Sports Nutrition

Draco Specialty Products

Sports Nutrition

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For trained athletes and weekend warriors alike, it is possible to significantly improve the results of the exercise regime with an advanced supplement program that prepares the body for each stage of the workout cycle.   For specific workout goals,   individual botanical ingredients can be powerful in their own right, but may be more synergistically effective when combined in a properly designed formulation.  Draco can provide a wide range of high quality botanical formulas and other product solutions to address individual sports nutrition goals or a combination of several goals in one or more end products:   


Goal:  Enhance energy and mood to prepare for workout

Having good focus and a positive mood at the start of the workout help activate muscle fibers, mobilize adrenal hormones, and activate key neurotransmitters in the brain to increase vigor and strength.


  • Astragalus and other Qi and Yang tonic herbs help increase motivation, effort and muscle output.
  • Adrenal tonics such as Eleuthero help with energy mobilization and adaptation to exercise stress.

Goal:  Support cellular blood sugar metabolism

Insulin sensitivity determines how well glucose can be shuttled into the muscles for fuel and how well free fatty acids are delivered to muscles to be used aerobically. Body weight, dietary habits, stress levels, and circulating insulin levels can influence insulin sensitivity.


  • Blood sugar tonic herbs such as fenugreek or cinnamon can improve insulin sensitivity, especially in a formula with GLUT 4 enzyme agonists. These herbs also increase the uptake of glucose and production of free fatty acids  for more readily usable energy.

Goal:  Increase capacity for endurance

Improving endurance is possible by increasing the anaerobic threshold, or the workout time before “hitting the wall.”


  • Nitrates – Vegetable extracts that contain nitrates and nitric oxide synthase promoters can increase oxygen delivery to muscles by enhancing nitric oxide production, resulting in vasodilation and increased blood flow in pumping muscles.
  • Rhodiola crenulata helps increase the anaerobic threshold by increasing the metabolism of free fatty acids before oxygen debt is reached. Effectiveness increases when combined with nitrates.

During Workout

Goal:  Reduce Free Radicals

Exercise can cause the excess production of free radicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS) and can cause inflammation and damage to cellular mitochondria.  The body adapts by producing more antioxidants.


  • Antioxidant botanicals help reduce free radical cell damage during exercise by quenching the free radicals. Some antioxidants can also help the body produce more of its own endogenous antioxidants.  Purple sweet potato helps increase the body’s production of SOD, for example.

Goal:  Hydration and replenishment of electrolytes is essential during exercise. Sweating causes loss of sodium and potassium which can result in muscle weakness, fatigue, and exhaustion.  Magnesium can be lost in the urine by increased fluid consumption and also needs to be replaced, as it powers hundreds of important enzymes related to metabolism, as well as protein synthesis, bone health, inflammation control, blood sugar utilization, and proper nervous system function.


  • Fruit and Vegetable extracts in beverage form can be used or combined to provide hydration and effective natural replacement of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, calcium and even sodium.


Post-Workout – Recovery

Goal: Reduce inflammation and DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness)

Physical stresses on muscle tissue from constant contractions or impact can cause small tears in the collagen fibers of the muscle and connective tissue.  This, combined with excess free radical production during exercise, can lead to inflammation and DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness), and can impair recovery and rebuilding of muscles and joints.


  • Formulas with herbs, fruits and vegetables can dramatically reduce DOMS by inhibiting several inflammatory pathways including COX2, NFK-beta, leukotrienes, TNF-alpha, and others.
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are herbs used specifically to reduce blood stasis-induced swelling and pain.

Goal : Promote repair of muscles, joints, and ligaments

Botanicals can help the body repair damage anabolically by nourishing muscle tissues, and by inhibiting enzymes that break down connective tissue matrix proteins.


  • Herbs like Eucommia and other yang tonic herbs contain natural anabolic factors that can be used to stimulate protein synthesis during rest, repair and recovery phases.
  • Herbs that stimulate insulin sensitivity or release can help facilitate tissue growth because insulin is anabolic. TCM herbs that boost insulin are known to restore muscle tissue and promote healthy growth.
  • Yin tonics can have androgenic effects on muscle tissue and joints. Other herbs can increase free testosterone in men.
  • Some botanicals and flavonoids have a direct cortisol blocking effect.
  • Herbal adaptogens can help to restore energy by supporting adrenal function so there isn’t a crashing effect.
  • Immune strengthening and anti-inflammatory botanicals help reduce the production of fatigue-inducing cytokines.

Rest Between Workouts

Goal:  Adequate sleep is important for good muscle recovery.  Inadequate sleep and stress can increase cortisol production, which increases catabolic loss of bone, muscle and immune function, and reduces the body’s anabolic repair processes and protein synthesis. Excess cortisol may cause severe fatigue, exhaustion and inflammation.  Cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-6 released during inflammation also cause fatigue.  Deep sleep (and exercise itself) help release peak growth hormone which strengthen muscles, promote lean body mass, and revitalize internal organs.


  • Draco’s Sleep and Relaxation herbal formula safely promotes deeper sleep, stimulating growth hormone release and reducing cortisol production.

Draco Natural Products is here to help makers of sports nutrition products discover and take advantage of a broad array of functional,100% natural botanical ingredients and formulations.   We are a well known and established manufacturer of herb, fruit, vegetable and mushroom extract ingredients for the dietary supplement, functional foods, and personal care industries.  We are experts in botanical extraction techniques, producing over 700 different botanical ingredient products.

Draco offers many levels of customization of extract products, so that you may develop unique products. You may want a custom extract of a particular fruit or vegetable, for example.  Or maybe you would like a co-extraction of 2 or more herbs that are designed for a synergistic effect.  Our Action Synergy™ process optimizes this interaction by blending all botanicals before full spectrum extraction. We can also process using enzymes to enhance bioactivity of certain phytocompounds, or use fermentation to provide improved flavor, solubility, bioavailability, and color, in addition to increased bioactivity.