Comparing Popular Supplements for Athletic Performance

Athletes are competitive by nature and therefore always looking for something to give them the edge over others. This list common supplements athletes might hear about and what the research shows.


One study shows that beetroot juice can help people exercise up to 16% longer. The nitrate content in the juice was shown to reduce oxygen uptake which made exercising less tiring.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine make up about 1/3 of muscle protein. They are also important for building and maintaining muscles. Muscles have a greater needs for these amino acids during physical stress & intense exercise.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Refers to a group of 8 isomers that are structurally similar to linoleic acid (omega-6). Research has shown that CLA can enhance immunity, help build muscle, promote fat loss, and increase heart health.CLA inhibits lipoprotein lipase which is the enzyme that breaks down fat particles in the blood so they can be taken by fat cells and stored.


There are 10 coenzyme Q compounds that occur throughout nature but only CoQ10 is synthesized by humans. Ubiquinol is a reduced form of CoQ10 that is highly absorbed. It is used directly in human metabolism as a lipid-soluble antioxidant.


Plays an important role in the production of energy and builds muscle. It can be produced in the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Research supports its use in enhancing performance of high-intensity, short duration exercise, but does not provide profound endurance benefits.


Not considered an essential nutrient because it can be synthesized from the amino acids lysine & methionine in the body. It has been incorporated into nutrition products to reduce muscle soreness. It has been found to be an important factor in energy metabolism.

Whey Protein

This is typically a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. These are soluble in their native forms. It is rapidly digested which helps it to contribute to building lean muscle mass. It has also been used for satiety for weight management.


  • Becker, Mark. “Mass Appeal Fuels Sports Nutrition.” Nutraceuticals World. July/August 2014. 35-36.



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