Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 18 APRIL 2018 BRAWN AND BRAINS Exploring nootropic opportunities in sports nutrition BY KIMBERLY J. DECKER A thletes and visitors to the Ted Stevens Sport Services Center at the Olym- pic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs will f nd a state-of-the-art sports-medicine assessment facility, a team of world-class strength and conditioning coaches—even a high-altitude training center and teaching kitchen where Olym- pians can learn how to feed for peak performance. But they'll also f nd, located appropriately in the center's Sport Sciences wing, a psychophysiology training space designed to monitor athletes' brain and body responses while resting and under com- petitive simulation. For, as U.S. Olympic Committee sport psychologist and psychophysiologist Lindsay T ornton, points out, "Every change in the physi- ological state is accompanied by an appropriate change in the mental or emotional state, conscious or unconscious, and, conversely, every change in the mental or emotional state, conscious or uncon- scious, is accompanied by an appropriate change in the physiological state." In other words, brain and body are one. And, as Karen Hecht, PhD, scientif c af airs manager, Asta- Real Inc. (Burlington, NJ), notes, the very presence of the psychophysiology space at the OTC "shows that no less an august body than the U.S. Olympic Committee has dedicated a facility and program to studying how mental f tness impacts physical f t- ness and athletic achievement." Sports nutrition products are increasingly dedi- cating space in their formulations for ingredients— called nootropics—that link the mental and the physical, too, boosting cognitive function in such a way that athletic performance also improves. And the more we learn about the relationship between brain and body, the more exciting the prospects for these ingredients seem. Nascent Category T ough it would be dif cult to f nd precise data on the strength of nootropic sports performance products—that's how nascent the category is— "the number of cognitive-support supplements aimed toward athletes and f tness enthusiasts cer- tainly seems to be growing, with abundant oppor- tunities," Hecht says. Perhaps that's because the convergence of sev- eral trends points the category toward success. "First," says Elyse N. Lovett, MBA, MS, market- ing manager, Kyowa Hakko U.S.A. Inc. (New York City), "good science on ingredients showing the correlations between sports and brain health has started to emerge. Second, consumers have started demanding products with brain health aspects to get that competitive edge. And third, manufacturers need to dif erentiate themselves in the crowded sports nutrition supplement space."

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