Supplements that claim to make you better, faster, and stronger can be very appealing, but be wary when considering athletic supplements. Most are not effective. A few may have some evidence that they work, but it is only very slight improvements. See the table below for information on some popular supplements.
|Supplement||Claim to fame||Fact or fiction?|
(C, E, CoQ10)
|Reduce inflammation and soreness||Studies show they can actually hinder performance. May be because oxidation is an important part of exercise training. (Caution: high doses of vit E can be harmful.)|
|Beta-Alanine||Improve performance, build muscle mass||Studies show conflicting results. Some studies show a slight improvement in brief, high-intensity effort.|
|Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)||Reduce fatigue, increase muscle growth, enhance performance.||Not enough evidence, study results are conflicting.|
|Caffeine||Decrease soreness, enhance performance.||Study results are conflicting, but some studies show it can reduce subjective feelings of exertion and fatigue. (Caution: high doses and long-term intake can lead to severe side effects.)|
|L-carnitine||Increase fat burn||Not enough evidence. Studies are small and of short duration, with conflicting results.|
|Citrulline||Increase oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscle.||Not enough evidence. One study showed worse performance.|
|Creatine||Increase strength and performance.||Some studies show it may increase strength and endurance with exercise.|
|Chromium Picolinate||Increase weight loss, improve body composition.||Studies show it does not improve weight loss, body composition, or strength.|
|Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)||Improve performance, decrease body fat.||Not proven to improve endurance or to decrease body fat.|
|Pyruvate||Improve endurance, decrease body fat for weight loss.||Majority of evidence shows that it does not improve athletic performance. Not enough evidence for weight loss.|
Did You Know…
Manufacturers are not required to prove that a supplement is safe, or that it does what it claims to do, before putting it on the shelf.
Be skeptical if a product claims that it is a quick and easy solution, that it works for everyone, or that it has a “secret formula.” Do your research and consult a registered sports dietitian.
Remember, good nutrition and proper training are the most important steps to improving athletic performance!
For More Information:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatright.org
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: https://ods.od.nih.gov