Shallow Dive: Fit Bits

Fitness ingredients to keep an eye on

A quick read of interesting titbits from the F&B universe that will drop every other week. Skim through this in less than a ☕break.

It’s already Month 3 into the new year. So, I’m asking you the question that people for some inexplicable reason still ask: How are your new year’s resolutions going? 

In addition to irritating me, this question also made me curious about what resolutions people make. In a Forbes Health/OnePoll study of 1,000 people, 48% of respondents said improving fitness was a key goal – it was in fact the most popular resolution made amongst this cohort. 

Just for kicks, I also checked out what interesting ingredients were popping up to appeal to fitness enthusiasts, and the industry. Here’s a quick roundup of a few ingredients that may help improve consumers’ fitness goals.

Studies into some of these ingredients have indicated specialized functionalities for pro athletes, and this opens up the doors for their use within amateur circles or even just for casual use. Innovative and convenient formats would go a long in making sure that these ingredients are accessible to a wider range of consumers.


A recent literature review has found that ginseng could reduce fatigue and help muscle recovery post-exercise, in addition to its already long list of benefits.

The review looked at the findings of 12 randomized, double-blind trials from different parts of the world to evaluate the following:

  • Ginseng’s effects on the body after exercise

  • Its capacity to regenerate muscle damaged from exercise 

  • The suitability of ginseng intake during the process of muscle recovery

It was found that 4 of these 12 studies had examined the effects of ginseng consumption over a 1-2 month period and found that there was reduction of muscle damage and decreased fatigue. It was useful particularly in the case of adults who were in good physical condition and exercised regularly. The literature review also recommended that athletes and active people incorporate ginseng into their food regimen, with 1-5g per day being an appropriate dose based on current studies. Korean red ginseng is said to be more effective than other varieties studied to improve recovery and reduce muscle fatigue post-exercise.

Ginseng is already a popular ingredient for post-workout recovery in South Korea as well as an adaptogen.

Image source: Pixabay


Bulgarian gourmet honey company Mellifera is using honey as the base ingredient for its range of sports nutrition products. The company’s MelliGel brand is a range of energy gels whose base is 90% honey along with a number of other organic superfood ingredients, including spirulina, cacao, and freeze-dried and powdered fruits. The product comes in 7 variants currently, but is expanding to 10 soon. The range includes products for before, during, and after activity.

Image source: Food Ingredients First 

Energy gels are a popular source of carbohydrates for endurance athletes, but most of them available in the market have a sugar base like maltodextrin with fructose artificially added in, says the company. MelliGel’s base of honey is a natural combination of glucose and fructose. 

With the other organic ingredients, this is very much in line with the growing demand for “cleaner” foods across all consumption occasions.


Bovine colostrum

Bovine colostrum (BC) is derived from the initial milk of cows and is rich in compounds like growth factors, antimicrobial peptides, and immune mediators. It also contains lactoferrin, which is said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

A recent study found that BC supplementation had the potential to strengthen the immune system among football (soccer) players based on a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 28 players. The group that received the BC supplement showed a significant increase in immunoglobulin G concentration as well as decreased inflammatory factors compared to the placebo group. The study concluded that BC supplementation could improve the immunity of the players to ensure their continued training and reduce absences.

This is an ingredient that is becoming very popular within fitness and wellness circles for its purported functional benefits. The global BC market is expected to reach US$3.2 billion in 2024 and grow to US$6.9 billion by 2034, according to estimates by Future Market Insights.

Currently, the most popular format for BC appears to be a powder (such as the examples below) much like whey protein, but chewable tablets are expected to gain traction for their convenience. 

Source: Armra


Source: Kion

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