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Science & Research 11.12.2010

New Study Reinforces Betaine’s Positive Effect On Sports Performance

New research presented earlier this year at the annual conference of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that…

New research presented earlier this year at the annual conference of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that betaine supplementation has a positive impact on athletic power.

The research examined the effect of betaine, a nutrient found at high levels in spinach and whole grain, on cycling sprint performance1. It revealed that subjects given an electrolyte drink containing Danisco’s BetaPower™ Natural Betaine, performed better when cycling than those given a placebo.

“We found that one week of betaine supplementation increased sprint power in untrained males and females,” explains Stuart Craig, Ph.D., Danisco Director, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, North America and one of the study’s authors. “The results showed a statistically significant performance improvement in the subjects given BetaPower™.”

Sixteen untrained subjects were recruited at Ithaca College in New York to participate in the double blind, placebo controlled, crossover design study. Their cycling performance was measured against a benchmark performance that was recorded prior to a one-week betaine supplementation period and against an electrolyte drink placebo.

Betaine ingestion significantly increased average peak power, maximum peak power, average mean power and maximum mean power for all subjects combined compared to both placebo and baseline.

“The results of this study add to the growing body of science supporting the benefits of betaine for athletic performance and as an important nutrient,” adds Craig.

It is anticipated that the manuscript detailing this research will be published in early 2011.

Growing Body Of Betaine Science

Two other studies published earlier this year in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also investigated the role of betaine in exercise.

The first one explored the betaine content of sweat in adolescent females2. The results of this study support evidence that betaine is a cell protectant and may be lost in sweat.

The second study delved into the effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance3. Research subjects performing bench, squat and jump tests showed significantly increased power and force measures.

“As all of this research indicates, scientific substantiation continues to be an integral part of product innovation at Danisco,” says Craig. “We will continue to support research on betaine to further understand its functionality and role in improving athletic performance …and maybe one day we’ll find it’s the betaine in spinach that gave Popeye his strength!”

BetaPower™ Natural Betaine

Extracted from the molasses of sugar beets, the natural betaine in BetaPower™ is also known as trimethylglycine. BetaPower™ Natural Betaine, which is inherent in most living things, is found in particularly high levels in beets, wheat, spinach and shellfish.

On a cellular level, betaine is an organic osmolyte that supports cell metabolism. As an osmolyte, betaine plays a key role in protecting cells against dehydration and stress-related water loss, working synergistically with electrolytes for complete hydration.

It is highly compatible with enzyme function and stabilises cellular metabolic function under various kinds of stress such as those related to exercise.

BetaPower™ Natural Betaine is highly soluble and stable, so it can be used in a wide variety of product formulations developed for sports performance/enhancement, nutrition and hydration.

Naturally-derived BetaPower™ is readily bio-available, particularly when added to beverages. Other potential applications include: gels, sports bars, nutrition bars, drink mixes and snack products.

1Czapla et al.: Effect of betaine on cycling sprint power. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010 7(Suppl 1):P23.

2Craig et al.: The betaine content of sweat from adolescent females. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010 7:3.

3Lee et al.: Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010 7:27.

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