Writing in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers from the Department of Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey and the University of Connecticut report that the L-alanyl-L-glutamine ingredient increased the time to exhaustion during a mild hydration stress.
The study used Kyowa Hakko USA’s Sustamine L-alanyl-L-glutamine branded ingredient and involved ten men with an average age of 20.8.
In an email correspondence with NutraIngredients-USA, lead researcher Jay Hoffman, PhD, from the College of New Jersey said that, while other studies have reported interesting results for the dipeptide of L-alanine and L-glutamine, this is “the first study we’ve used with Sustamine”.
Dr Hoffman described the dipeptide as “an exciting dietary supplement that at the very least should promote additional research in this area.
“A lot more research needs to be done to show physiological benefits but our results are strong enough to warrant Sustamine use by active individuals. It is one of the hottest new supplements on the market today because of the potential effect it may have across the many sports and tactical personnel fields,” he added.
Sports nutrition is big business, with the US sports nutrition and weight-loss sales in 2008 were at $20.8 billion, according to the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). Sports supplements and energy drinks represent approximately 65 percent of that category.
During exercising to exhaustion the participants experienced a significant reduction in performance when exercising in a hypohydrated state. However, when supplemented with the dipeptide, the magnitude of performance reduction was significantly less compared to the dehydrated condition, said the researchers. It was also noted that water alone did not appear to significantly off-set the performance reduction.
Two doses of the ingredient were used – 0.05 and 0.2 g/kg – and no differences between the two doses were observed. “The lower dose appeared to be quite effective,” said Dr Hoffman.
“The implications for that would be the ability to sell a supplement at a much lower cost to consumers especially if the lower dose proved to be efficacious,” he added.
Looking to the future
Commenting on the potential of the ingredient, Dr Hoffman said that the apparent delaying of fatigue shows it may provide “a sort of protective effect for a soldier or athlete.
“For an example of where this can go, Gatorade has made billions of dollars with their product and it helps athletes to rehydrate when the reality is it is not any better than water. Unless exercise is maintained for over 4 hours, then with the loss of electrolytes, Gatorade becomes an ergogenic aid,” said Dr Hoffman. “What we saw with Sustamine is that within 30 minutes we were able to show significant differences that timed exhaustion was enhanced compared to water alone.”
“It is exciting that Sustamine may be better but we need more research to confirm this study’s findings,” he added.
According to Karen Todd, Kyowa Hakko USA’s director of marketing, the ingredient has GRAS notification status in the US and is sold as a dietary supplement for supplements, as well as foods and beverages.
The ingredient is available in powder form and is water-soluble into a clear solution. It is also odorless and tasteless, according to the company.
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
2010, 7:8 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-8
“Examination of the efficacy of acute L-alanyl-L-glutamine ingestion during hydration stress in endurance exercise”
Authors: J.R. Hoffman, N.A. Ratamess, J. Kang, S.L. Rashti, et al.