CHICAGO – MGP Ingredients launched Optein during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago, which lasts through July 16. The lightly hydrolyzed wheat protein has been shown to support muscle recovery and help reduce stress. Recommended applications include nutritional and protein drink powder mixes, sports beverages, smoothies, protein bars, energy bars, meal replacement bars, and vegetarian and vegan dishes.

“There is a growing demand for exercise and ergogenic recovery aids,” said Mike Lasater, vice-president of sales and marketing for MGPI, Atchison, Kas. “Optein is an ideal choice for food manufacturers who are looking for a plant-based protein alternative that provides high glutamine content not obtainable from whey or soy.”

He added Optein may be more cost-effective than other sources of protein. Optein delivers a higher glutamine content level than whey and soy protein, according to MGPI. It is soluble in water, has a neutral pH and a non-bitter flavor profile.

Humans store glutamine in their muscle tissue, said Mark Haub, Ph.D., interim head and associate professor for the Department of Nutrition at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kas. A drop in glutamine, an amino acid, is associated with soreness and fatigue.

Dr. Haub led a double-blind, randomized control study that compared Optein to whey protein and soy protein. Runners took one of the three sources of protein or a control and ran for 30 minutes. Twenty-four hours later they were tested for sore muscles. Option performed similarly to whey protein and soy protein, Dr. Haub said.

Optein is compatible with flour-based products, said Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice-president of applications technology and technical services for MGPI. For another benefit, it may improve the shelf life of tortillas, he said.