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Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, Active Root is a sports drink company committed to delivering innovative natural sports drinks to athletes of all levels. We use natural root ginger to help athletes keep their stomachs settled and balanced during exercise. We aim to improve athletic performance with a product made only from natural ingredients.
Active Root is used by athletes of all standards, from professional marathon runners, cyclists, triathletes and OCR racers to amateur sports enthusiasts and week-night joggers. We also work with multiple team sports clubs. Our products are available online as well as from sports retailers, pharmacists and outdoor stores.
The Active Root mascot is Ginger the fox. We chose Ginger after an encounter with a fox on the Edinburgh Meadows during a market research tasting session. He shot across the grass at a rate of knots, avoiding dogs and pedestrians then sprang over a wall. We were impressed!
"As an ultra runner, I have been on a mission to find sustenance that I can tolerate for hours at a time. I used Active Root at a recent British 100km Championship and I never got fed up of the taste, I never bonked, I felt there was a steady stream of energy throughout the race."
- Robert Turner, British 100km Ultra Running Champion
"OCR demands maximum performance from every muscle in your body and it's essential to be correctly fuelled & hydrated on race day. While using Active Root I have never felt the weakness set in when using just water, or nausea that can come from overly sweet sports drinks."
- Kieron Ross, OCR trainer @ Race Fitness
"It has been such a great help to be supported by Active Root for my nutrition. I am also delighted to be apart of your wonderful team! I used Active Root in the days prior to my race as well as on race day which was fantastic."
- Jemima Cooper, British Age Group Triathlete
"Riding long distances can be really testing for the digestive system. I have found that Active Root really calms my stomach helping me to maintain an appetite. The spice makes it great on the palette too and a refreshing change from the sweet drinks and snacks so often consumed when exercising. It has now become a integral part of my routine."
- Toby Willis, Endurance Cyclist
"Active Root has completely changed my training and racing. I’ve found it hard to find carbs that I can tolerate especially during high intensity work but Active Root has changed that and now I can push myself harder for longer and my training has improved. I’m hoping this translates into race results this coming season!"
- Juliette Strauss, Triathlete
"I drink Active Root because it tastes great and keeps my stomach well during my long runs in the Pentlands. I wouldn't go without it now!"
- Chiara Franzosi, Ultra Runner
"As an ultra runner I wouldn’t be without Active Root, with my long runs or races taking anywhere from 4 hours to 48 hours, I need something that not only keeps me going but also helps me keep my appetite."
- Lucja Leonard, Ultra-runner
"I drink Active Root for the taste but also because it is the only drink that I can keep having from the start to the finish line during my ultras. I tried different products, and with most of them I could not drink or eat after a certain distance. When I tried AR, I was surprised to find some appetite and not feel sick after a certain distance."
- Romain Borgeal, Ultra Runner and Triathlete
"I always struggled on the longer distances to fuel - I’d get a sore tummy and sick of all the food. I was struggling to find anything but messaged Active Root about their ingredients, and was overjoyed to find I could have it. And it’s perfect! I love that I can add as little or as much as I want to my water, and it doesn’t make me feel sick or give me any other nasty side effects that gels do."
- Kate Pearson, Triathlete and PT
- Ultra Runner Robert Turner tells us why he drinks Active Root!
Active Root was formed by sports enthusiasts Will Townsend and George Ashley.
Will, a keen marathon runner, often complained that mainstream sports drinks tended to upset his stomach during races. He believed there must be a better way of staying hydrated and energised without the accompanying side effects of nausea and stomach problems.
He remembered that his Mum had given him ginger beer to cure stomach ailments when he was a child. It tasted great and cured the problem. He wondered if there might be a way to get the benefits of ginger into a sports drink. With this interest piqued, Will worked with George and they experimented, mixing root ginger into water and carbohydrates. The aim was to create a sports drink that provided optimal hydration and energy with a flavour that was not too sweet or spicy. Crucially, it had to deliver the stomach settling benefits of ginger during exercise. After much trial and error in the kitchen, they came up with a starting recipe!
The team had created a basic sports drink and had a theory that the ginger in Active Root could reduce stomach problems. Now they had to test whether that was true.
Will found some journals containing proof that ginger does help reduce stomach discomfort and, particularly, nausea. You can read excerpts from the journals in our science section. The next stage was to see if those same benefits of ginger applied DURING and AFTER exercise.
At this point, sports and nutrition scientist Huw Stradling became involved in the project. Over a 12-week period he conducted trial tests on athletes running 5km races. With his guidance, the team analysed whether the consumption of a ginger isotonic beverage had an effect on an individual's gastro-intestinal (GI) discomfort. The study became the basis of Huw's Master’s thesis in Sports Nutrition. Using three variations; water, a ginger-based isotonic beverage and a carrot-based isotonic beverage, athletes compared measures of GI discomfort before, during and after exercise. The results showed that the ginger-based beverage significantly decreased nausea and general stomach discomfort in the pre and post-exercise phase.
Armed with strong evidence of ginger’s benefits, it was time to make a sports drink!
The next step was to ensure the ingredients in the formula worked in harmony with the stomach-settling effects of ginger. The best way to achieve this was to use natural ingredients as far as possible. After much testing, the solution emerged – a natural carbohydrate source, unbleached cane sugar and sea salt for electrolytes. This focus on natural ingredients made it possible to completely omit artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. Compared to factory-produced ingredients such as maltodextrin and glucose, the natural ingredients are kinder on the stomach, easier for the body to process, and they also taste much better!
What are the benefits of ginger?
Ginger has been used to cure nausea and sea sickness since ancient Chinese times. However, until now, its athletic performance benefits have never been properly applied. Active Root uses natural root ginger in all its products to help soothe the stomach and prevent gastric discomfort before, during and after exercise. Studies have shown that 30%-50% of endurance athletes suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort.
That’s hardly surprising given the impact on the body of activities such as running, cycling and swimming. Further information on how ginger can make you feel better during exercise are in our science section.
What ingredients does Active Root contain?
All four of the ingredients in Active Root are familiar and natural: unbleached cane sugar, citric acid, sea salt and natural root ginger. We have configured these ingredients into a formula that helps keep the body balanced, fuelled and hydrated for longer than similar products. Our formula is completely free of artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colours and was created with the help of our resident Sports Nutrition Scientist Huw Stradling. He has over five years’ experience of working on nutritional plans for high-level sports teams across the UK. Huw says, "Our simple ingredients profile creates a cleaner tasting, better performing product. Understanding what is going into the body helps athletes trust what they are drinking and how it will aid performance." Please read the positive feedback from athletes using Active Root.
Is Active Root vegan?
Yes! All the ingredients in Active Root are suitable for vegans and are produced using methods that do not introduce or use meat or derivatives of meat. Our products are manufactured under strict hygiene guidelines where no contaminants can be introduced to the recipe.
What’s the best way to get Active Root to dissolve?
Tip a single scoop of Active Root into your sports bottle and (depending upon how strong you prefer it) add 500-700ml of water. Tighten the bottle lid and shake vigorously, turning upside down repeatedly. Active Root uses unbleached cane sugar as a core carb so it will take about five minutes to dissolve – a little longer than processed powders. It is worth the wait, as the cane sugar in Active Root not only tastes great but is also a lower GI index compared to other fructose / glucose-based sports drinks. This means Active Root will deliver slower release carbs and help prevent the sugar spike produced by typical sports drinks.
When do I drink Active Root?
Active Root can be drunk before, during and after exercise. For more information see our hydration section.
Where can I buy Active Root?
You can buy Active Root online, at high street retailers and at events. Online outlets are the Active Root website (https://www.activeroot.co.uk/store) and Amazon Prime (goo.gl/tWw1iv). Among the high street stockists of Active Root are Tiso and Run4It. These can be found here.
Because we want to make sure all our products taste and work great we have our athletic brand ambassadors test our products regularly.
We are always listening for feedback and welcome any ideas or suggestions. Email email@example.com
Our manufacturing facility is in Glasgow, Scotland. A well established and trusted manufacturer, they can assure that all Active Root products are produced carefully and extensively batch tested.
All Active Root products are produced in a controlled sterile environment, free from nuts and dairy.
Active Root is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs.
Saving our oceans
At Active Root, we support the recycling of plastic to prevent it reaching our oceans. All our products are recyclable and we strive to reduce packaging waste. We have a bottle exchange initiative where we collect your old unwanted sports bottles and replace them with brand new ones. We deliver the old bottles to an approved recycling plant. Keep an eye out for our Bottle Exchange Initiative at events near you.