Sports nutrition has been widely discussed and talked about in the last few years. In fact, it has been receiving even more attention given that nutrition plays an important part in the performance of athletes.  Nutrition plays a critical role in producing energy and helps in recovering from exercise. Now, much like anxiety supplements, most of the sports nutrition supplements available for athletes have less scientific support for their ability to improve athlete training or performance. However, much like some of the best anxiety supplements, there are a host of sports nutrition supplements that have been shown to improve the athlete’s performance and recovery. 

Also, the FDA  does not regulate the safety and effectiveness of these supplements much like other anxiety supplements to deal with anxiety. In fact, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN) defines ergogenic acids and dietary supplements and how they are legally regulated. 

  • Dietary Supplements

The dietary supplement health and education act of 1994 (DHSEA) places dietary supplements in a special category of ‘foods’. This law defines dietary supplements as a product defines dietary supplements as products that contain dietary ingredients and have the objective of supplementing the diet. 


The term ‘dietary ingredients’ include minerals, vitamins, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances like enzymes, organ tissues, and glandular extracts.  In addition to this, these may also include extracts, metabolites, or concentrates of those substances. 


Further, dietary supplements are available in the form of powder, capsules, soft gels, tablets, gel-caps, or liquids and these are specifically for oral ingestion. 

Read:  What are the General Anxiety Disorder Symptoms?

  • Ergogenic Acids 

Ergogenic Acids may be nutritional ingredients, mechanical devices, training techniques, or any pharmacological or psychological techniques that help in improving the capacity for performing exercises or training adaptations. Further, these may help in preparing individuals to enhance recovery from exercise, exercise efficiency, or prevent injuries during rigorous training sessions.  

In addition to this, the ISSN also provides a classification of the nutritional supplements which is as follows. 

Categorizing Nutritional Supplements 

It is very important to study and assess the scientific literature available to be able to understand nutritional supplements. Taking this into consideration, nutritional supplements are divided into : 

  • Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy and Apparently Safe

 These include supplements that have a strong theoretical ground with most of the available research in appropriate populations. Further, the research is done using proper dosage to illustrate both the efficacy and safety of these supplements.  

  • Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support Efficacy

The supplements that come under this category have a strong scientific rationale for their use. However, the available research has not been able to generate consistent results that support their efficacy. Thus, such supplements need more research to be undertaken before researchers can figure out their effects. 

  • Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy or Safety

The supplements under this category do not have a concrete scientific rationale. Further, the available research shows a lack of efficacy of such nutritional supplements. understand what The ISSN categorizes nutritional supplements into the following three categories. 

Suggested Nutritional Ergogenic Acids – Minerals 

Nutrient Suggested Ergogenic Value Research Findings
Boron A dietary supplement that promotes muscle growth No available evidence for promoting muscle growth
Calcium Involved in tooth formation, nerve transmission, and blood clotting Provides no ergogenic effect on exercise performance
Chromium Proposed to increase lean body mass and reduce body fat levels Animal and early human research indicated chromium supplements resulting in increased lean body mass. But, recent studies suggest that such supplements do not improve lean body mass.  
Iron Increase aerobic performance in sports  Supplements do not improve aerobic performance unless the athlete is anemic. 
Magnesium Activates enzymes involved in protein synthesis. Also involved in ATP reactions Most studies suggest that magnesium supplements do affect exercise performance in athletes. 
Phosphorous Has been studied for its capacity to improve the three energy systems mainly oxygen system or aerobic capacity Controlled studies reveal that sodium phosphate supplements improved oxygen energy systems in endurance tasks.
Potassium An electrolyte that helps in controlling nerve transmission, fluid balance, and acid-base balance. Imbalance in potassium levels may lead to cramping in athletes No clear evidence for potassium supplementation leading to a reduction in muscle cramping. 
Selenium Sold as a supplement to increase the aerobic exercise performance No evidence for selenium supplements improving aerobic capacity
Sodium   Initial intense training results in loss of sodium due to sweat. Increased salt availability during heavy training helps in maintaining fluid balance
Vanadyl sulfate Vanadium has got increased attention as a supplement to increase muscle mass, increase power, and strength.  There is no evidence that Vanadyl sulfate has any effect on muscle mass, strength, or power 
Zinc The theory says that zinc reduces chances of upper respiratory tract infections in athletes  Studies show that zinc supplements during training minimize changes in the immune system due to exercise.


Dietary Supplements Categorization


Category Muscle Building Supplements Performance Enhancement
Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy and Apparently Safe
  • HMB
  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Essential Amino Acids (EAA)
  • Protein
  • β-alanine
  • Caffeine
  • Carbohydrate
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Water and sports drinks
Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support Efficacy
  • Adenosine-5′-Triphosphate (ATP)
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA)
  • Phosphatidic acid
  • L-Alanyl-L-Glutamate
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA)
  • Citrulline 
  • Essential amino acids (EAA)
  • Glycerol
  • HMB
  • Nitrates
  • Post-exercise carbohydrate and protein
  • Quercetin
  • Taurine
Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy or Safety
  • Agmatine sulfate
  • Alpha-ketoglutarate
  • Arginine
  • Boron
  • Chromium
  • Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)
  • D-Aspartic acid
  • Ecdysterone
  • Fenugreek extract
  • Gamma oryzanol (Ferulic acid)
  • Glutamine
  • Growth-hormone releasing peptides and Secretagogues
  • Isoflavones
  • Ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate
  • Prohormones
  • Sulfo-polysaccharides
  • Tribulus Terrestris
  • Vanadyl sulfate
  • Zinc-magnesium aspartate
  • Arginine
  • Carnitine
  • Glutamine
  • Inosine
  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)
  • Ribose  


Tags: , , , ,

Related Article


Leave a Comment