Nestlé files patent for tingle-free amino acid energy bars

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé finds way to add beta-alanine to energy bars without negative side-effects such as tingling, flushing and pins and needles
Nestlé finds way to add beta-alanine to energy bars without negative side-effects such as tingling, flushing and pins and needles

Related tags Amino acid Nutrition Snack

Nestlé has developed a method to incorporate amino acids into solid food products for athletes, which avoids commonly associated paresthesia side-effects, according to a new patent filed by the firm.

The Swiss food and nutrition firm filed the patent​ for a method that uses less reducing sugars to prevent the negative side effects and to keep the amino acid active.

Prevents flushing and tingling

Some nutrition bars for athletes use functional amino acids, which metabolise in the body to aid in buffering muscle acid and in delaying muscle burn and fatigue, helping athletes train for longer. But adding these amino acids to food products can cause mild paraesthesia side-effects such as, tingling, flushing, pins and needles and redness in the nose.

Amino acids like beta–alanine can also react with reducing sugars such as glucose or lactose leading to browning and loss of the active compound, the Nestlé patent noted.

Focus on beta –alanine

Nestlé’s R&D arm Nestec filed the patent for a new formula it claims guards against such effects.

The company has honed in on incorporating the amino acid beta –alanine, a popular sports supplement, into an energy bar.

Beta –alanine has been linked to improved physical performance, but several 13 (1) health claims for the ingredient have been rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) .

“The present disclosure demonstrates technical solutions to stabilize beta-alanine in a solid bar matrix and avoid degradation and browning from Maillard-type reactions during process/storage,”​ said Nestlé in its patent application.

The method

Nestlé developed the solution by adding a binder with the reactive amino acid along with a source of beta glucan, such as crisps, oats or bran. The binder consists of either maltitol syrup, sucrose syrup or a blend, making the product practically free from reducing sugars, and the associated negative side effects.

The company said the method could keep the amino acid stable for 12 months.

Each 30-90g bar includes between 1g and 3.5g of reactive amino acid per serving.

The patent was filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty that allows a uniform patent to be considered by signatory national or regional authorities. Signatories will now decide whether or not to grant the patent.

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