The latest trends in sports nutrition
supplements are driven more by industry and marketing than by science. But I will
focus my answer on the science and what areas have shown promise. And I can think
of three examples. There are probably many more, but three that I can think of.
The first one is keto and esters, the second one, yerba mate, and the third one
is menthol. Ketone esters have been discussed very much in the media, and
especially in endurance sports. We have ketone salts, they may not be so effective.
They may cause gastrointestinal distress, but keto and esters may be a way around
this. Studies have shown shifts in substrate use, and a number of other
secondary markers of performance. Performance measures themselves have
shown mixed results, with some studies showed no effect, or a negative effect,
and some studies actually show benefits. So I’m definitely curious to see what
the research will bring in that area in the future. The second supplement was
yerba mate. This is a very common drink in South America and in Central America.
It’s been used for many years as medicinal and an energy drink. It is made
of dried mate leaves. A bit like tea, it is very rich in some phytonutrients also
contains some caffeine and theobromine. The caffeine content is much lower than
that of coffee. But early studies had suggested shifts in substrate use more
fat metabolism less carbohydrate metabolism. And in 2018 a study was
published, that also observed modest performance effects. So we just need
more studies before we can really definitively say that this is something
of interest for athletes. The third area was menthol. Menthol is
something that could be used during exercise in hot conditions, and it seems
to improve thermal comfort. And if it improves thermal comfort, then it may
also enhance performance. And that is what some studies have shown. So maybe,
adding a little bit of menthol to a sports drink can be another way. But
again, we need more studies to be sure that this really is a new ergogenic aid.