What is in this endurance gel that separates it from the many others available? Are these differences substantial and will the endurance athlete greatly benefit from using VFuel over other gels?
These are questions that, among many others, we asked ourselves when deciding whether or not to bring VFuel to you, the endurance athlete. There are quite a few gels on the market today and many have served a good purpose. However, as more people enter endurance based sports, and as more people see the benefits of fueling with energy gels, the more folks are learning about what their bodies can handle given the right support and proper nutrition.
Every ingredient in VFuel serves a specific purpose in an effort to fuel you in the best ways possible. Check the tabs below to learn more.
We flavour our gel using natural sources. Yes, it may be more expensive (on our end) but we know it’s worth it. In our Chocolate we use only organic, non-alkalized, real cocoa powder and a hint of pure, real vanilla. In vanilla only real and pure vanilla is used. In our peach cobbler VFuel we use organic natural peach flavor to get as close to the real flavor as possible, then we add a dash of ground cinnamon. There are no frills, no synthetic blending of ‘flavours,’ and no additives to make our gel taste the way we want it.
Of course we are going to say that we are using quality ingredients. But we challenge you to see the difference for yourself. We tested hundreds of different ingredient sources to create VFuel Endurance Gel. For example, we tested 10 different kinds of maltodextrin, 8 different sources of vanilla (Mexican,Madagascar, Indonesian, vanilla blends, etc…), and many different cocoa sources, just to name a few, in an effort to present you with the highest quality ingredients. We didn’t sacrifice quality for cost on any ingredient.
VFuel performs. Period. But we can make claims all day long and it won’t compare to actually experiencing the difference. You can read reviews from very happy customers on our facbook page, from bloggers across the internet, and from all of our athletes (who’s only requirement is to truly believe in the product). But again, nothing will do it justice until you try it for yourself.
VFuel Endurance Gel will provide you with truly consistent energy levels and help your body to actively recover by providing supplements that will delay muscle fatigue and detoxify your muscles as they are being used.
VFuel, like other energy gels, starts with maltodextrin as the primary carbohydrate. But from there, we take a very different path. Most other gels use Fructose, or some sort of rice syrup or evaporated cane juice, all containing Fructose. VFuel uses Dextrose as its secondary carb, a more expensive (on our end) option, but one that is drastically easier to digest.
A very high percentage of complaints we hear about gels in general are in regards to digestibility issues. We hear people say that gels make them nauseated, gets them bloated, ‘backs them up,’ or even causes diarrhea. These issues are a direct result from the simple sugar that is used in most energy gels, Fructose.
All sugars, except for dextrose, take specialized enzymes to break down. The only sugar your body can use for energy without having to process is glucose (dextrose). Fructose, as used in most other gels, requires processing by ones liver resulting in a restoration of liver glycogen rather than a direct restoration of muscle glycogen, as dextrose provides. The added level of attention that fructose requires to be turned into sugars that your body can actually use takes time and limited resources (enzymes) away from your system.
For many people, especially during endurance activities (training or racing), the amount of enzymes their liver can make are far fewer than the amount of fructose they are pumping into their body in the form of energy gels. This is when things start to go wrong. Ones body handles this differently depending on a lot of other factors but this is what leads to the nausea, bloating, etc… Your body is simply not equipped to handle that much fructose especially when trying to perform athletically. It’s just a bad mix that leads to much unwanted, and unnecessary, GI distress.
We were actually shocked when we figured out how easy this fix was. Take out the fructose, use dextrose instead, and there you have it. A gel that causes no digestion issues! VFuel has even allowed people with Crohns Disease to be able to train for ultra distances again as their systems can handle the digestion process with no issues whatsoever.
This is a ‘Medium Chain Triglyceride’ oil. A more simple name for it is Fractionated Coconut Oil. It is coconut oil that has had all of the ‘bad’ stuff removed and what is left is a very pure, clean fatty oil. We are the only gel to offer any sort of fat, a crucial component 70 miles into a 100 mile run, or 13.1 miles into the marathon during an Iron Man. This oil is treated and metabolized more as a carb rather than a fat. It goes straight to the liver and used immediately as a quick energy source. This is another reason why VFuel is so easily digested. MCT oil is ideal for individuals with digestive problems. As a medium chain triglyceride it is passively diffused from the Gi tract whereas longer chained fats are absorbed by the lymphatic system. It also kills some of the troublesome microorganisms that may cause irritation and inflammation in the intestines.
MCT oil does not require energy for absorption, utilization, or storage, while, at the same time, being a dense source of calories. A perfect marriage for the endurance athlete.
Another huge benefit that we have seen here at VFuel is a reduction in ‘brain fog.’ You know, when you are going from mile 77.3 to 81.6 and you can’t do the math in your head as to how far that is! Or remembering when you took your last gel! MCT oil is one of the best fuels for healthy brain function. It is used in Alzheimer’s treatment for its huge benefits in regards to cognitive function. Click to read more about MCT Oil.
A very important amino acid for your muscles, Taurine has a few great benefits for the endurance athlete. It can increase energy in the muscles resulting in longer workout times and can also increase cell volume so they can hold more water aiding in muscle hydration. Click to read more about Taurine.
Don’t let this ingredient scare you! Glucuronolactone is a naturally occurring metabolite found in your liver. To put it simply, Glucose is stored in your liver and, when needed, the liver can start releasing its stores of glycogen. It does this in the form of Glucuronolactone. With this small amount of Glucuronolactone in VFuel, it allows your liver to hold its stores of glycogen longer, resulting in higher energy for a longer period of time. Something every endurance athlete wants! This is a naturally occurring chemical that is also found in many plant gums. It has also been shown to be an important structural component in nearly all connective tissue. There are quite a few great reasons we have this in VFuel!
OKG is a crucial component in how VFuel works. During prolonged or intense physical activities, ammonia breaks down your cells. OKG reduces the amount of ammonia produced by your cells and reduces the rate at which it accumulates. Therefore, you muscles don’t fatigue as quickly and recover faster. This is why huge gains are seen when using VFuel consistently during every training run and on race day.
L-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG) combines the power of ornithine with alpha-ketoglutaric acid. It promotes amino acid synthesis and protein availability. It increases protein synthesis, therefore lowering protein catabolism, improving insulin and somatropin secretion and increases absorption of amino acids and glucose to the muscles.
This too helps to rid the body of ammonia. It also increases nitric oxide which increases blood circulation. What ammonia is produced after the OKG has worked its magic is then detoxified by the citrulline malate.
You may be asking why ammonia is so bad. Here is a quick rundown.
- Ammonia is a waste (by product) created by muscle use. It breaks down muscles on a cellular level.
- It’s toxic and needs to get eliminated from the body
- If working hard, the body can’t adequately remove it and the ammonia buildup will cause muscle damage.
- It causes fatigue, pain, and the need for longer recovery time
Magnesium & Potassium Aspartate
Not only are these electrolytes essential to normal muscle function, but they also work in conjunction with OKG and Citrulline Malate to help detoxify and also help in the reduction of ammonia.
Sodium is simply salt. Citrate is a lactic acid buffer for the muscles. It helps regulate PH and buffers acidity buildup. This will help limit fatigue.
Please note that we are not intending for you to get all of your electrolyte needs from VFuel. We have an amount in there that will deliver very basic levels as a baseline. Everyone’s body uses electrolytes very differently. A high dose for one person may be a fraction of what another person needs. And varying external conditions (100 degree day vs a 20 degree day; humidity levels; elevation; just to name a few) make a very big difference on what amount of electrolytes your body needs. We recommend experimenting with external sources for your electrolyte needs, (solid food, salt pills, electrolyte replacement drink, etc…) whatever works best for you.
At approximately 10 mg per serving, we are using caffeine as a digestive aid and not a stimulant. Caffeine, in conjunction with Maltodextrin and Dextrose, increases the intestinal glucose absorption. It helps glucose absorption in the small intestines and helps avoid passage of simple sugars into the large intestines (which helps reduce micro build up and bloating).
Note: Not everybody can handle a lot of caffeine. If you find that you need or want more caffeine, we recommend getting this from additional sources, espresso beans for example. Too much caffeine can cause diarrhea and frequent urination. This can cause the body to quickly and easily become depleted of fluids and other essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphate, and potassium.
As an endurance athlete, your body uses certain things, such as sugars, fats, and proteins when you are engaged in your activity of choice. You need to replace these somehow. We have made VFuel with the capability of being able to provide fuel that your body needs to optimally perform. We know… of course we are going to say this. But let us explain just how we do things a bit differently.
Everything in our gel works together to provide a few different things. We aren’t just maltodextrin and fructose with a couple of aminos thrown in to be ‘different.’ In fact, many aminos that are used in some of our competitors gels aren’t necessary to replace until hours into an event.
First of all, as explained above, VFuel is very easy to digest. The most easily digestible gel on the market. So you can actually use it for long periods of time without negative Gi effects. We feel this is vitally important. We could have the most perfect supplement in the world but what would the point be if most people can’t digest it properly?
Next, many of our ingredients act as fantastic detoxifiers (OKG, Citrulline Malate). This prevents muscle damage as you’re engaged in your activity of choice, it promotes greater endurance, and it facilitates much faster recovery.
In addition, we use several different metabolic pathways to provide fuel to your body. We don’t just have malto and a simple sugar. That is just one of the many pathways to fuel your muscles. We also use MCT oil (fractionated coconut oil) as a way to get energy passively diffused through the Gi tract and used without much effort from your body. MCT oil requires very little energy for absorption, utilization, or storage, while, at the same time, being a dense source of calories. A perfect marriage for the endurance athlete. MCT also acts as a mild anti-inflammatory by killing some of the troublesome microorganisms in the Gi tract that cause irritation and inflammation. Also, the small amount of Glucuronolactone in VFuel helps to keep your glycogen levels in your liver at a more consistent and higher level allowing your liver to release the glucose that your body is calling for when you’re engaged in endurance sports.
While we do not have a complete protein in VFuel, it would just require far more preservatives than we were comfortable with, we do have several amino acids that help keep basal levels up in an effort to better utilize protein your body has on hand naturally. OKG, Citrulline, & Taurine are examples of this. These get depleted relatively quickly and, therefore, need to be replaced from the get go. We don’t have obscene amounts in the gel as we wanted to use the minimum effective dose. We have levels that are high enough to do their job, and do it well, but not so high that it is stacking or wasteful.
VFuel is a very complete endurance gel using innovative and varying pathways to fuel your body. This keeps certain systems in good working order without taxing them by flooding those pathways with more than they can handle. See, and feel, the difference for yourself. You won’t be sorry.
How to use VFuel
We highly recommend using VFuel for just about every training workout 30 minutes or longer. The recovery benefits are so great that it will help with overall long term fitness by allowing your muscles, and other bodily systems, to bounce back faster after just about any kind of workout. The delay of onset muscle fatigue is substantial and recovery times are noticeably less when using VFuel during your training.
Please note that these are just suggestions. We strongly recommend experimenting and finding the right level of VFuel intake for you over various workouts/races and under various outside factors such as terrain, exertion level, weather, etc… Everyone is different and you need to find what works for you! A 90kg male trying to set a PR in the marathon will require a different intake than a 45kg female simply wanting to finish a 100 mile run.
Consume one packet 15 minutes before your workout or race and take one packet just after you get finished with the workout or race. During the activity, take one packet every 30 – 45 minutes and always follow with water.
VFuel can be used as your primary source of calories for just about any distance or level of exertion. However, experiment with other options, such as solid foods, to supplement your caloric intake and do what works best for you. Some people take 3 gels per hour during a 100 mile run and that’s all they need. Others will consume one gel per hour and then get another 100-200 calories (depending on many variables) from other sources. Again, you know what you need. Do what works best for you. Get out there and see what your body needs.
There are a variety of ways to use VFuel Endurance Gel. Don’t think you have to simply consume directly from the packet every time. Get creative!
Some people prefer to squeeze two packets into approximately 600ml of water and use the bottle for both hydration and nutrition needs during their workout. This works great for cyclists as one would not need to open packets of gel while riding. You can vary the amount based on the length of the workout, weather conditions, intensity, or terrain.
If you don’t want to mess with opening packets during your workout and don’t want to put the gel directly into your water, you can always empty the packets into gal flasks. We recommend the Ultimate Direction flasks, but there are many that you can choose from. The 4oz (120ml) UD flask will hold approximately 4 packets. This makes it very easy to fuel while out on your run/bike. It also enables you to vary your gel intake. You could take a small squeeze every 10 minutes or take a full ounce every 30 minutes. It gives you a bit more freedom with your caloric intake. Note that in the coming years we do hope to offer some form of bulk gel.
On Your Food!
We have gotten emails with pictures of people using VFuel in some very creative ways. We’ve heard stories of one cyclist putting Peach Cobbler VFuel on his porridge before every ride. We have many tell us they use the various flavors in their morning coffee before a run or ride.
A note on electrolytes
Please note that VFuel does contain some potassium and magnesium. These are not in our formula with the purpose of adding electrolytes to your body. These are in there for their ammonia scavenging and antioxidant properties. We recommend getting your electrolytes from outside sources such as electrolyte tablets. The amount of electrolytes you may need on any given day or any given workout will vary greatly. Your needs on a 25 degree day on an hour long run will be completely different than that would be if you were 28 miles into a 50k on a 90 degree day. For a gel to have an ‘optimal’ level of electrolytes is simply inaccurate and misleading.
A note on Caffeine
Also note that we do have caffeine in our formula. This is not in there to act as a stimulant in any way. It is there to help your body absorb and utilize the carbs that are present more efficiently. It is a very small amount and only the most sensitive to caffeine will be able to feel any effect. If you do need additional caffeine during a workout or race we recommend looking to outside sources for your caffeine needs. Caffeine pills, caffeinated drinks, or espresso beans seem to work well for people looking for a little boost!
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