Protein and Sport: Alternative Sources and Strategies for Bioactive and Sustainable Sports Nutrition

Front Nutr. 2022 Jun 17:9:926043. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.926043. eCollection 2022.


Nutrition and sport play an important role in achieving a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the intake of nutrients derived from the normal diet, some sport disciplines require the consumption of supplements that contribute positively to improved athletic performance. Protein intake is important for many aspects related to health, and current evidence suggests that some athletes require increased amounts of this nutrient. On the other hand, society's demand for more environmentally friendly products, focus on the search for alternative food sources more sustainable. This review aims to summarize the latest research on novel strategies and sources for greener and functional supplementation in sport nutrition. Alternative protein sources such as insects, plants or mycoproteins have proven to be an interesting substrate due to their high added value in terms of bioactivity and sustainability. Protein hydrolysis has proven to be a very useful technology to revalue by-products, such as collagen, by producing bioactive peptides beneficial on athletes performance and sport-related complications. In addition, it has been observed that certain amino acids from plant sources, as citrulline or theanine, can have an ergogenic effect for this target population. Finally, the future perspectives of protein supplementation in sports nutrition are discussed. In summary, protein supplementation in sports nutrition is a very promising field of research, whose future perspective lies with the search for alternatives with greater bioactive potential and more sustainable than conventional sources.

Keywords: alternative protein sources; amino acids; bioactive peptides; protein hydrolysates; sports nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review