Last updated: 16-Aug-18
By Rin Cobb
Arbonne is a skincare and nutrition company that prides itself on using plant-based ingredients. Along with its standard nutrition range it also has a Phytosport range targeted at athletes to help support their performance so ‘naturally’ I was intrigued to find out more when some samples rocked up at RunUltra headquarters.
The Arbonne Phytosport blend is a mix of ginseng, turmeric and cayenne to “help support various aspects of your body’s functions to help you feel your best when you’re physically active”. Ginseng is reported to help improve aerobic endurance capacity whilst turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and cayenne is believed to have similar effects to caffeine. From a scientific point of view, there is no clear evidence for ginseng or cayenne aiding athletic performance but there are some promising results for the use of turmeric in animal studies*. Of course this doesn’t mean this particular blend won’t work for you, after all our bodies and lifestyles are all individual so it may be you just need to try it out for yourself.
Protein shakes (£2.80 per sachet)
These come in ready-made cartons, individual powder sachets and a big bumper powder bag in two flavours, chocolate and vanilla. Protein shakes can be used to help promote the recovery process after a workout and these provide the recommended amount of protein of 20g per serving plus some carbohydrate. As these are a vegan product, the protein comes from a mix of pea, cranberry and rice protein providing all your essential amino-acids.
Whilst the jury is still out in the sports science world as to whether plant proteins are as effective for building muscle as animal-based proteins**, there are few vegan protein products on the market so this could be an alternative for those opting for a meat-free diet or those unable to tolerate dairy. They’re not promoted as a recovery product as such and certainly if you’re using these after a good endurance session, you’ll need to think about topping up the carbs to replenish your stores so could try adding a banana or some berries.
Phytosport Prepare & Endure (£1.95 per serving)
This is a mix of vitamins (mainly antioxidants), amino-acids and the Phytosport blend. As with the protein shakes, if you’re following a balanced diet there should be no need to supplement with additional vitamins or amino-acids. There is nothing to support timing of vitamins with regards to sporting performance but rather ensuring there are enough in your overall diet so taking them immediately before or during isn’t likely to lead to any noticeable differences.
Phytosport After Workout (£1.95 per serving)
This is Arbonne’s recovery powder and provides a good vegan source of branched chain amino-acids (BCAAs). This could be of benefit over an alternative vegan whole-protein source, as the BCAA leucine in particular has a key role with regards to growing muscle and recovery. Whilst my first line advice for recovery would be to maximize protein in the diet, there are times when a supplement maybe required or just more practical.
Energy Fizz sticks (£1.43 per 5g stick)
Contrary to what you may think from the name, these energy sticks don’t actually contain a lot of energy at 15kcals per stick. They do however contain caffeine and its natural counterpart guarana which can help reduce the perception of how hard you’re working so can feel like it gives you that boost especially when tiring after a long run. They also contain B vitamins, which are involved in energy production during exercise. It should be noted, however, that if you are eating a varied and balanced diet that’s keeping up with your energy demands, additional supplementation shouldn’t be required.
Like with many supplements, the dose of some of these B vitamins is high so if you take other vitamin supplements, you need to check you’re not exceeding the recommended daily allowance (RDA) significantly. They do also have a good dose of electrolytes so can help replenish all those salts you’re sweating out. Due to their handy stick size, these energy fizz sticks could be a useful addition for multi-day races or events to give you that caffeine boost and help replenish electrolytes on the go.
Phytosport complete hydration stick (£1.35 per 7.9g stick)
In addition to Arbonne’s Phytosport blend, this hydration product includes electrolytes and antioxidants. Surprisingly the nutrition label only lists chloride as an electrolyte despite it reportedly containing an appropriate amount of salt, which is the key electrolyte you need to replace when exercising. Again these come in a handy stick size for on-the-go hydration but if its purely for this reason you’re using them and doing a self sufficient race, there are lighter options on the market.
For further information on Arbonne or where you can source it from, you can contact Emma Wilkinson (Independent Consultant) [email protected] T: +44 (0) 7768 877578
All images: www.arbonne.com
* Williams (2006) Dietary supplements and Sports Performance: Herbals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 3(1): 1-6
** Van Vliet, Burd & van Loon (2015) The skeletal muscle anabolic response to plant versus animal based protein consumption. Journal of Nutrition 145(9): 1981-91
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