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Clinical trials, sports nutrition and COVID-19

Clinical trials, sports nutrition and COVID-19.jpg
Research labs and in-person studies have been hindered by the pandemic, but brands must innovate and move forward.

Recently, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) hosted a panel discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on sports nutrition during its first Sports Nutrition Working Group (SNWG) meeting of 2020. The panel featured Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., vice president, scientific affairs, Nutrasouce, and adjunct professor, Nova Southeastern; and Richard Kreider, Ph.D., professor and executive director, Texas A&M University. The panelists discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the sports nutrition sector through the sudden halt of clinical trials, the need to cater to changing consumer habits and the mandate to seize innovation opportunities.

Kalman and Kreider are both deeply involved in clinical research and were able to share expert perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on sports nutrition research in university and contract research organization (CRO) settings. Universities across the country have closed their campuses. While classes carry on through virtual formats, universities have suspended most person-to-person activities, including ongoing research and clinical trials. Currently, most research trials are only permitted to collect data through online surveys or other virtual formats with strict restrictions on participant contact.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published suggestions for research facilities to handle these changes and presented an exception to clinical trials that have ongoing medical interventions involving drug trials with patients receiving treatments. Dietary supplements are at a disadvantage, as they cannot legally be used to treat, cure or prevent a disease even when evaluating the impact of certain nutrients on metabolic syndrome or improving health and nutrient status.

However, the panelists recommended that those in the sports nutrition space not become complacent, but progress in the shifting paradigm. “The smart position is to not withdraw from clinical trials, but to invest in new ideas … and plan ahead so you can hit the ground running and not be further delayed,” Kreider said. “Take the opportunity to communicate with consumers who are now more interested in exercise and take advantage of activities that will help keep them in the space. There is opportunity even with delay.”

This article was excerpted from the Sports Nutrition: Innovation - Breakthroughs and trends – digital magazine. Visit the link to read the balance, as well as related content.

Luke Huber is vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). Jim Komorowski is chief science officer of JDS Therapeutics LLC and chair of CRN’s Sports Nutrition Working Group.

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