they can be used as fuel source through a process called β-oxidation. The need for this dual transporter is part of the rate limiting factor that makes LCTs slower as source for fuelling exercise.”

In contrast, MCTs are processed in an entirely different way, being hydrolysed into medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in the intestine to be then directly taken up by the liver. They then rapidly diffuse into mitochondria to be oxidised and used as a rapid energy source.

NutraIngredients Europe will host its newly branded Active Nutrition Summit​ in Amsterdam from October 9-11.

An evolution of the brand's prominent annual Sports & Active Nutrition Summit, this year’s event will provide delegates with insights into the increasingly holistic and mass market view of sports nutrition, from some of the leading names in the industry.

Content pillars will cover all the hottest topics in the industry today, including: cognitive health, women’s health, life-stages nutrition, and personalisation. 

Luckyx explained how this led to the company’s development of ‘MLCTs’ to be utilised in the LiFT supplement: “These are completely new molecules. MLCTs capitalize on the absorption and distribution mechanisms of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) while leveraging the fast energy delivery potential of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).”

He added: “LiFT is designed to cater to the needs of individuals who seek to optimize their performance during prolonged exercise. Whether it's pushing through long-distance runs, enduring intense cycling sessions, or excelling in demanding team sports, LiFT aims to provide the necessary support for sustained energy levels.

“By targeting this specific demographic, LiFT aims to enhance the performance and endurance of athletes across various disciplines, enabling them to reach their full potential and achieve exceptional results in their respective sports,” he emphasised.

The new product joins the brand’s existing range of sports and health supplements, including caffeine-based pre-workout mixes and gels, protein powders and bars, vitamins, minerals, and human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) mixes. The company was originally founded to meet an apparent gap in the market for gut-friendly sports nutrition supplements, as discussed in a previous interview​ with NutraIngredients.

The company also developed an at-home DNA testing tool, enabling consumers to understand individual responses to different nutrients, whilst providing insights into sporting performance, health and nutrition, diet, and supplements through an app service.

Discussing how their DNA data helped inform the new product development, Luyckx explained: “Our DNA based performance and nutrition insights helped to identify specific needs in athletes like glycogen replenishment and carbohydrate/fat metabolism issues that helped in the development of this new product.”

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