“It’s growing tremendously,” Karen Todd, RD, director of marketing for Kyowa Hakko USA told NutraIngredinets-USA. The ingredient has the double advantage of offering a stable way to deliver glutamine, a notoriously unstable amino acid, and playing in the sports nutrition sphere, one of the highest growth categories in dietary supplements business, Todd said.
Active transport system
The health benefits of glutamine itself have long been known. It is the most abundant free amino acid in the body and plays a role in muscle synthesis and energy product via its function in carbon and nitrogen mobility. Putting it in a capsule or in a drink mix hasn’t been an issue. But finding a shelf stable way to deliver it has been, Todd said.
Kyowa Hakko’s fermentation technology delivers glutamine via a dipeptide, Todd said. This has several benefits; first, it solves the stability issue, enabling it to be used in gels, ready to drink beverages and even bars.
But even more importantly, the dipeptide form offers some distinct, demonstrated benefits in hydration via a not yet fully understood mode of action, she said. Maintaining hydration and electrolyte levels during heaving exercise is one of the main challenges for endurance atheletes, Todd said. Cramping is a common risk during endurance events, and Sustamine seems to offer a better solution than just trying to drink more Gatorade.
“We think that it is because of the osmolality of the dipeptide. It pulls the elctrolyte with the water molecule attached across. It’s an active transport system,” she said.
Energy gel launch
The new product launch puts Sustamine into a gel aimed at endurance athletes. Mud Energy Gel has launched with a tweaked formulation featuring Sustamine and a suite of improved ingredient choices, said Jeff Bonisa, founder and CEO of Dirt+H2O, Inc. After a soft launch several months ago, Bonisa changed the formula, seeking a way to get rid of artificial preseratives and to include a sea mineral formulation as more natural way to provide electrolytes. The product includes organic brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice for carbohydrates and 12 grams of proteins in a mix formulated for rapid and sustained delivery, Bonisa said.
In addition, Bonisa, who is trained as a chef, reacted to some ingredient sourcing concerns by moving to a new chocolate supplier for the “Chocolate Truffle Rage” flavor.
“The new chocolate is very sustainable and all natural product. Before we were working with Ghirardelli and couldn’t they tell us if everything in the ingredient was sustainable and they wouldn’t disclose the full ingredient list. So I let them go as a supplier,” he said.
Mud Energy is featured in GNC stores and on the company’s website. In addition to the gel, Todd said Sustamine is offered in encapsulated supplements, drink mixes and ready to drink beverages.