Key takeaways from Sports & Active Nutrition Summit

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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NutraIngredients-USA photo

Related tags Sports & Active Nutrition Summit USA Sports nutrition Probiotics Nutrition Protein

The Sports & Active Nutrition Summit returned as an in person event in San Diego earlier this month, breaking attendance and engagement records along the way. Here are some of the key takeaways from the NutraIngredients-USA staff.

CBD is still a hot ticket

The event kicked off with a series of shorter presentations on the science and marketing of CBD, followed by a panel discussion.   The news earlier this month that the NFL has awarded $1 million in research funding on cannabinoids for pain management and in neuroprotection in cases of concussion helped invigorate the discussion.  The panelists agreed that problems abound in the sector.  Oversupply of raw material is a big factor and overcapacity in extraction capabilities is another.  Sorting these out will mean there are further shocks  in store for the market, but the underlying demand for the ingredients means that brighter days are ahead.

Community is key

SANS 2022 drinks

The word ‘community’ came up again and again in a CEO session featured Doug Katona of American Barbell, Dan Lourenco of Ghost and Denis Neville of CoreFX.  The aim of the session was to see how these leaders were able to steer their companies through the worst the pandemic had to offer.  The key that all of them mentioned was having fostered community with their staff, their customers and with the end users of their products.  Unlike a ‘circle the wagons’ mentality which is mostly defensive, the pandemic proved to be an opportunity for these companies to proactively build stronger connections throughout these networks.  That which does not kill you makes you stronger indeed.

Creatine is still king

Creatine expert Richard Kreider, PhD, of Texas A&M University laid out the latest research on this legacy ingredient.  Dr Kreider was there when research on the monohydrate form of the ingredient, which was pioneered in Germany, first started to get going.  The ingredient was once thought of as benefiting younger male consumers involved in power sports like bodybuilding or power lifting with few additional benefits, and indeed came to be viewed with suspicion by some sports bodies.  Kreider said the molecule has been shown to be involved in so many cellular processes that it should be thought of as a general health and wellness ingredient in addition to its demonstrated musculature effects.

Innovation is still thriving

Research expert Ralf Jäger, PhD, principal in the scientific consulting firm Increnovo, laid out a road map for innovation in the sports nutrition realm. It’s a multifaceted process that involves first identifying needs in the market and then setting up a research plan that can build an ingredient with positive benefits and enough exclusivity to be commercially viable. Jäger gave a detailed look at this process in two case studies for two ingredients for which he had personally directed the development process.

Nutrition considerations for college athletes 

rob and danielle

Rob Masterson, RD, Michigan State University’s Director of Performance Nutrition, detailed a day in the life of a college athlete. Masterson noted that the biggest single challenge is time. Between training, class, studying, travel, and actual games, athletes have very little time to commit to much else, including a quality diet. Masterson explained how education is key in teaching student athletes the importance of proper nutrition for performance and recovery, and ways athletes work nutrition into their busy lifestyle. “Yes, we do team talks and education but the real learning happens when an athlete takes the time to sit down with us one-on-one,” said Masterson, who uses an image-based app that allows him to remotely monitor the diets of athletes and provide feedback.


Females in focus 

With so much focus on active females during their reproductive years, one population that is often overlooked is the growing population of masters level menopausal and post-menopausal females who participate in both competitive and non-competitive recreational sports. Susan Kleiner, PhD Owner, High Performance Nutrition and Dawna Salter Venzon, PhD, RDN Principal Nutrition Scientist, Amway Innovation and Science, spoke about how brands can craft stories for this particular demographic by listening to what their goals are and using evidence-based marketing claims. 

 Getting personal 

Ali Mostashari, PhD, delved into how an individual's dietary and supplement intake can influence their physical performance and what tools can be used to measure it. The Lifenome CEO highlighted artificial intelligence, which can be used to develop personalized nutritional need assessments. Mostashari explained how AI gathers data from an individual and uses that data to analyze which ingredients have the highest effectiveness and lowest risk. By analyzing an individuals’ genetic details, companies can make accurate predictions and dietary recommendations, opening the doors to highly personalized nutrition products and services.

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