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Kinesiology and Health Promotion students working in a Sheridan lab

Sheridan researchers explore the effectiveness of BioSteel sports drinks on athletes

May 30, 2019

Sheridan has partnered with Canadian-owned BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc. to explore the effectiveness of its sports drinks on athletes. It’s the first example of authentic, third-party research being conducted at the college. With a robust complement of programs in applied health, in-house faculty expertise and a culture of applied research, Sheridan is well-positioned to collaborate with the globally-renowned company.

BioSteel positions itself in the sports drink market as an all-natural, high-quality alternative to those with fillers, artificial flavours and colours, and added stimulants like sugar and caffeine. Its mission is to create the healthiest and safest products of its kind. Professional athletes like National Hockey League forward Connor McDavid, golfer Brooke Henderson and the Toronto Blue Jay’s rising star Vlad Guerrero Jr., are among BioSteel’s team of endorsers.

Dr. Saro Farra, BioSteel Research Project Manager/Principal Investigator is overseeing the two-year project housed in the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies (FAHCS) at Sheridan. Dr. Farra brings to the role years of experience in the field of applied sport science and research. He was previously the Head of Physiology for the Podium Programme at the National Sports Institute of Malaysia and has worked with numerous high-performance athletes as they prepare for international competition.

“This research has the potential to better inform consumers about the effects of various sport drinks that are commercially available,” he says. “Our work will evaluate the effectiveness of BioSteel at improving physical and cognitive performance across different population groups and types of activity, while comparing those effects to other beverage options.”

To ensure impartiality and that quality, objective research is conducted, BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc. has provided Sheridan with general questions to explore, but Dr. Farra is tasked with establishing a research methodology and the scientific processes behind it. This will include double-blind trials like one such study currently underway involving experienced cyclists. Volunteers will consume water, a BioSteel drink and that of a competitor at different points in the experiment. They’ll undergo basic body composition tests, assessments of mood and cognition, maximal and submaximal cycling exercise and monitoring of heart rate, blood lactate and perceived effort.

FAHCS’ faculty, students and the program’s facilities will be looked to for involvement in these studies and to help deliver research results. Interdisciplinary opportunities are being explored as well. As more studies are developed, involvement from students in related programs will be sought for work-integrated learning experiences. Sheridan’s roster of varsity athletes and coaches will also serve as a valuable resource to tap into for volunteers. 

Dr. Michael O’Leary, FAHCS Dean at Sheridan, sees this opportunity as mutually invaluable to both parties. “The partnership will allow students to participate in exercise science research, which applies the theoretical concepts they learn in class, while in turn helping BioSteel with meaningful insights into their products,” he says. “It’s yet another fantastic opportunity for Sheridan to flex our applied research capabilities.”

John Celenza, co-founder and CEO of BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc. echoes the excitement shared by Dr. O’Leary: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Sheridan College as we feel it will continue to allow us to provide consumers with nothing but the truth when it comes to actual results and BioSteel products.”

Research will be conducted at Sheridan until early 2021 with an opportunity to renew the study for an additional three years.

Interested in being a research test subject? Contact Dr. Saro Farra.  

Learn more about Sheridan Research here.


Pictured top right: Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences - Kinesiology and Health Promotion students working in a Sheridan lab.