Benefits of Performance-Enhancing Supplements | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for Our FREE Newsletter.

Benefits of Performance-Enhancing Supplements

November 14, 2012 | Brian Lebo

Must See Nutrition Videos


As long as athletes seek to improve their performance, there will be interest in performance-enhancing supplements. Unfortunately, few legislative or regulatory guidelines are in place to ensure that these products are safe or that they confer the benefits they claim. Read on to learn about some common supplements and whether and how they can safely improve your performance.

Vitamins

A chronic deficiency in some of the B-vitamins has been linked to a reduction in physical performance. Vitamins are especially useful to individuals who have nutritional "gaps" in their diets. Research indicates that a daily multi-vitamin may help prevent disease and contribute to overall health. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, which have the potential to reduce tissue damage following a workout or other sport activity.

Learn more about how to choose the best multivitamins.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine theoretically can be considered a performance-enhancing supplement. It may promote greater use of fat for energy rather than depending on glycogen (stored energy). However, research is inconclusive, showing no real link to athletic performance.

Creatine

Research has proven that creatine supplementation improves performance by providing energy for contracting muscles, allowing athletes to work out harder and longer. (Learn more about the benefits of creatine.) Creatine is especially useful for athletes who are training for or play sports that involve short bursts of strength, speed or power, like football or hockey. Experienced athletes can take five mg of creatine monohydrate each day.

Caffeine

Caffeine is found in foods like chocolate, soft drinks, coffee, and tea. A typical cup of coffee has 120mg of caffeine. Caffeine mainly acts as a central nervous system stimulant. Athletes who play sports that involve sustained effort lasting longer than an hour—like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, basketball and soccer—will benefit most from caffeine. Consume three to six mg per kilogram of body weight one hour before activity. Learn more about the amount of caffeine found in common drinks.

Protein

Protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery, making it very popular among athletes. While it's found in many foods, such as meat, fish, nuts and dairy, many athletes don't get enough through their normal diet to support muscle growth. Whey protein is the best option for athletes, because it is easily digestible, giving the muscles a quick burst of amino acids after a workout. Athletes should aim for about .8g of protein for every pound of body weight. When using a protein supplement, consume 20 to 25 grams of whey protein within 30 minutes after exercise. Check out STACK's Protein Guide for more information.

Learn more about the best supplements for athletes.

 

Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Right For You?

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

"Real" Fat-Burner Supplements

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

Soy vs. Whey Protein

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

Should I Take Creatine?

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

The 5 Most Effective Supplements for Baseball Players

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss