The supplement is the first joint health product in the aminoVITAL series, currently comprise of products to promote recovery, improve endurance by regulating blood sugar levels, and building lean muscle.
It contains 4,000mg of six amino acids, which are serine, aspartic acid, glutamate, glycine, alanine, and proline, amino acid, in a ready-to-consume power.
It can be consumed before, during or after sports because amino acids are the smallest components of proteins, so they can be easily absorbed in 30 minutes, unlike protein which typically takes 3 to 4 hours to be absorbed.
Initially developed for Japan’s national athletes, Ajinomoto gave out about 100,000 units of the supplement between July 2020 to the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, through the support of the Japanese Olympic Committee and the Japan Paralympic Committee.
Feedback from athletes indicated 94% of them intend to use the supplement in the future.
The supplement is now available for the general public, for those who exercise regularly as well as athletes who are concerned with joint conditioning, and will go on sale this month.
It will be sold at sports retailers nationwide as well as Ajinomoto’s e-commerce store (Ajinomoto Direct).
Ajinomoto is setting a sales target of approximately JPY 100 million (US$885,000) for FY2021.
The effectiveness of the supplement has been confirmed in human tests which was recently presented at two academic conferences in Japan and North America.
The human clinical trials studied the effects of the six amino acids on joint discomfort and tendon condition.
The first study was a placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group assessing the amino acid effect on knee discomfort.
According to Daiichi Shindo, one of the researchers involved in this study, they recruited 50 people (average age: 50) who were experiencing discomfort in their knee joints, although they were not diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis.
They were divided equally into the intervention (amino acid) and the placebo group.
Subjects in the intervention group were given 4,000mg of amino acids, and tasked to take thrice a day for 12 weeks.
The primary outcomes were JOA score, JKOM score and subject’s evaluation on discomfort, stiffness and pain, which were measured at baseline, week 12 and 16 (4 weeks post-intervention).
Scores showed there was significant improvement in the intervention group from week 12 to 16, indicating the effects persisted even though subjects stopped taking amino acids.
In another study on tendon, 16 subjects were recruited (average age: 24), and underwent a randomised control trial.
Similar, those in the intervention group took 4,000mg of amino acids, thrice a day for 2 weeks.
The structure of the Achilles tendon was captured by echography and stiffnesss index were measured at baseline and week 4 (2 weeks post-intervention).
Results showed there was improvement in the Archilles tendon and strength of the tendon was maintained even when subjects stopped taking amino acids.
These findings suggest that the amino acid formula can be used for joint or tendon conditioning, while relieving discomfort.
The research team said: “We are planning to clarify the mechanism by which the six amino acids mitigate tendon or knee joint discomfort.”
The findings are awaiting publication.