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Incorporating whey protein into exercise recovery beverages could open a lucrative new market for sports drinks manufacturers, according to research commissioned by performance nutrition company Volac, according to Nutraingredients.com.

Nearly one quarter (24%) of 1,000 consumers, aged between 18 and 60, who take part in sport or exercise once a week said they would be interested in a product containing whey protein to aid muscle recovery after exercise, according to the report.

Of those interested in whey protein, 53% said that a bottled drink would be their preferred method of delivery.

In England alone, 1.66 million consumers could be interested in such a product, NutraIngredients.com said.

But to unlock the potential of this new market, the report recommends a targeted education programme focusing on the importance of whey protein to the recovery process.

The report quotes Volac saying the inclusion of whey protein in an exercise recovery beverage improves the recovery process by enhancing rehydration and helping to build muscle protein.

Whey protein contains the highest natural concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which are necessary as substrates, or building blocks, for building new proteins and therefore muscle.

Whey protein also contains the highest levels of the BCAA leucine – an amino acid which plays the key role of triggering muscle protein synthesis. And it can be absorbed by the body faster than some other proteins.  – Source: Nutraingredients.com

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