Runner using hydrogel sports fuel

Science is a part of our nature. And vice versa.

Two years ago we discovered how to make sports fuels easier to tolerate by encapsulating high concentrations of carbohydrates in hydrogels. One year later, some of the world's best marathoners started fueling their sessions and races with our sports drinks. The technology is patent pending.

Isabella drinking Maurten hydrogel sports fuel

Not just another sports drink

Athletes have always struggled to fuel their bodies.

By the 1960s, scientists realized that drinking carbohydrate solutions during exercise increased performance. With a mixture of sugar, salts and lemonade, the first sports drink was born.

But carbohydrate solutions can cause problems. Our stomachs don't cope well with high concentrations of sugar – often resulting in slower gastric emptying and GI distress. 

At Maurten, we’re launching a new range of sports fuels. We’ve harnessed hydrogel technology to develop carbohydrate-rich and natural sports drinks that our bodies can tolerate.

Cycle team using hydrogel sports drinks

The next generation of sports fuel

The hydrogel technology enables us to redefine the field of sports fuel. First out are Drink Mix 160 and Drink Mix 320;

Twice the energy – the Drink Mix 320 contains nearly 14 per cent – or 80 grams – of carbohydrates when mixed. That's about twice as much carbs as was previously thought possible for the body to tolerate. 

No added flavor – we're not impressed by artificial flavors. You can tell what you're getting from the taste of our drink mixes.

No acid – we had both stomach and teeth in mind when we developed products with neutral pH. 

Clean – no added colorants or preservatives. Our sports drinks contain only five natural ingredients. Nothing more and nothing less than what’s needed.

Hydrogel sports fuel close-up

Meet the hydrogel

Hydrogels are widely used in the food industry, often as thickeners and structurants. A hydrogel is a biopolymer- and water-based structure with very small pores. As a three-dimensional network with the ability to hold water, it looks and behaves a bit like a kitchen sponge.

At Maurten, we’ve found a way to build hydrogels with natural food ingredients. And we’ve filled the structure with the most efficient source of energy around – carbohydrates. 

The hydrogels in our sports drinks are built from the combination of two natural ingredients:

  • Alginate – extracted from the cell walls of brown algae.
  • Pectin –  found in apples, lemons, carrots and tomatoes, to name a few.

These two dietary fibers have been used for decades within the food industry. Combined under precisely the right circumstances, alginate and pectin form a pH-sensitive hydrogel.

How it works
Mix Drink Mix 160 or Drink Mix 320 with water, and you’ll have a liquid sports drink containing high concentrations of maltodextrin and fructose. The drink instantly converts to hydrogel in the acidity of the stomach, encapsulating the carbohydrates. The hydrogel then enables a smooth transportation of the drink through the stomach to the intestine where the water, salt and carbohydrates are absorbed.

Elite athlete fueling with Maurten Hydrogel sports fuel

We rely on science and elite athletes

In 2015, we found a way to make sports fuels easier to tolerate, by encapsulating carbohydrates in hydrogels.

The method was so successful, that one year later, some of the world's best marathoners were fueling their training sessions and competitions with our technology. It’s science that has taken us this far. Now we're working together with several international research initiatives and universities. A number of studies are evaluating our technology and products. And in 2017, we hope that the first peer-reviewed paper will be published in support of our technology.

We're a selected partner of the SUB2HRS project, an international research initiative with the mission to within five years accomplish the first ever sub two-hour marathon.

During 2016 and 2017, several athletes have used our products in races. We're immensely proud to have fueled:

  • Kenenisa Bekele, when he won the 2016 Berlin Marathon on the second fastest time in history.
  • Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, when he won the New York Marathon 2016.
  • Wilson Kipsang, when he set course record and won the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
  • Geoffrey Kirui, when he won the Boston Marathon 2017.
  • Daniel Wanjiru, when he won the London Marathon 2017.
  • Eliud Kipchoge during the Breaking 2 Marathon (02:00:25) in Monza 2017

The number of great athletes using our technology is constantly growing. For the latest updates on which athletes are using our products, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Scientific collaborations

We rely on science and we’re working closely with academics and expertise from other industries. Here are some of the organizations that we're currently collaborating with:

Elite athlete fueling with Maurten Hydrogel sports fuel