19 Jul 2017

Sports hydration drink to be a real game-changer

From marathon runners to the Tour de France, a new sports hydration drink under development in South Australia is poised to be a super boost for athletes.

After 20 years of research by Flinders medical researchers, the new product ‘PREP’D’ is set to be a real game-changer for elite and amateur sportspeople, along with people who work in extreme heat or physically demanding work.

PREP’D has been designed to prime the body for optimal fluid absorption using a special, food-grade resistant starch, says Commercialisation Manager David Vincent from Flinders Partners. It’s a two-part hydration system including a ‘pre-load drink’ consumed up to 18 hours before exertion, followed by a recovery drink for rapid rehydration.

“In an earlier clinical trial with the Adelaide Crows, PREP’D showed significantly better overall hydration compared with sports drinks and water,” Mr Vincent says.

The launch of PREP’D by the University’s commercialisation arm Flinders Partners in 2017-18 will be supported by a $142,000 early commercialisation grant from TechInSA, the State Government’s innovation agency.

Pioneered by Flinders University Professor of Global Gastrointestinal Health, Graeme Young, and Professor Ian Brown, with international collaborators from Yale University and India, the product is backed by the latest research into severe dehydration.

“Our research has shown the resistant starch in PREP’D promotes improved fluid absorption in the large intestine, unlocking a largely untapped hydration potential of up to 5 litres per day,” Professor Young says.

Studies show a fluid loss of more than 2% in body weight is common during exercise or many sports which can reduce athlete performance by as much as 29%.

Dehydration makes it difficult for athletes to be on top of their game, reducing endurance capacity and muscle response. Dizziness and nausea from overheating and other more serious effects can follow.

Flinders Partners’ Mr Vincent says: “Despite the impact of dehydration on athletic performance being a well-understood problem in sports science, the formulation of sports drinks has “barely advanced in the past 50 years”.

“PREP’D changes all this by using resistant starch to increase the body’s hydration potential by up to 30%, allowing athletes to perform at their peak for longer.”

Mr. Vincent says the TechInSA early commercialisation grant will be “invaluable to achieving our target of creating the new company and then raising at least $1 million in seed funding this year”.

“We’re excited at the prospect of launching our products into the $17 billion global sports drink market in early 2018,” he says.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Robert Saint, says the PREP’D project is a “great testament to the high quality of innovative research at Flinders and our ability to translate this into community benefit”.

“We appreciate the State Government and TechInSA’s support for this exciting new technology which has been developed right here at Flinders and has the potential to become a major global brand,” Professor Saint says.

More information:

Name: David Vincent, Senior Associate – Commercial Development, Flinders Partners, Flinders University, Tonsley Innovation Precinct, 1284 South Road, Clovelly Park SA 5042

Tel: +61 8 8201 7726