Sports Supplements to Improve Performance and Support Health

No matter what regime you wish to undertake for supplementation, if you general Food intake isnt correct and in place there will be no ergogenic benefit from supplementation at all.

  • It’s Important to have a Food First Approach to Nutrition
    • You Cannot Out Supplement a Bad Diet
  • Supplements Should Only be Used Once a Good Base Diet has Been Formed

What you should consider when looking at a Supplement

  • Efficacy – Does It Work?
  • What Conditions Does Each Supplement Work Best in?
  • Safety of the Supplement
  • What is the Required Dose?
  • Does it Need Acute or Chronic Supplementation

Ergogenic Aid Broadly Refers to Anything That Can Improve Performance Capacity:

  • Training Technique
  • Mechanical Device
  • Nutritional Practice
  • Pharmacological Method
  • Psychological Technique

The Best Supplements for Performance Improvement

  • Creatine is One Supplement that has Strong Evidence to Support its Efficacy
  • Creatine is one of the Basic Energy Stores within the Muscle and is a Naturally Occurring derivative of Amino Acids as shown in the image:

  • Creatine is stored in the muscles as Creatine Phosphate or Phosphocreatine (PCr)
  • PCr is metabolised to release energy to contracting muscles
  • Natural production of creatine within the body is 1-2g per day and creatine obtained from the diet is also usually 1-2g per day, totalling 2-4g per day
  • Creatine has a natural turnover rate of roughly 2g per day, whereby it is degraded into creatinine
  • Supplemental Creatine Increases Muscle Stores of PCr
  • Providing More Energy for High Intensity Exercise
  • Improving Performance


How Much Creatine?

  • After 28 days of creatine supplementation intramuscular PCr stores may be increased by 20-40%
  • There is a larger inter- individual variance in how people respond to creatine, with 30% of individuals known as non-responders










Which Creatine is Best?

  • Creatine monohydrate is the most effective form of creatine
  • Creatine monohydrate is currently the most effective ergogenic aid available to athletes to increase performance in high intensity sports


  • Caffeine exerts its effects by blocking adenosine receptors
  • After consuming 75-300mg of caffeine alertness, vigilance, reaction times and attention improve

What does caffeine do for performance?

  • There are positive effects of supplementation on performance measures following doses exceeding 200mg including:
    • Time to exhaustion
    • Time trial
    • Muscle strength & endurance
    • Sprints
  • Caffeine peaks within plasma after 60 minutes
    • Can exert its effect for up to 3-5 hours

  • May Delay Fatigue in Endurance and Strength Performance
  • May Reduce RPE (Doherty and Smith, 2005)
  • May Increase Fat Oxidation (But Does Not Influence Body Fat Loss)
  • RDA up to 400mg per day
  • Performance: 39 mg/kg Approximately 60 min Prior to Exercise
  • Cognitive Function: 12 mg/kg

Beta-Alanine for Sports

  • Beta-alanine has Ergogenic Potential Based on its Relationship with Carnosine
  • Carnosine is a Dipeptide Comprised of the amino Acids, Histidine and B-alanine
  • Carnosine Acts as a pH Buffer in Skeletal Muscle
  • Chronic -alanine Ingestion can Elevate Muscle Carnosine Content Up to 80% after 4-10 weeks supplementation

Increased Carnosine Due to Beta-alanine Supplementation Buffers Exercise Induced Acidosis Leading to a Increase in Muscle pH

This increase in pH results in an increase in work capacity and decrease time to fatigue

  • A dose in the range of 3-5g per day is needed to effectively raise carnosine levels
  • Does should be split into smaller doses throughout the day to prevent side effects
  • Performance benefits are only achieved after 10- 12 weeks of supplementation

Benefits of Beta Alanine

  • Benefits of beta alanine are only observed in short duration exercise that requires periods of power and speed lasting 1-4 minutes
  • In addition to beta alanine, sodium bicarbonate is a buffer but acts acutely as opposed to chronically with beta alanine


  • Athletes and practitioners should seek advice from suitably qualified and registered practitioners (e.g. SENr)
  • It is important when choosing to supplement to choose a reputable brand that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of the consumer and/or look for the inform choice logo on facilities and products which indicates a level of independent testing for substances that are banned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA)
  • For Athletes who are drug tested regularly they should look for the inform sport logo on products which indicates batch testing