5 min read

The sports nutrition industry has enjoyed dynamic growth over the recent years and is projected to continue. In their latest market analysis report, Grand View Research predicts that the global sports nutrition market will expand at a 10.9% CAGR from 2021 to 2028 to reach USD 34.5 billion.¹ Now imagine the possible growth if brands could fill the female consumer whitespace.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics boasted the first-ever gender-balanced Olympic Games in history with almost 49% of participating athletes being women.² Those women excelled at the highest level of athletic competition exemplified by Olympic champions such as Simone Biles and Allyson Felix. Despite the skyrocket in female athletics, “only 2.5% of sports nutrition products explicitly target women”.³ Left to choose from products that were formulated and marketed for men, women are demanding female-focused products that can meet their fitness needs. 

The sports nutrition industry is failing women at all levels of athleticism – from recreational gym-goers to Olympic champions. Lumina Intelligence reports that just two specialist brands capture 68% of all reviews in the women’s sector of the market.³ When taken into account the global consumer power of women, the sports industry is doing itself a disservice by dismissing women as major consumers. The good news: nutraceutical brands that innovate effectively for women will dominate this untapped sector.

What are women concerned about?

There is plenty of distrust surrounding sports supplements among active women. Most of their options are limited to scaled-down versions of male-centric products with pastel colors and price markups. Tune into the female consumer by understanding their perspective.

  • Efficacy: Women are not seeing the results promised by supplement brands. It’s not surprising when women are severely underrepresented in clinical studies on sports nutrition. Brands who merely shrink formula dosages for female products worsens the problem. Active women are concerned about efficacy, not packaging and false promises. 
  • Gain their trust/best practices: When formulating for women, make them the priority. Include female subjects in clinical research when possible and pay special attention to the different nutritional needs of women. Ensure your products deliver what was promised with safe and tested ingredients.
  • Transparency: On average, women are more conscious about what they put in their bodies compared to men, so they’re more likely to care about the integrity of supplement ingredients. And yet, about 75.6% of pre-workout blends state B-alanine levels, whereas only 37.5% of womens’ pre-workouts state it.¹ Lack of transparency only frustrates consumers.
  • Gain their trust/best practices: Be clear about formulations, ingredients levels, and usage results. Consumer trends indicate women value natural, plant-based ingredients that support a variety of dietary lifestyles. Brands should strive for clean labels that explicitly state what the product does. No gimmicks and no tricks.
  • Variety: In general, fitness goals for women vary greater than those for men, but for the most part, women’s products only emphasize weight management. Whereas before when brands can attract female consumers with weight loss or fat burning products, brands now must now augment their product lines.
  • Gain their trust/best practices: Expand beyond weight management or hormone balancing products and address the wide range of women’s fitness goals. The key is to formulate products like protein supplements, pre-workouts, post-workouts, BCAAs, collagen supplements, and more, but specifically for women. Brands should also avoid excessive caffeine and offer non stimulatory or less caffeinated products. 

Women aren’t smaller men; they have different nutritional needs that require more female-focused research and unique formulations. Essentially, however, what active women want isn’t an elusive mystery – they want performance enhancement, muscle strengthening, and workout recovery. Now is the time to get ahead of the competition and take on the challenge of helping active women reach their fitness goals. 

Innovate with Senactiv®

Sourcing high quality, scientifically supported ingredients remains the top priority for competitive brands. Nuliv Science’s Senactiv® is an all-natural proprietary blend that enhances physical performance of both men and women. Powered by two highly purified and fractionated extracts from Panax notoginseng and Rosa roxburghii, the sports nutraceutical continues to push innovation. As the market’s unique sports senolytic compound, Senactiv® was clinically proven in 8 human clinical studies and 3 in vivo studies to help active people perform better. 

Senactiv® is the future of human performance

  • Instant energy: Senactiv® increases citrate synthase activity by 47% to convert glycogen into energy in muscle cells for an instant boost. Citrate synthase is an important enzyme in the process of ATP production within muscle tissues. This means the energy boost is derived naturally from the body’s own muscle cells, steering clear of jittery side effects. Without relying on caffeine for energy production, Senactiv is perfect for non-stimulatory formulations. 
  • Increases energy catalyst Citrate Synthase, a pace-making enzyme in the first step of the citric acid cycle (ATP), by 47% after a 60-min cycling exercise at 70% VO2 max.
  • Improve endurance: Glycogen accumulation rate is increased by 373% to provide more energy for longer workouts. In muscles, glucose is stored as an energy reserve in the form of glycogen. During physical activity muscle cells have to rely on glycogen for energy so more glycogen results in better endurance and longer lasting workouts. Moreover, in a cross-over human trial, Senactiv® was proven to increase high-intensity endurance performance by 20% at 80% VO2 max meaning muscles can work harder for longer.
  • Speeds up muscle fatigue recovery by increasing glycogen accumulation rate in the exercised muscle by 273% during the 3-h recovery after a 60 min cycling exercise at 80% VO2 max
  • Increases high-intensity Time-To-Exhauastion (TTE) by 20.4% in a Monark cycle ergometer exercise at 80% V02 max
  • Reduce recovery time: Senactiv® was clinically proven to mitigate muscle damage post work-out by decreasing lipid peroxidation and combating oxidative stress in muscle cells. After strenuous activity, muscles need time to recover and rebuild. Oxidative stress can compromise the integrity of muscle cells, making them more fragile and prone to tears. Reducing those harmful effects helps fortify muscle tissues and shorten the resting period. Additionally, the increase in glycogen accumulation helps replenish the depleted nutrients after a workout to relieve muscle soreness and fatigue. Senactiv® can help athletes avoid post out workout exhaustion so they can get back to it sooner.
  • Reduces Malondialdehyde (MDA), an oxidative stress marker, by 44% on day 4 after a repetition maximum (1-RM) test.
  • Reduces inflammation by decreasing IL-6 synthesis by 35% on day 4 after a weight lifting exercise.
  • Decreases Creatine Kinase (CK), a biomarker of damaged muscle, by 68% on day 4 after a repetition maximum (1-RM) test.
  • Regenerate cells: A key benefit of Senactiv® is promoting senolytic activity. Senolytics are a class of molecules that clear senescent (old) cells in the human body. Senescent cells are filled with byproduct wastes and can interfere with the function of nearby healthy cells. Strenuous exercise induces inflammation in muscle cells as the large energy consumption creates a high cellular turnover rate. To clear senescent muscle cells, the immune system deploys senolytics such as macrophages to the damaged area. They remove exercised muscle cells through phagocytosis and apoptosis to make room for new cellular generation. Senactiv® allows for growth of new, healthy muscle cells, primed for physical performance. 
  • Eliminates Senescence-associated-beta-galactosidase (SA-β-gal or SABG), a biomarker of senescent cell, by 63% after a 60 min Monark ergometer cycling exercise at 70% VO2 max (2) 
  • Eliminates P16INK4A+, a biomarker of senescent cell, by 86% after a 60 min Monark ergometer cycling exercise at 70% VO2 max (2, 4, 5, 9)

Key takeaway

Female athletes are both athletes and women. Naturally, women require different nutritional needs compared to their male counterparts but they also seek the same benefits all athletes do. Regardless of individual fitness goals, active people turn to sports supplements to optimize performance and support them on their fitness journeys. With Senactiv® from NuLiv Science, brands can achieve personalized formulations for all individuals.


  1. Grand View Research, Sports Nutrition Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, TOC, May 2021
  2. https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/news/tokyo-2020-first-ever-gender-balanced-games-record-number-of-competitors-para)
  3. Female-focused sports nutrition: Time to breach the niche? – Lumina Intelligence. https://www.lumina-intelligence.com/sports-nutrition-reports/female-focused-sports-nutrition-time-to-breach-the-niche/ (thomas morgan)
  4. Improved inflammatory balance of human skeletal muscle during exercise after  supplementations of the ginseng-based steroid Rg1. PLOS One. Jan 2015. (3 human trials) doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0116387. eCollection 2015. 
  5. Ginsenoside Rg1 supplementation clears senescence-associated β-galactosidase in exercising  human skeletal muscle. Journal of Ginseng Research. June 2018. (1 human trial) doi: 10.1016/j. jgr.2018.06.002. 
  6. Satellite cells depletion in exercising human skeletal muscle is restored by ginseng component  Rg1 supplementation. Journal of Functional Foods. April 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.jff.2019.04.032 (1  human trial). 
  7. Exercise against aging: Darwinian natural selection of fit and unfit cells inside the human body.  Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise. June 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s42978-019-0002-y (1 human  trial). 
  8. Aerobic exercise induces tumor suppressor p16ink4a expression of endothelial progenitor cells  in human skeletal muscle. Aging. July, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgr.2018.06.002 (1 human  trial). 
  9. Oral Rg1 supplementation strengthens antioxidative defense system against exercise-induced  oxidative stress in rat skeletal muscle. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.  2012. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-23 http://www.jissn.com/content/9/1/23 (in-vivo). 
  10. Ginsenoside Rg1 protects the liver against exhaustive exercise-induced oxidative stress in rats.  Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. June 2011. doi.org/10.1155/2012/932165  (in-vivo).