Sports nutrition research highlights unique benefits of Optipep®

New research has highlighted the increased insulinotrophic effects of Carbery’s hydrolysed whey protein, Optipep®, compared to native whey protein. The research, carried out at the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science at the University of Limerick highlights the value of an increased insulin response in aiding recovery and reducing muscle injury post exercise.
The market for sports products continues to increase, boosted by growing interest from recreational sportspeople and active consumers. The added performance offered by Optipep will be of interest to manufacturers looking to tap into opportunities in the lucrative sports nutrition market such as cereal and protein bars, beverages (RTD and IRTD) and recovery powders.


In trials using young healthy adults (mean age of 22.4 years and average BMI of 20.3), Optipep® produced 28 per cent higher peak insulin levels than native whey protein as well as a 43 per cent increase in circulating insulin levels in the three hours after ingestion. In parallel, circulating amino acid levels were also significantly elevated over this period. By enhancing the body’s insulin release, Optipep will assist rapid glycogen synthesis and, alongside adequate carbohydrate intake, increase the rate of muscle refuelling after exercise.


Aine Hallihan, head of R&D, Carbery Food Ingredients comments: “The combined effects of increased insulin response and elevated circulating amino acid levels demonstrated by Optipep in the critical post exercise recovery period point to the ingredient’s effectiveness for refuelling muscles and preventing muscle injury. In addition, the high biological value of the ingredient and the antioxidant effects of its amino acids offer further benefits for professional and amateur sportspeople. In effect, the enhanced insulinotrophic response of Optipep relative to other proteins means that less protein is required to provide the same rise in insulin.”


Paul Donegan, Carbery Food Ingredients’ marketing manager adds: “The opportunities available to manufacturers and marketing companies in sports nutrition are becoming more abundant as the market evolves. Traditionally marketed to hardcore bodybuilders, protein-fortified products are becoming more main stream and must now deliver on nutrition, convenience and taste. The new research proves Optipep®’s nutritional suitability for sports nutrition. Carbery’s R&D and applications expertise has also ensured the ingredient’s ability to improve shelf life of fortified products, making it a smart choice.”

Earlier generations of whey proteins presented food manufacturers with a range of technical and processing challenges. Optipep dissolves quickly with excellent heat stability and overcomes issues of native whey by improving shelf life and moisture retention while reducing hardening, bitterness and costs.

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