From grassroots sport and everyday exercise to topflight sport and athletics, the sports health category continues to expand and drive new product innovation.
The market is seeing tremendous opportunity for growth areas of sports health supplements and functional foods, but there is exciting potential in formulating sports nutrition products around supporting the gut microbiome and better gut health.
With the global wellness industry seeing sustained market growth, prebiotics and sports health can prove a winning combination for health and nutrition brands.
Sports and the gut microbiome
In sport and fitness, every session counts. Taking elite athletes as an example, it has been found that respiratory and gastrointestinal based health issues were second to injury when it comes to athletes seeking medical attention. The issues that follow from this can then potentially be a cause for missed training sessions, delayed exercise and even disrupted competition schedules.
In addition, studies by UK Sport show that around a third of athletes will experience health issues during the course of a traditional athletic season, resulting in 7 lost training days per instance.
Why is gut health important for sports?
Immune health, the body’s natural line of defence from illness, is key in supporting fitness and physical activity. With around 70% of the body’s immune cells residing in the gastrointestinal tract, gut health is an important area of focus when developing future sports nutrition products.
From a nutritional standpoint, typical sports nutrition products tend to be high in protein, but low in fibre. With nutrient diversity so important to the body, this further points towards a significant role for prebiotic fibre in enhancing the nutritional profile of high protein sports health products. A high protein diet without adequate prebiotic fibre is also associated with unfavourable gastrointestinal health issues (Maukonen, 2014).
The gut microbiome, comprising trillions of gut microbes in an ever-shifting composition, is also understood to influence many non-digestive areas of health. These include the production, storage and expenditure of energy obtained through diet, as well as the body’s ability to modulate hydration.
How can Bimuno® GOS support sports health?
By supporting the body’s immune function, prebiotics such as multi award-winning galactooligosaccharides ingredient, Bimuno GOS, have a key role to play within the sports nutrition product category. This is through the effect of nourishing beneficial bacteria that support immunity and reduce the disruptive impact of health issues for individuals.
Upper Respiratory Tract (URT) and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, for example, can significantly impact training availability and competitive performance. The portfolio of research behind the Bimuno GOS functional ingredient indicates that it can be useful in addressing these issues, improving the individual’s availability to train and compete.
Plus, as a non-digestible prebiotic fibre, Bimuno GOS is extremely stable and versatile. This gives health and nutrition brands a wide array of options when creating new products, such as combining prebiotics and protein.
Please note – the information on this page is for B2B purposes only.