Oats: Protein rich, healthy & positive effect for athletes

Oats

General oats

Oats belong to the sweet grass family (Poaceae) and are the highest quality cereal grown in Central Europe .

Oats are considered invigorating and stimulating in naturopathy. In 2017, oats (Avena sativa) were named medicinal plant of the year.

Nutrients of the oats

Among cereals, oats are among the most protein-rich varieties and thus have a nutritionally valuable high protein content. 

In addition, gluten-free oats have an exceptionally high content of essential amino acids for cereals. 

Furthermore, oats are characterized by a high content of magnesium, zinc and iron, these minerals have a beneficial effect on athletic performance. Nature also provides oats with readily available vitamins of the B and E groups.

Vital substances Content per 40 gr.
Iron 2.4 mg
Vitamin B1 0.3 mg
Vitamin B6 0.4 mg
Magnesium 60 mg
Biotin 7,8 μg
Zinc 1.720 μg

Oats are tolerated by (almost) every, even sensitive, sportsman’s stomach and is gluten-free in our used variant. It is therefore also suitable for celiac disease or intolerance to gluten.

Positive effect of oats for athletes

Antioxidant effect

For a long time, cereals were underestimated as a source of antioxidants. Unlike in fruits and vegetables, antioxidants in cereals are present in bound form. Intestinal bacteria can release the bound antioxidants from whole grain products. Thus, these are available to the body.

The highly effective antioxidant in oats comes from the group of polyphenols and is called avenanthramide. Avenanthramide prevents, among other things, the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thus the possible problematic deposition in the blood vessel walls.

Beta-glucans for long-lasting energy and better digestion

The oat grain also contains many soluble dietary fibers, including the so-called beta-glucans. Due to the special starch structure, the energy from oats is released slowly and provides constant and long-lasting energy supply. 

The effect of beta-glucans is very well studied. Beta-glucans are characterized by positive effects on the digestive tract and metabolism. Due to their solubility, beta-glucans form gels. They have a soothing effect on the gastric mucosa and digestive system, especially important before or during an intense session or before a competition. In addition, they are credited with a scientifically studied effect in lowering cholesterol and blood lipid levels.

Important glutamine in high quantity

Oats contain 686 mg of glutamine or glutamic acid per 100 g, making them a comparatively extremely protein-rich grain.
 

Glutamine is produced in muscle and is the most important amino acid with the highest concentration in blood plasma and muscle tissue (20% of the amino acid pool in blood, 40-60% in skeletal muscle). 

Glutamine is a proteinogenic amino acid, i.e. it is used to build proteins. Glutamine plays an important role, for example. in the formation and breakdown of plasma proteins, muscle metabolism and the daily renewal of intestinal mucosal cells. 

If the energy demand of the corresponding cells increases, such as in the case of infections, operations and increased physical stress, the amount of glutamine required also increases.  

In studies and investigations on the effect and dosage of glutamine in cases of increased demand (strong physical strain, e.g. due to intensive sports or in cases of metabolic stress), dosages of approximately 0.3g/kg body weight per day were predominantly used. 

Based on this guideline, an adult male weighing 90 kg would need to consume approximately 27 mg per day to meet the increased demand for glutamine during increased physical activity such as exercise. Covering competitive sports. 

Theoretically, it would be possible to absorb this amount through food, e.g. by eating 600g lentils/day or 760g smoked pork belly/day or 675g beef fillet/day. In practical terms, however, this is likely to be difficult to implement or not necessarily conducive to health. 

The following table shows the glutamine content of various foods: 

Food

Glutamic acid content in mg/100g 

   

Lenses

4.490

Soybeans

6.490

Peanuts

5.630

Pork belly, smoked

3.540

Beef tenderloin

4.000

Cooked ham

4.420

Alaska pollock

3.020

Trout

3.330

Tuna

3.520

Values from: Souci SW, Fachmann W, Kraut H: The composition of food, nutrition tables, 7th revised edition. medpharm Scientific Publisher, Stuttgart 2008 

Study results on the positive effect of glutamine in sports

  • Supplementation with glutamine as a therapeutic intervention was effective in mitigating the loss of strength and muscle soreness caused by muscle damage from extreme exercise loading (1)
  • Amino acid blend (branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) plus glutamine and arginine improves training efficiency in athletes (2)
  • Certain supplements such as glutamine (in free form or as a dipeptide) can support optimal nutrition during the recovery period (3,4,5)

Our sports nutrition products with oats

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