Beyond making bones healthy, milk is becoming a healthful food for athletes and those concerned about bodyweight.

Dietary supplementation with milk proteins has been found in clinical studies to increase performance of athletes. In one study, conducted in the Sports Medicine Centre (Bucharest, Romania), 16 top swimmers were given 50g of milk protein daily for 60 days before competition. The protein, REFIT[r] from DMV International (Frazer, N.Y.), was served in the forms of chocolate milk and yogurt. Ten swimmers of equal caliber were given a placebo for comparison. The REFIT group showed significant improvements in muscle strength, increase in maximum oxygen intake, increase in red blood corpuscles content, as well as a reduction in body fat. The researchers concluded REFIT is an important supplement for the diet for athletes preparing for competition.1

In another study, REFIT (1.1 to 1.5 per kilogram of bodyweight daily) was given to a group of ten top junior cyclists that were preparing for competition, versus a reference diet without the milk proteins. Significant improvements in the cyclist's physiological condition and performance were measured.2 According to DMV International, the utilization rates of whey and casein proteins means that a type of "time-release" phenomenon occurs. That is, whey proteins are first broken down followed by more slowly utilized casein proteins, which are normally synthesized into body protein, sometimes supplying energy.

REFIT comes in two main forms: REFIT and REFIT HPA, notes Angela Walter, market development manager, DMV. REFIT HPA, an agglomerated product, has a slightly higher protein content at about 90% and a lower lactose level than REFIT. Both products are used in dietetic formulations, medical and geriatric foods, weight management products and sports nutrition formulas. Both forms are well suited for instant drinks, but also may be used as a protein supplement for regular food products.

REFIT and REFIT HPA contain the total protein fraction of cow's milk. They have a very high biological value and, with their amino acid profile, can provide a supplementary effect on diets with sub-optimal amino acid composition, such as may occur in vegetarian regimes.

As a specialist in protein ingredients for the nutrition, dietary supplement and dietetic food industries, DMV International provides specialized support in the development of applications with its milk protein products. For example, the company advises that, due to REFIT's limited flow properties, the ingredient should be used in combination with other ingredients such as sugars or skim milk powders to improve flow. REFIT HPA has better flow properties and may be better suited for high-protein formulas where only a few other ingredients are added. NS

For more information:
DMV International, Angela Walter