enduracarb®: A science-backed trehalose ingredient for athletic endurance

24 Nov 2022

enduracarb® is a science-backed, slow-acting carbohydrate that can power athletes’ performance. Produced using a high-purity production process, it is suitable for a wide variety of applications.

Fitness trends hitting new heights

Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers have become even more interested in improving their fitness levels, with endurance exercise proving particularly popular. This trend is reflected in global Google searches for "exercise endurance", which reached all-time highs at the end of 2020,1 and a New Hope Network study, which found that 45% of consumers cycled, ran, walked, or hiked.2

enduracarb®: A science-backed trehalose ingredient for athletic endurance
Image source: PRINOVA EUROPE LIMITED

This growing dedication to fitness is helping to fuel the demand for science-backed sports nutrition products. Data from Euromonitor suggests that the global sports nutrition market will reach US$23 billion by 2023.3 In particular, the share of sports hydration products and energy drinks continues to grow.

With demand for science-based sports nutrition products reaching even higher levels since 2020, trehalose is now attracting widespread interest as a highly effective fuel for endurance exercise. Global sports nutrition product launches featuring trehalose more than doubled from 2018 to 2020.1

Powering the difference

Trehalose is a carbohydrate commonly found in the natural world, helping to preserve plant and animal life. Insects, for example, use trehalose as the main body sugar, providing energy for flight. It is also naturally found in foods including mushrooms, yeast, and honey.

Trehalose is a disaccharide formed from two molecules of glucose joined by what is called an α,α-1,1 glycosidic bond. Bonded glucose molecules are indigestible without the enzyme trehalase, which is present in the human intestine with limited activity. Because trehalose is digested more slowly than other sugars,4 it does not stimulate rapid increase in blood sugar and excessive insulin secretion.

Trehalose therefore offers significant advantages over the rapidly digested carbohydrate sources commonly used in sports nutrition products, such as glucose, maltose or isomaltulose, a popular disaccharide which breaks down into a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule. Fructose may be perceived as undesirable by consumers due to its association with fat accumulation in the liver.5

As a result, trehalose is emerging as the fuel of choice for endurance exercise, helping to maintain performance through steady blood sugar and insulin levels.

Fuelling endurance performance

enduracarb® is a trehalose ingredient developed by Prinova in collaboration with Hayashibara, a world-renowned Japanese food and beverage manufacturing company. Produced using a high-purity production process and certified as an Informed Ingredient, it is now considered one of the world's leading trehalose brands.

enduracarb® is a plant-based, high-quality ingredient which is Non-GMO Project verified, GRAS-designated, Kosher- and Halal-certified. Approved in the EU as a novel food and reviewed by most major regulatory agencies around the world, trehalose is widely considered safe for use in food.

As strong energy source, enduracarb® enables manufacturers to incorporate to their sports nutrition brands an easy-to-understand, science-backed fuel that consumers can trust to power their athletic performance during extended periods of intense exercise.

A proven ingredient for athletic endurance

During endurance sports, muscle glycogen can be depleted to a level that impairs performance.6 To compensate for the loss of glycogen, carbohydrates can be consumed to delay the onset of fatigue.7 Research showed that trehalose induced lower insulin secretion and lead the body to reduce glucose consumption, thus allowing the preservation of skeletal muscle glycogen until later stages of prolonged exercise.6 In the case of low intensity exercise for 60 minutes, the study highlighted as well that more fat is used as an energy source by taking trehalose than glucose.

Indeed, fast-acting carbohydrates such as glucose can cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, which then prompts the body to produce more insulin to control the rise. Excess insulin can not only impair the body's ability to burn fat for fuel,8 but can also lower blood sugar levels and cause hypoglycaemia, leading to fatigue and decreased performance.9 Unlike glucose, trehalose is slowly digested and absorbed in the small intestine. Clinical research has shown that blood glucose and insulin levels were significantly lower and more stable in people receiving trehalose compared to those receiving glucose.4,10

enduracarb® has also been shown to combat dehydration. For endurance athletes, dehydration can have a variety of negative impacts on performance.11 Cardiovascular drift, for example, occurs during prolonged exercise at moderate intensity, causing a gradual increase in heart rate and a decrease in the volume of blood pumped from the heart. Clinical research on trehalose shows that enduracarb® is transported from the stomach faster than glucose and maltose, demonstrating its ability to help athletes maintain water absorption,12 being less prone to cardiovascular drift.13

Another study looking at the impact of enduracarb® consumption in distance runners demonstrated that it can even enhance running performance.14 In prolonged exercise comprised of ultra-high-intensity intermittent exercise, total mean power output was on average higher for subjects taking enduracarb® than glucose.

Formulation made easier

enduracarb® is suitable for a wide variety of applications, such as protein ready-to-drinks, energy drinks, gels, and vegetarian beverages. Beyond its performance benefits for athletes, enduracarb® helps manufacturers to take the taste of their sports nutrition products to the next level, by masking the bitterness of other ingredients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and sweeteners.15 It also showed exceptional stabilisation results against moisture absorption and discoloration in lab tests when compared to other sugar ingredients.

Prinova has a team of application and technical specialists to help its customers develop, improve, and enhance the taste and function of their products. From initial concept to final delivery, we will help you bring your ideas to life with our full range of product development services. Contact our experts today to develop your next breakthrough sports nutrition product.

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References:

  1. British Journal of Sports Medicine 'Is the COVID-19 lockdown nudging people to be more active: a big data analysis' (June 2020)
  2. New Hope Network 'Sports nutrition brands attempt to serve quarantined endurance athletes' (June 2020)
  3. Euromonitor International ‘The Expansion of Sports Nutrition’ (2019)
  4. Yoshizane et al. 'Glycemic, insulinemic and incretin responses after oral trehalose ingestion in healthy subjects' Nutrition Journal (2017)
  5. Ouyang, X. et al. ‘Fructose Consumption as a Risk Factor for Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease’ Journal of Hepatology (2008)
  6. Wadazumi, T. et al. 'Effects of a Single Ingestion of Trehalose during Prolonged Exercise' Sports (2019)
  7. McConell, G. et al. ‘Muscle metabolism during prolonged exercise in humans: Influence of carbohydrate availability’ Journal of Applied Physiology (1999)
  8. Velasquez-Mieyer, P.A. et al. 'Suppression of insulin secretion is associated with weight loss and altered macronutrient intake and preference in a subset of obese adults' J Obes Relat Metab Disord (2003)
  9. Brun, J.F. et al. 'Exercise hypoglycemia in nondiabetic subjects' Diabetes & Metabolism (2001)
  10. Jentjens, R.L. & Jeukendrup, A.E. 'Effects of pre-exercise ingestion of trehalose, galactose and glucose on subsequent metabolism and cycling performance' European Journal of Applied Physiology (2003)
  11. Kounalakis, S.N. et al. 'The Role of Active Muscle Mass on Exercise-Induced Cardiovascular Drift' Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008)
  12. Internal study
  13. Montain, S.J. & Coyle, E.F. 'Influence of graded dehydration on hyperthermia and cardiovascular drift during exercise' Journal of Applied Physiology (1992)
  14. Suzuki, Y. et al. 'Pre-exercise Trehalose Ingestion Enhanced Exercise Performance in Male Collegiate Distance Runners' Natural Product Communications (2020)
  15. Japan patent JP2003-274896A 'Bitter taste reduction agent for amino acids tasting bitter and use thereof'

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