Popular Supplements for Athletes

There are several products on the market that claim to make you better, faster, and stronger. Because you care about your body and performance, these products may be very appealing.

Even though supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 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.

Take caution if the product claims that it is a quick and easy solution, it works for everyone, or it has a "secret formula." Do your research and consult a registered sports dietitian. Be wary when considering dietary supplements. See the table below for information on current popular supplements.

Supplement Claim to fame Fact or fiction?
Beta-Alanine
  • Improves high-intensity performance
  • Not enough evidence to back these claims.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
  • Slows onset of fatigue
  • Improves the immune system
  • Not proven to delay fatigue but has been shown to support immune function.
Caffeine
  • Burns more fat and spares carbohydrates
  • Does not increase fat burning or spare carbohydrate stores.
Carnitine
  • Increases fat burn
  • Not proven to increase fat burning as a supplement.
Creatine
  • Increases lean body mass (LBM) and strength
  • Has been proven to increase LBM and total body mass.
  • Does increase strength gains with exercise.
  • Not effective for all individuals.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
  • Improves endurance
  • Not proven to improve endurance
Pyruvate
  • Improves endurance
  • Decreases body fat for weight loss
  • Not proven to enhance endurance
  • Not enough evidence to support weight or fat loss claims

Resource: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Website