Big Opportunities with Innovation
The sports nutrition market is expected to grow to $33 billion by 2028. While competition in the category is strong, innovation with new ingredients and new products offers companies many opportunities to reach the new expanded active consumer market. Today’s athletes have many options to choose from; utilizing new and novel ingredients, especially those of natural origin, will help your product rise to the top of the leaderboard as this category continues to gain momentum.
New & Trending Ingredients for Sports Nutrition
The mental component of any sport is crucial, and athletes are looking for ways to stay focused while they practice or compete. Nootropics are extremely popular today because of their effectiveness in categories such as focus, sleep, anxiety, vitality and more. A new high potency ashwagandha extract has been clinically shown to support many of these categories. Study results show a 42% increase in restorative sleep. Increased sleep can have a significant impact on athletic performance; for example, a study on professional baseball players showed an improvement in response time and daytime functioning from a 30-minute increase in sleep time. Another study on high-potency Ashwagandha showed a 24.7% increase in testosterone in men with improvements in fatigue, vigor, wellbeing also reported. Many athletes struggle with anxiety; a study on Ashwagandha showed a 21% decrease in DASS-21 Scores (Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale) and a 17.6% Reduction in HAM-A scores (Hamilton Anxiety Rating).
Caffeine has always been in the sports nutrition world. Caffeine works in the central nervous system to reduce fatigue and drowsiness. It has been shown to benefit endurance and high-intensity exercise, improve muscle strength, and enhance energy. Almost all the caffeine in sports nutrition is synthetic. Now with the trend towards more natural options, consumers are looking for alternative sources of caffeine – like naturally extracted caffeine from green tea or green coffee beans. In a recent consumer survey of 198 respondents, most believe caffeine from tea to be the healthier option when compared to caffeine from chocolate and chemically synthesized sources.
As consumers seek out more natural products to help them meet their goals, new ingredients such as moringa seed extract are being introduced to the market. Known as a superfood, the moringa plant has been used both as a traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine and as a source of nutrition. Glucomoringin, the active ingredient in moringa seed extract, is converted into moringin in the body. Moringin has been shown to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties and is a potent antagonist of TRPA1, an ion channel that is a known sensor of pain. Moringa Seed Extract has been studied for both fatigue and lower back discomfort. Significant decreases in fatigue were seen after four weeks and significant changes in lower back discomfort were seen after just two weeks.
Protein has long been a mainstay in the sports nutrition category; however, new and novel plant-based sources of protein such as Chia are now gaining a lot of attention. Chia is well known as a nutrient-dense superfood. With minimal processing, chia can become a complete plant-based protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids plus high levels of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia based protein is not only an excellent source of plant-based protein but it also helps to support gut health, immunity, cardiovascular health and more.
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