Brent Luyckx, co-founder and CEO of 4Gold, started his career as a professional road cyclist but was stopped in 2015 when he suffered from Crohn’s disease.
He tells NutraIngredients, “My health problems became so severe because of inflammation in my bowel that I had to undergo surgery to remove part of my small and large intestines and my appendix.
“After that, I started looking for a healthier diet and looking for the best foods and supplements I could take to control my IBD.”
The athlete says he always felt that the sports nutrition supplements he was taking had a negative impact on his gut.
“My experience as a professional cyclist has shown me that there is a huge gap between science and sports nutrition. My colleagues and I felt that there was a lack of rigorous product testing and that cyclists tested positive for doping tests for contaminated products. And most of the products were not gastrointestinal friendly at all. I wanted to close this gap in order to develop better, science-based sports nutrition. “
He began to keep a food diary to find out the inflammatory ingredients in his diet.
“It was really a big quest to find out what the right food is for me. In my research I also became aware of the importance of DNA analysis. “
Around the same time, he began working with fellow elite cyclist Mathieu van der Poel and enduro motocross rider Axel Roelants, who shared his frustration with the inferior nutritional supplements on the market.
They launched their own range of nutritional supplements under the 4Gold brand in 2016 with a range of herbal (apart from whey protein) gastrointestinal friendly products, including an electroisotonic carbo-drink with four different carbohydrates with different absorption rates, a pre-workout Developed for endurance training with resveratrol, EGCG, Ashwagandha, Bacopa Monnieri and natural caffeine, a recovery shake with protein from algae, a whey powder with time release and a BCAA (10: 1: 1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, valine).
It wasn’t until 2018 that Luyckx spoke to his doctor about his difficulties finding the right diet that didn’t flare up his IBD, and he was put in touch with epigenetics expert Nikolaas Van Riet, who taught him all about the health benefits of DNA-based Nourishment.
Luyckx immediately brought Van Riet on board as Head of R&D at 4Gold and added a DNA test kit (with saliva collection) to the startup’s repertoire.
“DNA testing can provide insights into injury prevention, mental health, performance and recovery. Nutrient metabolism, choline production, and more.
“In the beginning only other athletes were interested in the kits, but now we have a combination of professional athletes and everyday consumers who want more insight into their eating habits and their health.”
Since the market launch, 4Gold’s product range has been expanded to include isotonic gels, organic and raw energy and protein bars, green fuel (powder from over 50 organic superfoods), intestinal support (2′-fucosyllactose HMO in 3 variants, depending on genetic predisposition), vitamin D capsules and pro-choline capsules.
The range is available online and the team plans to expand more specifically to new geographic areas in the coming years.