ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research ......ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations Chad M. Kerksick 1* , Colin D. Wilborn 2 , - [PDF Document] (2024)


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  • ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research ......ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations Chad M. Kerksick 1* , Colin D. Wilborn 2 ,


REVIEW Open Access ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations Chad M. Kerksick 1* , Colin D. Wilborn 2 , Michael D. Roberts 3 , Abbie Smith-Ryan 4 , Susan M. Kleiner 5 , Ralf Jäger 6 , Rick Collins 7 , Mathew Cooke 8 , Jaci N. Davis 2 , Elfego Galvan 9 , Mike Greenwood 10 , Lonnie M. Lowery 11 , Robert Wildman 12 , Jose Antonio 13 and Richard B. Kreider 10* Abstract Background: Sports nutrition is a constantly evolving field with hundreds of research papers published annually. In the year 2017 alone, 2082 articles were published under the key words sport nutrition. Consequently, staying current with the relevant literature is often difficult. Methods: This paper is an ongoing update of the sports nutrition review article originally published as the lead paper to launch the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2004 and updated in 2010. It presents a well- referenced overview of the current state of the science related to optimization of training and performance enhancement through exercise training and nutrition. Notably, due to the accelerated pace and size at which the literature base in this research area grows, the topics discussed will focus on muscle hypertrophy and performance enhancement. As such, this paper provides an overview of: 1.) How ergogenic aids and dietary supplements are defined in terms of governmental regulation and oversight; 2.) How dietary supplements are legally regulated in the United States; 3.) How to evaluate the scientific merit of nutritional supplements; 4.) General nutritional strategies to optimize performance and enhance recovery; and, 5.) An overview of our current understanding of nutritional approaches to augment skeletal muscle hypertrophy and the potential ergogenic value of various dietary and supplemental approaches. Conclusions: This updated review is to provide ISSN members and individuals interested in sports nutrition with information that can be implemented in educational, research or practical settings and serve as a foundational basis for determining the efficacy and safety of many common sport nutrition products and their ingredients. Keywords: Sports nutrition, Performance nutrition, Position stand, Review, Recommendations, Efficacy, Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Dietary supplements, Ergogenic aids, Weight gain, Hypertrophy, Strength, Capacity, Power Background Evaluating the scientific merit of articles and advertise- ments about exercise and nutrition products is a key skill that all sports nutrition professionals must possess. To assist members and other advocates of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) in keeping up to date about the latest findings in sports nutrition, the ISSN Exercise & Sports Nutrition Review: Research & Recommendations has been up- dated. The initial version of this paper was the first publication used to help launch the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN, ori- ginally called the Sports Nutrition Review Journal). This paper provides a definition of ergogenic aids and dietary supplements and discusses how dietary supplements are legally regulated. Other sections highlight how to evaluate the scientific merit of nu- tritional supplements and provide general nutritional strategies to optimize performance and enhance re- covery. Finally, a brief overview of the efficacy sur- rounding many supplements commonly touted to * Correspondence: [emailprotected]; [emailprotected] 1 Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, USA 10 Exercise & Sports Nutrition Lab, Human Clinical Research Facility, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated. Kerksick et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2018) 15:38

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ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research ......ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations Chad M. Kerksick 1* , Colin D. Wilborn 2 , - [PDF Document] (3)

REVIEW Open Access

ISSN exercise & sports nutrition reviewupdate: research & recommendationsChad M. Kerksick1* , Colin D. Wilborn2, Michael D. Roberts3, Abbie Smith-Ryan4, Susan M. Kleiner5, Ralf Jäger6,Rick Collins7, Mathew Cooke8, Jaci N. Davis2, Elfego Galvan9, Mike Greenwood10, Lonnie M. Lowery11,Robert Wildman12, Jose Antonio13 and Richard B. Kreider10*


Background: Sports nutrition is a constantly evolving field with hundreds of research papers published annually. Inthe year 2017 alone, 2082 articles were published under the key words ‘sport nutrition’. Consequently, staying currentwith the relevant literature is often difficult.

Methods: This paper is an ongoing update of the sports nutrition review article originally published as the lead paperto launch the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2004 and updated in 2010. It presents a well-referenced overview of the current state of the science related to optimization of training and performanceenhancement through exercise training and nutrition. Notably, due to the accelerated pace and size at whichthe literature base in this research area grows, the topics discussed will focus on muscle hypertrophy andperformance enhancement. As such, this paper provides an overview of: 1.) How ergogenic aids and dietarysupplements are defined in terms of governmental regulation and oversight; 2.) How dietary supplements arelegally regulated in the United States; 3.) How to evaluate the scientific merit of nutritional supplements; 4.)General nutritional strategies to optimize performance and enhance recovery; and, 5.) An overview of our currentunderstanding of nutritional approaches to augment skeletal muscle hypertrophy and the potential ergogenic value ofvarious dietary and supplemental approaches.

Conclusions: This updated review is to provide ISSN members and individuals interested in sports nutritionwith information that can be implemented in educational, research or practical settings and serve as a foundationalbasis for determining the efficacy and safety of many common sport nutrition products and their ingredients.

Keywords: Sports nutrition, Performance nutrition, Position stand, Review, Recommendations, Efficacy, Double-blind,Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Dietary supplements, Ergogenic aids, Weight gain, Hypertrophy, Strength, Capacity,Power

BackgroundEvaluating the scientific merit of articles and advertise-ments about exercise and nutrition products is a keyskill that all sports nutrition professionals must possess.To assist members and other advocates of theInternational Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) inkeeping up to date about the latest findings in sportsnutrition, the ISSN Exercise & Sports Nutrition

Review: Research & Recommendations has been up-dated. The initial version of this paper was the firstpublication used to help launch the Journal of theInternational Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN, ori-ginally called the Sports Nutrition Review Journal).This paper provides a definition of ergogenic aidsand dietary supplements and discusses how dietarysupplements are legally regulated. Other sectionshighlight how to evaluate the scientific merit of nu-tritional supplements and provide general nutritionalstrategies to optimize performance and enhance re-covery. Finally, a brief overview of the efficacy sur-rounding many supplements commonly touted to

* Correspondence: [emailprotected]; [emailprotected] and Performance Nutrition Laboratory, School of Health Sciences,Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, USA10Exercise & Sports Nutrition Lab, Human Clinical Research Facility, TexasA&M University, College Station, TX, USAFull list of author information is available at the end of the article

© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link tothe Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Kerksick et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2018) 15:38



ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research ......ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations Chad M. Kerksick 1* , Colin D. Wilborn 2 , - [PDF Document] (4)

promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improve phys-ical performance is provided. Based upon the available sci-entific literature testing the efficacy and safety of thenutritional supplements discussed herein, all nutritionalsupplements discussed in this paper have been placed intothree categories based upon the quality and quantity ofscientific support available:

A) Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy and ApparentlySafe

B) Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support EfficacyC) Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy and/or


Since the last published version of this document in2010 [1], the general approach to categorization has notchanged, but several new supplements have been intro-duced to the market and are subsequently reviewed inthis article. In this respect, many supplements have hadadditional studies published that has led to some supple-ments being placed into a different category or removedfrom the review altogether. We understand and expectthat some individuals may not agree with our interpreta-tions of the literature or what category we have assigneda particular supplement, but it is important to appreciatethat some classifications may change over time as moreresearch becomes available.

Definition of an ergogenic aidAn ergogenic aid is any training technique, mechanicaldevice, nutritional ingredient or practice, pharmacologicalmethod, or psychological technique that can improveexercise performance capacity or enhance training adapta-tions [2–4]. Ergogenic aids may help prepare an individualto exercise, improve exercise efficiency, enhance recoveryfrom exercise, or assist in injury prevention during intensetraining. Although this definition seems rather straightfor-ward, there is considerable debate regarding the ergogenicvalue of various nutritional supplements. A consensusexists to suggest that a nutritional supplement is ergogenicif peer-reviewed studies demonstrate the supplementsignificantly enhances exercise performance followingweeks to months of ingestion (e.g., promotes increases inmaximal strength, running speed, and/or work during agiven exercise task). On the other hand, a supplementmay also have ergogenic value if it acutely enhances theability of an athlete to perform an exercise task orenhances recovery from a single exercise bout. The ISSNhas adopted a broader view regarding the ergogenic valueof supplements. While the muscle building and perform-ance enhancing effects of a supplement on a single boutof exercise may lead to eventual ergogenic effects or opti-mized training adaptations, our view is that such evidencedoes not warrant “Excellent Evidence to Support Efficacy”

if there is a lack of long-term efficacy data. Herein, we haveadopted the view that a supplement is clearly ergogenic ifmost of human studies support the ingredient as beingeffective in promoting further increases in muscle hyper-trophy or performance with exercise training. Conversely,supplements that fall short of this standard and are onlysupported by preclinical data (e.g., cell culture or rodentstudies) are grouped into other categories.

Definition and regulation of dietary supplementsThe Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)and the safety of dietary supplementsCongress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Edu-cation Act of 1994 (DSHEA), placing dietary supplementsin a special category of “foods”. In October 1994, PresidentClinton signed DSHEA into law. This statute was enactedamid claims that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)was distorting the then-existing provisions of the Food,Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) to improperly deprive thepublic of safe and popular dietary supplement products.The law defines a “dietary supplement” as a product that

is intended to supplement the diet and contains a “dietaryingredient”. By definition, “dietary ingredients” in theseproducts may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or otherbotanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes,organ tissues, and glandular extracts. Further, dietary ingre-dients may also include extracts, metabolites, or concen-trates of those substances. Dietary supplements may befound in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gel-caps, liquids, or powders, but may only be intended for oralingestion. Dietary supplements cannot be marketed or pro-moted for sublingual, intranasal, transdermal, injected, orin any other route of administration except oral ingestion.A supplement can be in other forms, such as a bar, as longas the information on its label does not represent the prod-uct as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet.Indeed, DSHEA clearly defines “dietary supplements”

and “dietary ingredients,” it sets certain criteria for “newdietary ingredients,” and the law prevents the FDA fromoverreaching. Additionally, and contrary to widespreadopinion, DSHEA did not leave the industry unregulated.The dietary supplement industry is in fact regulated bythe FDA as a result of DSHEA. The law ensures the au-thority of the FDA to provide legitimate protections forthe public health. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)also continues to have jurisdiction over the marketingclaims that dietary supplement manufacturers or compan-ies make about their products. The FDA and FTC operatein a cooperative fashion to regulate the dietary supple-ment industry. In this respect, the extent to which infor-mation is shared and jurisdiction between these twoentities overlaps with regard to marketing and advertisingdietary supplements continues to increase.

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In the United States, dietary supplements are classifiedas food products, not drugs, and there is generally nomandate to register products with the FDA or obtain FDAapproval before producing or selling supplements to con-sumers. However, if a dietary supplement manufacturer ismaking a claim about their product, the company mustsubmit the claims to FDA within 30 days of marketing theproduct. Compare this, for example, with Canada whereunder the Natural Health Product (NHP) Regulationsenacted in 2004 supplements must be reviewed, approved,and registered with Health Canada. The rationale for theU.S. model is based on a presumed long history of safe use;hence there is no need to require additional safety data.DSHEA also requires supplement marketers to include

on any label displaying structure/function claims (i.e.,claims that the product affects the structure or function ofthe body) the mandatory FDA disclaimer “This statementhas not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administra-tion. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure,or prevent any disease.” Opponents of dietary supplementsoften cite this statement as evidence that the FDA doesnot review or approve dietary supplements. However, mostdietary ingredients have been “grandfathered in” asDSHEA-compliant ingredients due to a long history of safeuse, and those products containing new ingredients mustbe submitted by a notification to the FDA for a safety re-view prior to being brought to market. Although manydietary ingredients have been introduced into dietary sup-plements since October 1994 and have not been submittedto the FDA for a safety review, nutritional supplementationwrit large is generally safe. In this regard, while there areover 50,000 dietary supplements registered with the Officeof Dietary Supplement’s “Dietary Supplement Label Data-base”, a 2013 Annual Report (released in 2015) of theAmerican Association of Poison Control Centers revealedzero fatalities occurred due to dietary supplementscompared to 1692 deaths due to drugs [5]. Perhaps morealarming is a 2015 report by the Centers for DiseaseControl suggesting 2,287,273 emergency room visits weredue to prescription drug-related events which dwarfs the3266 emergency room visits due to dietary supplements(adjusted from 23,000 visits after excluding cases of olderadults choking on pills, allergic reactions, unsupervisedchildren consuming too many vitamins, and persons con-suming ingredients not defined by DSHEA as a dietarysupplement) [5]. Furthermore, a recent Healthcare Costand Utilization Project Statistical Brief by Lucado et al. [6]reported approximately one in six Americans sufferedfrom food borne illnesses in 2010, and food borne illnesseswere associated with over 3.7 million treat-and-releaseemergency department visits, 1.3 million inpatient hospitalstays, and 3000 deaths. Notwithstanding, there have beencase reports of liver and kidney toxicity potentially causedby supplements containing herbal extracts [7] as well as

overdoses associated with pure caffeine anhydrous inges-tion [8]. Collectively, the aforementioned statistics and casereports demonstrate that while generally safe, as with foodor prescription drug consumption, dietary supplementconsumption can lead to adverse events in spite of DSHEAand current FDA regulations described below.

New dietary ingredientsRecognizing that new and untested dietary supplementproducts may pose unknown health issues, DSHEA distin-guishes between products containing dietary ingredientsthat were already on the market and products containingnew dietary ingredients that were not marketed prior tothe enactment of the law. A “new dietary ingredient”(NDI) is defined as a dietary ingredient that was not mar-keted in the United States before October 15, 1994.DSHEA grants the FDA greater control over supplementscontaining NDIs. A product containing an NDI is deemedadulterated and subject to FDA enforcement sanctions un-less it meets one of two exemption criteria: either (1) thesupplement in question contains “only dietary ingredientswhich have been present in the food supply as an articleused for food in a form in which the food has not beenchemically altered”; or (2) there is a “history of use or otherevidence of safety” provided by the manufacturer or dis-tributor to the FDA at least 75 days before introducing theproduct into interstate commerce. The first criterion is si-lent as to how and by whom presence in the food supplyas food articles without chemical alteration is to be estab-lished. The second criterion—applicable only to new diet-ary ingredients that have not been present in the foodsupply—requires manufacturers and distributors of theproduct to take certain actions. Those actions include sub-mitting, at least 75 days before the product is introducedinto interstate commerce, information that is the basis onwhich a product containing the new dietary ingredient is“reasonably expected to be safe.” That information wouldinclude: (1) the name of the new dietary ingredient and, ifit is an herb or botanical, the Latin binomial name; (2) adescription of the dietary supplement that contains thenew dietary ingredient, including (a) the level of the newdietary ingredient in the product, (b) conditions of use ofthe product stated in the labeling, or if no conditions ofuse are stated, the ordinary conditions of use, and (c) ahistory of use or other evidence of safety establishing thatthe dietary ingredient, when used under the conditionsrecommended or suggested in the labeling of the dietarysupplement, is reasonably expected to be safe.In July 2011, the FDA released a Draft Guidance for

Industry, entitled “Dietary Supplements: New DietaryIngredient Notifications and Related Issues.” While aguidance does not carry the authority or the enforceabil-ity of a law or regulation, the FDA’s NDI draft guidancerepresented the agency’s current thinking on the topic.

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The guidance prompted great controversy, and FDAagreed to issue a revised draft guidance to address someof the issues raised by industry. In August 2016, FDA re-leased a revised Draft Guidance that replaced the 2011Draft Guidance. The purpose of the 2016 Draft Guid-ance was to help manufacturers and distributors decidewhether to submit a premarket safety notification toFDA, help prepare NDI notifications in a manner thatallows FDA to review and respond more efficiently andquickly, and to improve the quality of NDI notifications.The 2016 Draft Guidance has been criticized by industryand trade associations for its lack of clarity and otherproblems. Some of these issues include the lack of clarityregarding Pre-DSHEA, (Grandfathered), ingredients andFDA requiring an NDI notification even if anothermanufacturer has submitted a notification.The lack of clarity surrounding the “new” Draft Guid-

ance has led to many NDI notifications being rejected byFDA for lack of safety data and other issues. Other com-panies have opted to utilize the “Self-Affirmed GenerallyRecognized as Safe (GRAS)” route in order to “bypass” theNDI notification process. Self-Affirmed GRAS is when acompany has a team of scientific experts evaluate the safetyof their ingredient. There is no requirement that the safetydossier be submitted to FDA but is used by the companyas an internal document that may be relied upon if theingredient is challenged by the FDA. FDA has expressedits concern with this practice and does not encourage diet-ary supplement manufacturers to use Self-Affirmed GRASto avoid submitting NDI notifications. In any event, thelikelihood of another revised Draft Guidance from FDAbecoming available in the future is high, and possibly moreenforcement actions taken against companies that marketan NDI without submitting a notification.

Adverse event reportingIn response to growing criticism of the dietary supplementindustry, the 109th Congress passed the first mandatoryAdverse Event Reporting (AER) legislation for the dietarysupplement industry. In December 2006, President Bushsigned into law the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescrip-tion Drug Consumer Protection Act, which took effect onDecember 22, 2007. After much debate in Congress andinput from the FDA, the American Medical Association(AMA), many of the major supplement trade associations,and a host of others all agreed that the legislation was ne-cessary and the final version was approved by all. In short,the Act requires that all “serious adverse events” regardingdietary supplements be reported to the Secretary of Healthand Human Services. The law strengthens the regulatorystructure for dietary supplements and builds greater con-sumer confidence, as consumers have a right to expectthat if they report a serious adverse event to a dietarysupplement marketer the FDA will be advised about it.

An adverse event is any health-related event associatedwith the use of a dietary supplement that is adverse. Aserious adverse event is an adverse event that (A) results in(i) death, (ii) a life-threatening experience, (iii) inpatienthospitalization, (iv) a persistent or significant disability orincapacity, or (v) a congenital anomaly or birth defect; or(B) requires, based on reasonable medical judgment, amedical or surgical intervention to prevent an outcomedescribed under subparagraph (A). Once it is determinedthat a serious adverse event has occurred, the manufac-turer, packer, or distributor (responsible person) of a dietarysupplement whose name appears on the label of thesupplement shall submit to the Secretary of Health andHuman Services any report received of the serious adverseevent accompanied by a copy of the label on or within theretail packaging of the dietary supplement. The responsibleperson has 15 business days to submit the report to FDAafter being notified of the serious adverse event. Followingthe initial report, the responsible person must submitfollow-up reports of new medical information that theyreceive for one-year.

Adulterated supplementsThe FDA has various options to protect consumers fromunsafe supplements. The Secretary of the Department ofHealth and Human Services (which falls under FDA over-sight) has the power to declare a dangerous supplement tobe an “imminent hazard” to public health or safety andimmediately suspend sales of the product. The FDA alsohas the authority to protect consumers from dietarysupplements that do not present an imminent hazard tothe public but do present certain risks of illness or injuryto consumers. The law prohibits introducing adulteratedproducts into interstate commerce. A supplement shall bedeemed adulterated if it presents “a significant or unrea-sonable risk of illness or injury”. The standard does notrequire proof that consumers have actually been harmedor even that a product will harm anyone. It was under thisprovision that the FDA concluded that dietary supplementscontaining ephedra, androstenedione, and DMAA pre-sented an unreasonable risk. Most recently, FDA imposedan importation ban on the botanical Mitragyna speciose,better known as Kratom. In 2016, FDA issued Import Alert#54–15, which allows for detention without physical exam-ination of dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredientsthat are, or contain, Kratom. Criminal penalties are presentfor a conviction of introducing adulterated supplementproducts into interstate commerce. While the harms asso-ciated with dietary supplements may pale in comparison tothose linked to prescription drugs, recent pronouncementsfrom the U.S. Department of Justice confirm that thesupplement industry is being watched vigilantly to protectthe health and safety of the American public.

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Good manufacturing practicesWhen DSHEA was passed in 1994, it contained aprovision requiring that the FDA establish and enforcecurrent Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) for diet-ary supplements. However, it was not until 2007 that thecGMPs were finally approved, and not until 2010 that thecGMPs applied across the industry, to large and smallcompanies alike. The adherence to cGMPs has helpedprotect against contamination issues and should serve toimprove consumer confidence in dietary supplements.The market improved as companies became compliantwith cGMPs, as these regulations imposed more stringentrequirements such as Vendor Certification, DocumentControl Procedures, and Identity Testing. These compli-ance criteria addressed the problems that had damagedthe reputation of the industry with a focus on quality con-trol, record keeping, and documentation.However, it does appear that some within the industry

continue to struggle with compliance. In Fiscal Year 2017,it was reported that approximately 23.48% of the FDA’s656 total cGMP inspections resulted in citations for failingto establish specifications for the identity, purity, strength,and composition of dietary supplements. Further, 18.47%of those inspected were cited for failing to establish and/or follow written procedures for quality control opera-tions. Undoubtedly, relying on certificates of analysis fromthe raw materials supplier without further testing, or fail-ing to conduct identity testing of a finished product, canresult in the creation of a product that contains somethingit should not contain such as synthetic chemicals or evenpharmaceutical drugs. All members of the industry needto ensure compliance with cGMPs.

Marketing claimsAccording to the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and EducationAct (NLEA), the FDA can review and approve healthclaims (claims describing the relationship between a foodsubstance and a reduced risk of a disease or health-relatedcondition) for dietary ingredients and foods. However,since the law was passed it has only approved a few claims.The delay in reviewing health claims of dietary supplementingredients resulted in a lawsuit, Pearson v. Shalala, filedin 1995. After years of litigation, in 1999 the U.S. Court ofAppeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled thatqualified health claims may be made about dietary supple-ments with approval by FDA, as long as the statements aretruthful and based on adequate science. Supplement orfood companies wishing to make health claims or qualifiedhealth claims about supplements can submit researchevidence to the FDA for review.The FTC also regulates the supplement industry. Un-

substantiated claims invite enforcement by the FTC (alongwith the FDA, state district attorney offices, groups likethe Better Business Bureau, and plaintiff ’s lawyers who file

class action lawsuits). The FTC has typically applied a sub-stantiation standard of “competent and reliable scientificevidence” to claims about the benefits and safety of dietarysupplements. FTC case law defines “competent and reliablescientific evidence” as “tests, analyses, research, studies, orother evidence based on the expertise of professionals inthe relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluatedin an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, usingprocedures generally accepted in the profession to yieldaccurate and reliable results.” The FTC has claimed thatthis involves providing at least two clinical trials showingefficacy of the actual product, within a population ofsubjects relevant to the target market, supporting thestructure/function claims that are made. While the exactrequirements are still evolving, the FTC has acted againstseveral supplement companies for misleading advertise-ments and/or structure/function claims.

A safer industry aheadAs demonstrated, while some argue that the dietarysupplement industry is “unregulated” and/or may havesuggestions for additional regulation, manufacturers anddistributors of dietary supplements must adhere to severalfederal regulations before a product can go to market. Fur-ther, before marketing products, they must have evidencethat their supplements are generally safe to meet all therequirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations. For thisreason, over the last 20 years, many established supple-ment companies have employed research and develop-ment directors who help educate the public aboutnutrition and exercise, provide input on product develop-ment, conduct preliminary research on products, and/orassist in coordinating research trials conducted by inde-pendent research teams (e.g., university-based researchersor clinical research sites). These companies also consultwith marketing and legal teams with the responsibility toensure structure/function claims do not misrepresent re-sults of research findings. This has increased job oppor-tunities for sports nutrition specialists as well as enhancedexternal funding opportunities for research groups inter-ested in exercise and nutrition research.While some companies have falsely attributed research

on different dietary ingredients or dietary supplements totheir own products, suppressed negative research findings,and/or exaggerated results from research studies, thetrend in the sports nutrition industry has been to developscientifically sound supplements. This trend towardgreater research support is the result of: (1) attempts tohonestly and accurately inform the public about results;(2) efforts to obtain data to support safety and efficacy onproducts for the FDA and the FTC; and/or, (3) endeavorsto provide scientific evidence to support advertising claimsand increase sales. While the push for more research isdue in part to greater scrutiny from the FDA and FTC, it

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is also in response to an increasingly competitive market-place where established safety and efficacy attracts moreconsumer loyalty and helps ensure a longer lifespan forthe product in commerce. Companies that adhere to theseethical standards tend to prosper while those that do notwill typically struggle to comply with FDA and FTC guide-lines resulting in a loss of consumer confidence and anearly demise for the product.

Product development and quality assuranceA common question posed by athletes, parents, and profes-sionals surrounding dietary supplements relates to howthey are manufactured and perceived supplement quality.In several cases, established companies who develop dietarysupplements have research teams who scour the medicaland scientific literature looking for potentially effectivenutrients. These research teams often attend scientificmeetings and review the latest patents, research abstractspresented at scientific meetings, and research publications.Leading companies invest in basic research on nutrientsbefore developing their supplement formulations and oftenconsult with leading researchers to discuss ideas about diet-ary supplements and their potential for commercialization.Other companies wait until research has been presented inpatents, research abstracts, or publications before develop-ing nutritional formulations featuring the nutrient. Uponidentification of new nutrients or potential formulations,the next step is to contact raw ingredient suppliers to see ifthe nutrient is available, if it is affordable, how much of itcan be sourced and what is the available purity. Sometimes,companies develop and pursue patents involving new pro-cessing and purification processes because the nutrient hasnot yet been extracted in a pure form or is not available inlarge quantities. Reputable raw material manufacturersconduct extensive tests to examine purity of their raw in-gredients. When working on a new ingredient, companiesoften conduct series of toxicity studies on the new nutrientonce a purified source has been identified. The companywould then compile a safety dossier and communicate it tothe FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient submission, with thehopes of it being allowed for lawful sale.When a powdered formulation is designed, the list of in-

gredients and raw materials are typically sent to a flavoringhouse and packaging company to identify the best way toflavor and package the supplement. In the nutrition indus-try, several main flavoring houses and packaging companiesexist who make many dietary supplements for supplementcompanies. Most reputable dietary supplement manufac-turers submit their production facilities to inspection fromthe FDA and adhere to GMP, which represent industrystandards for good manufacturing of dietary supplements.Some companies also submit their products for independ-ent testing by third-party companies to certify that theirproducts meet label claims and that the product is free of

various banned ingredients. For example, the certificationservice offered by NSF International includes product test-ing, GMP inspections, ongoing monitoring and use of theNSF Mark indicating products comply with inspectionstandards, and screening for contaminants. More recently,companies have subjected their products for testing bythird party companies to inspect for banned or unwantedsubstances. These types of tests help ensure that the dietarysupplement made available to athletes do not containedsubstances banned by the International Olympic Commit-tee or other athletic governing bodies (e.g., NFL, NCAA,MLB, NHL, etc.). While third-party testing does not guar-antee that a supplement is void of banned substances, thelikelihood is reduced (e.g., Banned Substances ControlGroup, Informed Choice, NSF, etc.). Moreover, consumerscan request copies of results of these tests and each prod-uct that has gone through testing and earned certificationcan be researched online to help athletes, coaches and sup-port staff understand which products should be consid-ered. In many situations, companies who are not willing toprovide copies of test results or certificates of analysisshould be viewed with caution, particularly for individualswhose eligibility to participate might be compromised if atainted product is consumed.

Evaluation of nutrition ergogenic aidsThe ISSN recommends that potential consumers under-take a systematic process of evaluating the validity and sci-entific merit of claims made when assessing the ergogenicvalue of a dietary supplement [1, 4]. This can be accom-plished by examining the theoretical rationale behind thesupplement and determining whether there is any well-controlled data showing the supplement is effective. Sup-plements based on sound scientific rationale with direct,supportive research showing effectiveness may be worthtrying or recommending. However, those based on un-sound scientific results or offer little to no data supportingthe ergogenic value of the actual supplement/techniquemay not be worthwhile. Sports nutrition specialists shouldbe a resource to help their clients interpret the scientificand medical research that may impact their welfare andhelp them train more effectively. The following are recom-mended questions to ask when evaluating the potentialergogenic value of a supplement.

Does the theory make sense?Most supplements that have been marketed to improvehealth or exercise performance are based on theoreticalapplications derived from basic science or clinical researchstudies. Based on these preliminary studies, a dietaryapproach or supplement is often marketed to peopleproclaiming the benefits observed in these basic researchstudies. Although the theory may appear relevant, criticalanalysis of this process often reveals flaws in the scientific

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logic or that the claims made do not quite match up withthe cited literature. By evaluating the literature one candiscern whether or not a dietary approach or supplementhas been based on sound scientific evidence. To do so, oneis recommended to first read reviews about the trainingmethod, nutrient, or supplement from researchers whohave been intimately involved in the available research andconsult reliable references about nutritional and herbalsupplements [1, 9]. To aid in this endeavour, the ISSN haspublished position statement on topics related to creatine[10], protein [11], beta-alanine [12], nutrient timing [13],caffeine [14], HMB [15], meal frequency [16], energy drinks[17], and diets and body composition [18]. Each of thesedocuments would be excellent resources for any of thesetopics. In addition, other review articles and consensusstatements have been published by other researchers andresearch groups that evaluate dietary supplements, offerrecommendations on interpreting the literature, anddiscuss the available findings for several ingredients thatare discussed in this document [19–21]. We also adviseconsumers to conduct a search on the nutrient, key ingre-dients or the supplement itself on the National Library ofMedicine’s Pub Med Online (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.-gov/pubmed/). A quick look at these references will oftenhelp determine if the theoretical impetus for supplement-ing with an ingredient is plausible or not. Proponents ofergogenic aids often overstate claims made about trainingdevices and dietary supplements while opponents of ergo-genic aids and dietary supplements are often either un-aware or are ignorant of research supporting their use.Sports nutrition specialists have the responsibility to knowthe literature and search available databases to evaluatethe level of merit surrounding a proposed ergogenic aid.

Is the supplement legal and safe?An initial question that should be asked is whether thesupplement is legal and/or safe. Some athletic associationshave banned the use of various nutritional supplements(e.g., prohormones, ephedra that contains ephedrine,“muscle building” supplements, etc.) and many professionalsports organization have now written language into theircollective bargaining agreements that products made avail-able by the team must be NSF certified as safe for sport.Obviously, if the supplement is banned, the sports nutritionspecialist should discourage its use. In addition, many sup-plements lack appropriate long-term safety data. Peoplewho consider taking nutritional supplements should bewell aware of the potential side effects so they can make aninformed decision whether to use a supplement. Addition-ally, they should consult with a knowledgeable physician tosee if any underlying medical problems exist that maycontraindicate its use. When evaluating the safety of a sup-plement, it is suggested to determine if any side effectshave been reported in the scientific or medical literature. In

particular, we suggest determining how long a particularsupplement has been studied, the dosages evaluated, andwhether any side effects were observed. We also recom-mend consulting the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) fornutritional supplements and herbal supplements to see ifany side effects have been reported and/or if there are anyknown drug interactions. If no side effects have been re-ported in the scientific/medical literature, we generally willview the supplement as safe for the length of time and dos-ages evaluated. Unfortunately, many available supplementshave not had basic safety studies completed that replicatethe length of time and dosages being used.

Is there any scientific evidence supporting the ergogenic value?The next question to ask is whether any well-controlleddata are available showing effectiveness of the proposedergogenic aid in athletic populations or people regularlyinvolved in exercise training. The first place to look is thelist of references cited in marketing material supportingtheir claims. Are the abstracts or articles cited just generalreferences or specific studies that have evaluated theefficacy of the nutrients included in the formulation or ofthe actual supplement? From there, one can criticallyevaluate the cited abstracts and articles by asking a seriesof questions:

� Are the studies basic research done in animals/clinicalpopulations or have the studies been conducted onathletes/trained subjects? For perspective, studiesreporting improved performance in rats or anindividual diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may beinsightful, but research conducted on non-diabeticathletes is much more practical and relevant.

� Were the studies well controlled? For ergogenic aidresearch, the gold standard study design is arandomized, double-blind, placebo controlledclinical trial. This means that neither the researchernor the subject is aware which group received thesupplement or the placebo during the study and thatthe subjects were randomly assigned into theplacebo or supplement group. An additional elementof rigor is called a cross-over design, where eachsubject, at different times (separated by an intervalknown as a “washout period”), is exposed to each ofthe treatments. While utilization of a cross-overdesign is not always feasible, it reduces the elementof variability within a participant and subsequently,increases the strength of study’s findings. At times,supplement claims have been based on poorlydesigned studies (i.e., small groups of subjects, nocontrol group, use of unreliable tests, etc.) ortestimonials which make interpretation moredifficult. Well-controlled clinical trials provide

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stronger evidence as to the potential ergogenic valueand importantly how the findings can best be used.

� Do the studies report statistically significant resultsor are claims being made on non-significant meansor trends? Appropriate statistical analysis of researchresults allows for an unbiased interpretation of data.Although studies reporting statistical trends may beof interest and lead researchers to conduct additionalresearch, studies reporting statistically significantresults are obviously more convincing. With this said,it is important for people to understand thatoftentimes the potential effect a dietary supplement ordiet regimen may have above and beyond the effectseen from the exercise bout or an accepted dietaryapproach is quite small. In addition, many studiesexamining a biochemical or molecular biologymechanism can require invasive sampling techniquesor the study population being recruited is unique(very highly trained) resulting in a small number ofstudy participants. When viewed together, thecombination of these two considerations can result instatistical outcomes that do not reach statisticalsignificance even though large mean changes wereobserved. In these situations, the reporting ofconfidence intervals on the mean change, individualresponses from all participants to the investigatedtreatment and/or effect sizes are additional pieces ofinformation that can allow for a more accurateinterpretation. In all such cases, additional research iswarranted to further examine the potential ergogenicaid before conclusions can be made.

� Do the results of the cited studies match the claimsmade about the supplement or do they accuratelyportray the response of the supplement against anappropriate placebo or control group? It is notunusual for marketing claims to greatly exaggeratethe results found in the actual studies and do so byfocusing upon just the outcomes within thesupplement (treatment) group as opposed to howthe supplement group changed in comparison tohow a placebo group changed. Similarly, it is notuncommon for ostensibly compelling results, thatmay indeed be statistically significant, to beamplified while other relevant findings of significantconsumer interest are obscured or omitted (e.g. adietary supplement showing statistically significantincreases in circulating testosterone yet changes inbody composition or muscular performance werenot superior to a placebo). The only way todetermine this is to read the entire article versusfocusing an entire study’s interpretation on theprovided abstract or even the article citation, andcompare results observed in the studies to theavailable marketing claims. Reputable companies

accurately and completely report results of studiesso that consumers can make informed decisionsabout using a product.

� Were results of the study presented at a reputablescientific meeting and/or published in a peer-reviewedscientific journal? At times, claims are based onresearch that has either never been published or onlypublished in an obscure journal. The best research istypically presented at respected scientific meetingsand/or published in reputable peer-reviewed journals.Three ways to determine a journal’s reputation iseither: 1) identify the publisher, 2) the “impact factor”of the journal or 3) whether or not the journal isindexed and subsequently available for review on PubMed ( Many“peer-reviewed” journals are published by companieswith ties to, or are actually owned by, companies thatdo business with various nutritional products (eventhough they may be available on PubMed). Therefore,we recommend looking up the publisher’s websiteand see how many other journals they publish. If yousee only a few other journals this is a suggestion thatthe journal is not a reputable journal. Additionally,one can also look up how many articles have beenpublished by the journal in the last 6–12 months andhow many of these articles are well-conducted studies.Alternatively, one can also inquire about the impactfactor, a qualitative ranking determined by thenumber of times a journal’s articles are cited. Impactfactors are determined and published by ThomsonReuters under Journal Citation Reports® (asubscription service available at most universitylibraries). Most journals list their impact factor on thejournal home page. Historically, those articles that areread and cited the most are the most impactfulscientifically.

� Have the research findings been replicated? If so,have the results only been replicated at the samelaboratory? The best way to know an ergogenic aidworks is to see that results have been replicated inseveral studies preferably by several separate, distinctresearch groups. The most reliable ergogenic aidsare those in which multiple studies, conducted atdifferent labs, have reported similar results of safetyand efficacy. Additionally, replication of results bydifferent, unaffiliated labs with completely differentauthors also removes or reduces the potentiallyconfounding element of publication bias (publicationof studies showing only positive results) andconflicts of interest. A notable number of studies onergogenic aids are conducted in collaboration withone or more research scientists or co-authors thathave a real or perceived economic interest in theoutcome of the study. This could range from being a

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co-inventor on a patent application that is thesubject of the ergogenic aid, being paid or receivingroyalties from the creation of a dietary supplementformulation, providing consulting services for thecompany or having stock options or shares in acompany that owns or markets the ergogenic aiddescribed in the study. An increasing number ofjournals require disclosures by all authors ofscientific articles, and including such disclosuresin published articles. This is driven by the aim ofproviding greater transparency and researchintegrity. It is important to emphasize that disclosureof a conflict of interest does not alone discredit ordilute the merits of a research study. The primarythrust behind public disclosures of potential conflictsof interest is first and foremost transparency to thereader and second to prevent a later revelation ofsome form of confounding interest that has thepotential of discrediting the study in question, thefindings of the study, the authors, and even theresearch center or institution where the study wasconducted.

Classifying and categorizing supplementsDietary supplements may contain carbohydrate, protein,fat, minerals, vitamins, herbs, enzymes, metabolic interme-diates (i.e., select amino acids), or various plant/foodextracts. Supplements can generally be classified asconvenience supplements (e.g., energy bars, gels, blocks,meal replacement powders, or ready to drink supplements)designed to provide a convenient means of meeting neces-sary energy or macronutrient needs while also providingsupport towards attempts at managing caloric intake,weight gain, weight loss, and/or performance enhancement.As discussed previously, evaluating the available scientificl*terature is an important step in determining the efficacy ofany diet, diet program or dietary supplement. In consider-ing this, nutritional supplements can be categorized in thefollowing manner:

I. Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy andApparently Safe: Supplements that have a soundtheoretical rationale with the majority of availableresearch in relevant populations using appropriatedosing regimens demonstrating both its efficacy andsafety.

II. Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support Efficacy:Supplements within this category are characterizedas having a sound scientific rationale for its use, butthe available research has failed to produce consistentoutcomes supporting its efficacy. Routinely, thesesupplements require more research to be completedbefore researchers can begin to understand theirimpact. Importantly, these supplements have no

available evidence to suggest they lack safety orshould be viewed as harmful.

III. Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy and/orSafety: Supplements within this category generallylack a sound scientific rationale and the availableresearch consistently shows it to lack efficacy.Alternatively, supplements that may be harmful toone’s health or to lack safety are also placed in thiscategory.

Several factors are evaluated when beginning to counselindividuals who regularly complete exercise training. First,a clear understanding of the athlete’s goals and the timewith which they have to meet those goals is important. Inaddition to monitoring load and recovery, an evaluation ofthe individual’s diet and training program should also becompleted. To accomplish this, one should make sure theathlete is eating an energy balanced, nutrient dense dietthat meets their estimated daily energy needs and thatthey are training intelligently. Far too many athletes orcoaches focus too heavily upon supplementation or appli-cations of supplementation and neglect these key funda-mental aspects. Following this, we suggest that theygenerally only recommend supplements in category I (i.e.,‘Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy and ApparentlySafe’). If an athlete is interested in trying supplements incategory II (i.e., ‘Limited or Mixed Evidence to SupportEfficacy’), the athlete should make sure they understandthese supplements are more experimental and they mayor may not see the type of results claimed. Obviously, theISSN does not support athletes taking supplements incategory III (i.e., ‘Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacyand/or Safety’). We believe this approach is scientificallysubstantiated and offers a balanced view as opposed tosimply dismissing the use of all dietary supplements.

General dietary guidelines for active individualsA well-designed diet that meets energy intake needs andincorporates proper timing of nutrients is the foundationupon which a good training program can be developed[22, 23]. Research has clearly shown that lacking suffi-cient calories and/or enough of the right type of macro-nutrients may impede an athlete’s training adaptations,while athletes who consume a balanced diet that meetsenergy needs can augment physiological training adapta-tions. Moreover, maintaining an energy deficient dietduring training may lead to loss of muscle mass,strength, and bone mineral density in addition to an in-creased susceptibility to illness and injuries, disturbancesin immune, endocrine and reproductive function, and anincreased prevalence of overreaching and/or overtrain-ing. Incorporating good dietary practices as part of atraining program is one way to help optimize training

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adaptations and prevent overtraining. The following isan overview of energy intake recommendations andmajor nutrient needs for active individuals.

Energy needsThe primary component to optimize training and perform-ance through nutrition is to ensure the athlete is consum-ing enough calories to offset energy expenditure [22–26].People who participate in a general fitness program (e.g.,exercising 30–40 min per day, 3 times per week) can typic-ally meet nutritional needs following a normal diet (e.g.,1800–2400 kcals/day or about 25–35 kcals/kg/day for a50–80 kg individual) because their caloric demands fromexercise are not too great (e.g., 200–400 kcals/session).However, athletes involved in moderate levels of intensetraining (e.g., 2–3 h per day of intense exercise performed5–6 times per week) or high volume intense training (e.g.,3–6 h per day of intense training in 1–2 workouts for 5–6 days per week) may expend 600–1200 kcals or more perhour during exercise [24]. For this reason, their caloricneeds may approach 40–70 kcals/kg/day (2000–7000kcals/day for a 50–100 kg athlete). For elite athletes, energyexpenditure during heavy training or competition willfurther exceed these levels [27, 28]. For example, energyexpenditure for cyclists to compete in the Tour de Francehas been estimated as high as 12,000 kcals/day (150–200kcals/kg/day for a 60–80 kg athlete) [29, 30]. Additionally,caloric needs for large athletes (i.e., 100–150 kg) may rangebetween 6000 and 12,000 kcals/day depending on thevolume and intensity of different training phases [31].Although some argue that athletes can meet caloric

needs simply by consuming a well-balanced diet, it is oftenvery difficult for larger athletes and athletes engaged inhigh volume/intense training to be able to eat enough food,on a daily basis, to meet caloric needs [2, 29, 30, 32–34].This point was clearly highlighted in a review by Burkewho demonstrated that carbohydrate needs are largely un-met by high-level athletes [22]. Additionally it is difficult toconsume enough food and maintain gastrointestinal com-fort to train or race at peak levels [35]. Maintaining anenergy deficient diet during training often leads to a num-ber of physical (i.e., loss of fat-free mass, illness, reducedsleep quality, incomplete recovery, hormonal fluctuations,increased resting heart rate, etc.) and psychological (i.e.,apathy towards training, heightened stress) adverse out-comes [23, 27]. Nutritional analyses of athletes’ diets haverevealed that many are susceptible to maintaining negativeenergy intakes during training. It is still a question whetherthere may be specific individualized occasions when nega-tive energy balance may enhance performance in the daysprior to running performance [36]. Populations susceptibleto negative energy balance include runners, cyclists, swim-mers, triathletes, gymnasts, skaters, dancers, wrestlers,boxers, and athletes attempting to lose weight too quickly

[37]. Additionally, female athletes are at particular risk ofunder fueling due to both competitive and aestheticdemands of their sport and their surrounding culture. Fe-male athletes have been reported to have a high incidenceof eating disorders [38]. Low or reduced energy availability(LEA) is linked to functional hypothalamic oligomenor-rhea/amenorrhea (FHA), which is frequently reported inweight sensitive sports. This makes LEA a major nutri-tional concern for female athletes [39]. Consequently, it isimportant for the sports nutrition specialist working withathletes to assess athletes individually to ensure that ath-letes are well fed according to the goals of their sport andtheir health, and consume enough calories to offset the in-creased energy demands of training, and maintain bodyweight. Although this sounds relatively simple, intensetraining often suppresses appetite and/or alters hungerpatterns so that many athletes do not feel like eating[37, 38]. Some athletes prefer not to exercise within sev-eral hours after eating because of sensations of fullnessand/or a predisposition to cause gastrointestinal distress.Further, travel and training schedules may limit food avail-ability or the types of food athletes are accustomed to eat-ing. This means that care should be taken to plan mealtimes in concert with training, as well as to make sure ath-letes have sufficient availability of nutrient dense foodsthroughout the day for snacking between meals (e.g.,fluids, carbohydrate/protein-rich foods and supplementalbars, etc.) [2, 33, 40]. For this reason, sports nutritionists’often recommend that athletes consume four to six mealsper day and snacks in between meals to meet energyneeds. Due to these practical concerns, the use of nutrientdense energy foods, energy bars and high calorie carbohy-drate/protein supplements provides a convenient way forathletes to supplement their diet in order to maintain en-ergy intake during training.

CarbohydrateBeyond optimal energy intake, consuming adequateamounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat is important forathletes to optimize their training and performance. In par-ticular and as it relates to exercise performance, the needfor optimal carbohydrates before, during and after intenseand high-volume bouts of training and competition is evi-dent [41]. Excellent reviews [42, 43] and original investiga-tions [44–49] continue to highlight the known dependenceon carbohydrates that exists for athletes competing to winvarious endurance and team sport activities. A completediscussion of the needs of carbohydrates and strategies todeliver optimal carbohydrate and replenish lost muscle andliver glycogen extend beyond the scope of this paper, butthe reader is referred to several informative reviews on thetopic [23, 41, 50–53].As such, individuals engaged in a general fitness program

and are not necessarily training to meet any type of

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performance goal can typically meet daily carbohydrateneeds by consuming a normal diet (i.e., 45–55% CHO [3–5 g/kg/day], 15–20% PRO [0.8–1.2 g/kg/day], and 25–35%fat [0.5–1.5 g/kg/day]). However, athletes involved in mod-erate and high-volume training need greater amounts ofcarbohydrate and protein (discussed later) in their diet tomeet macronutrient needs [50]. In terms of carbohydrateneeds, athletes involved in moderate amounts of intensetraining (e.g., 2–3 h per day of intense exercise performed5–6 times per week) typically need to consume a diet con-sisting of 5–8 g/kg/day or 250–1200 g/day for 50–150 kgathletes of carbohydrate to maintain liver and muscleglycogen stores [23, 24, 50]. Research has also shown thatathletes involved in high volume intense training (e.g.,3–6 h per day of intense training in 1–2 daily workouts for5–6 days per week) may need to consume 8–10 g/day ofcarbohydrate (i.e., 400–1500 g/day for 50–150 kg athletes)in order to maintain muscle glycogen levels [50]. Prefera-bly, the majority of dietary carbohydrate should come fromwhole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. while foods that emptyquickly from the stomach such as refined sugars, starchesand engineered sports nutrition products should bereserved for situations in which glycogen resynthesis needsto occur at accelerated rates [53]. In these situations, theabsolute delivery of carbohydrate (> 8 g of carbohydrate/kg/day or at least 1.2 g of carbohydrate/kg/hour for thefirst four hours into recovery) takes precedence over otherstrategies such as those that may relate to timing or con-comitant ingestion of other macronutrients (e.g., protein)or non-nutrients (e.g., caffeine) or carbohydrate type (i.e.,glycemic index) [50].When considering the carbohydrate needs throughout

an exercise session, several key factors should be consid-ered. Previous research has indicated athletes undergoingprolonged bouts (2–3 h) of exercise training can oxidizecarbohydrates at a rate of 1–1.1 g per minute or about 60 gper hour [41]. Several reviews advocate the ingestion of0.7 g of carbohydrate/kg/hr. during exercise in a 6–8% so-lution (i.e., 6–8 g per 100 ml of fluid) [41, 42, 50, 54]. It isnow well established that different types of carbohydratescan be oxidized at different rates in skeletal muscle due tothe involvement of different transporter proteins that resultin carbohydrate uptake [55–59]. Interestingly, combina-tions of glucose and sucrose or maltodextrin and fructosehave been reported to promote greater exogenous rates ofcarbohydrate oxidation when compared to situations whensingle sources of carbohydrate are ingested [55–63]. Thesestudies generally indicate a ratio of 1–1.2 for maltodextrinto 0.8–1.0 fructose seems to support the greatest rates ofcarbohydrate oxidation during exercise. Additional re-search on high molecular weight amylopectin indicates thatthere may be a benefit to the lower osmolality of the starch,allowing for greater consumption (100 g/hour) and pos-sibly greater oxidation rates and performance improvement

[64–67]. In addition to oxidation rates and carbohydratetypes, the fasting status and duration of the exercise boutalso function as key variables for athletes and coaches toconsider. When considering duration, associated reviewshave documented that bouts of moderate to intense exer-cise need to reach exercise durations that extend well into90th minute of exercise before carbohydrate is shown toconsistently yield an ergogenic outcome [41, 68, 69]. Ofinterest, however, not all studies indicate that shorter (60–75 min) bouts of higher intensity work may benefit fromcarbohydrate delivery. Currently the mechanisms sur-rounding these findings are, respectively, thought to be re-placement of depleted carbohydrate stores during longerduration of moderate intensity while benefits seen duringshorter, more intense exercise bouts are thought to operatein a central fashion. Moreover, these reviews have alsopointed to the impact of fasting status on documentationof ergogenic outcomes [41, 68, 69]. In this respect, whenstudies require study participants to commence exercise ina fasted state, ergogenic outcomes are more consistentlyreported, yet other authors have questioned the ecologicalvalidity of this approach for competing athletes [43].As it stands, the need for optimal carbohydrates in the

diet for those athletes seeking maximal physical perform-ance is unquestioned. Daily consumption of appropriateamounts of carbohydrate is the first and most importantstep for any competing athlete. As durations extend into2 h, the need to deliver carbohydrate goes up, particularlywhen commencing exercise in a state of fasting or incom-plete recovery. Once exercise ceases, several dietary strat-egies can be considered to maximally replace lost muscleand liver glycogen, particularly if a limited window of re-covery exists. In these situations, the first priority shouldlie with achieving aggressive intakes of carbohydrate whilestrategies such as ingesting protein with lower carbohy-drate amounts, carbohydrate and caffeine co-ingestion orcertain forms of carbohydrate may also help to facilitaterapid assimilation of lost glycogen.

ProteinConsiderable debate exists surrounding the amount ofprotein needed in an athlete’s diet [70–74]. Initially, it wasrecommended that athletes do not need to ingest morethan the RDA for protein (i.e., 0.8 to 1.0 g/kg/d forchildren, adolescents and adults). However, researchspanning the past 30 years has indicated that athletesengaged in intense training may benefit from ingestingabout two times the RDA of protein in their diet (1.4–1.8 g/kg/d) to maintain protein balance [11, 70, 71, 73,75–80]. If an insufficient amount of protein is consumed,an athlete will develop and maintain a negative nitrogenbalance, indicating protein catabolism and slow recovery.Over time, this may lead to muscle wasting, injuries,illness, and training intolerance [76, 77, 81].

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For people involved in a general fitness program or sim-ply interested in optimizing their health, recent researchsuggests protein needs may also be above the RDA. Phillipsand colleagues [76], Witard et al. [82], Jager et al. [11] andTipton et al. [79] report that current evidence indicates op-timal protein intakes in the range of 1.2–2.0 g/kg/dayshould be considered. In this respect, Morton and investi-gators [83] performed a meta-review and meta-regressioninvolving 49 studies and 1863 participants and concludedthat a daily protein intake of 1.62 g/kg/day may be an idealplace to start, with intakes beyond that providing no furthercontribution to increases in fat-free mass. In addition andin comparison to the RDA, non-exercising, older individ-uals (53–71 years) may also benefit from a higher daily pro-tein intake (e.g., 1.0–1.2 g/kg/day of protein). Recentreports suggest that older muscle may be slower to respondand less sensitive to protein ingestion, typically requiring40 g doses to robustly stimulate muscle protein synthesis[84–86]. Studies in younger individuals, however, have indi-cated that in the absence of exercise, a 20 g dose canmaximize muscle protein synthesis [87, 88] and if con-sumed after a multiple set workout consisting of several ex-ercises that target large muscle groups a 40 g dose might beneeded [89]. Consequently, it is recommended that athletesinvolved in moderate amounts of intense training consume1.2–2.0 g/kg/day of protein (60–300 g/day for a 50–150 kgathlete) while athletes involved in high volume, intensetraining consume 1.7–2.2 g/kg/day of protein (85–330 g/day for a 50–150 kg athlete) [78, 90]. This protein needwould be equivalent to ingesting 3–15 three-ounce servingsof chicken or fish per day for a 50–150 kg athlete [78]. Al-though smaller athletes typically can ingest this amount ofprotein, on a daily basis, in their normal diet, larger athletesoften have difficulty consuming this much dietary protein.Additionally, a number of athletic populations areknown to be susceptible to protein malnutrition (e.g.,runners, cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, gymnasts,dancers, skaters, wrestlers, boxers, etc.) and conse-quently, additional counseling and education may beneeded to help these athletes meet their daily proteinneeds. To this point, the periods of energy restrictionto meet weight or aesthetic demands of their sportsthat are seemingly a part of the sport’s fabric creates anarguably greater need to understand that protein intake,quality and timing as well as combination with carbo-hydrate is particularly important to maintain lean bodymass, training effects, and performance [25]. Overall, itgoes without saying that care should be taken to ensurethat athletes consume a sufficient amount of qualityprotein in their diet to maintain nitrogen balance.Proteins differ based on their source, amino acid pro-

file, and the methods of processing or isolating the pro-tein undergoes [11]. These differences influence theavailability of amino acids and peptides, which may

possess biological activity (e.g., α-lactalbumin, ß-lacto-globulin, glycomacropeptides, immunoglobulins, lacto-peroxidases, lactoferrin, etc.). Additionally, the rate ofdigestion and/or absorption and metabolic activity of theprotein also are important considerations [91]. Forexample, different types of proteins (e.g., casein, whey,and soy) are digested at different rates, which may affectwhole body catabolism and anabolism and acute stimu-lation of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) [91–96]. There-fore, care should be taken not only to make sure theathlete consumes enough protein in their diet but alsothat the protein is high quality. The best dietary sourcesof low fat, high quality protein are light skinless chicken,fish, egg whites, very lean cuts of beef and skim milk(casein and whey) while protein supplements routinelycontain whey, casein, milk and egg protein. In what isstill an emerging area of research, various plant sourcesof protein have been examined for their ability to stimu-late increases in muscle protein synthesis [77, 97] andpromote exercise training adaptations [98]. While aminoacid absorption from plant proteins is generally slower,leucine from rice protein has been found to be absorbedeven faster than from whey [99], while digestive enzymes[100], probiotics [101] and HMB [102] can be used toovercome differences in protein quality. Preliminaryfindings suggest that rice [98] and pea protein [103] maybe able to stimulate similar changes in fat-free mass andstrength as whey protein, although the reader shouldunderstand that many other factors (dose provided,training status of participants, duration of training andsupplementation, etc.) will ultimately impact theseoutcomes and consequently more research is needed.While many reasons and scenarios exist for why an ath-

lete may choose to supplement their diet with protein pow-ders or other forms of protein supplements, this practice isnot considered to be an absolute requirement for increasedperformance and adaptations. Due to nutritional, societal,emotional and psychological reasons, it is preferable forthe majority of daily protein consumed by athletes to occuras part of a food or meal. However, we recognize andembrace the reality that situations commonly arise whereefficiently delivering a high-quality source of protein takesprecedence. Jager and colleagues [11] published an updatedposition statement of the International Society of SportsNutrition that is summarized by the following points:

1) An acute exercise stimulus, particularly resistanceexercise and protein ingestion both stimulate muscleprotein synthesis (MPS) and are synergistic whenprotein consumption occurs before or after resistanceexercise

2) For building and maintaining muscle mass, an overalldaily protein intake of 1.4–2.0 g/kg/d is sufficient formost exercising individuals

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3) Higher protein intakes (2.3–3.1 g/kg fat-free mass/d) may be needed to maximize the retention of leanbody weight in resistance trained subjects duringhypocaloric periods

4) Higher protein intakes (> 3.0 g protein/kg bodyweight/day) when combined with resistance exercisemay have positive effects on body composition inresistance trained individuals (i.e., promote loss of fatmass)

5) Optimal doses for athletes to maximize MPS aremixed and are dependent upon age and recentresistance exercise stimuli. General recommendationsare 0.25–0.55 g of a high-quality protein per kg ofbody weight, or an absolute dose of 20–40 g.

6) Acute protein doses should contain 700–3000 mgof leucine and/or a higher relative leucine content,in addition to a balanced array of the essentialamino acids (EAAs)

7) Protein doses should ideally be evenly distributed,every 3–4 h, across the day

8) The optimal time period during which to ingestprotein is likely a matter of individual tolerance;however, the anabolic effect of exercise islong-lasting (at least 24 h), but likely diminisheswith increasing time post-exercise

9) Rapidly digested proteins that contain highproportions of EAAs and adequate leucine, aremost effective in stimulating MPS

10) Different types and quality of protein can affectamino acid bioavailability following proteinsupplementation; complete protein sources deliver allrequired EAAs

FatThe dietary recommendations of fat intake for athletes aresimilar to or slightly greater than dietary recommendationsmade to non-athletes to promote health. Maintenance ofenergy balance, replenishment of intramuscular triacylglyc-erol stores and adequate consumption of essential fattyacids are important for athletes, and all serve as reasonsfor an increased intake of dietary fat [104]. Dependingupon the athlete’s training status or goals, the amount ofdietary fat recommended for daily intake can change. Forexample, higher-fat diets appear to maintain circulatingtestosterone concentrations better than low-fat diets[105–107]. Additionally, higher fat intakes may providevaluable translational evidence to the documented testos-terone suppression which can occur during volume-typeovertraining [108]. Generally, it is recommended that ath-letes consume a moderate amount of fat (approximately30% of their daily caloric intake), while proportions up to50% of daily calories can be safely ingested by athletes dur-ing regular high-volume training [104]. In situations wherean athlete may be interested in reducing their body fat,

dietary fat intakes ranging from 0.5 to 1 g/kg/day havebeen recommended results in situations where daily fat in-take might comprise as little as 20% of total calories in thediet [2]. This recommendation stems largely from avail-able evidence in weight loss studies involving non-athleticindividuals that people who are most successful in losingweight and maintaining the weight loss are those who in-gest reduced amounts of fat in their diet [109, 110] al-though this is not always the case [111]. Strategies to helpathletes manage dietary fat intake include teachingthem which foods contain various types of fat so thatthey can make better food choices and how to countfat grams [2, 33].For years, high-fat diets have been used by athletes with

the majority of evidence showing no ergogenic benefit andconsistent gastrointestinal challenges [112]. In recentyears, significant debate has swirled regarding the impactof increasing dietary fat. One strategy, “train low, competehigh”, refers to an acute pattern of dietary periodizationwhereby an athlete first follows a high-fat, low carbohy-drate diet for one to 3 weeks while training beforereintroducing carbohydrates back into the diet. Whileintramuscular adaptations result that may theoreticallyimpact performance [113, 114], no consistent, favorableimpact on performance has been documented [112, 115].A variant of high-fat diets, ketogenic diets, have increasedin popularity. While no exact prescription exists, nearly allketogenic diet prescriptions derive at least 70–80% of theirdaily calories from dietary fat, prescribe a moderateamount of protein (20–25% total calories or 2.0–2.5 g/kg/day) and are largely devoid of carbohydrate (10–40 g perday). This diet prescription leads to a greater reliance onketones as a fuel source. Currently, limited and mixed evi-dence remains regarding the overall efficacy of a ketogenicdiet for athletes. In favor, Cox et al. [116] demonstratedthat ketogenic dieting can improve exercise endurance byshifting fuel oxidation while Burke and colleagues [115]failed to show an increase in performance in a cohort ofOlympic-caliber race walkers. Additionally, Jabekk and col-leagues [117] reported decreases in body fat with nochange in lean mass in overweight women who resistancetrained for 10 weeks and followed a ketogenic diet. In lightof the available evidence being limited and mixed, morehuman research needs to be completed before appropriaterecommendations can be made towards the use of high fatdiets for athletic performance.

Strategic eating and refuelingIn addition to the general nutritional guidelines describedabove, research has also demonstrated that timing andcomposition of meals consumed may play a role in opti-mizing performance, training adaptations, and preventingovertraining [2, 25, 40]. In this regard, it takes about 4 hfor carbohydrate to be digested and assimilated into

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muscle and liver tissues as glycogen. Consequently,pre-exercise meals should be consumed about four to 6 hbefore exercise [40]. This means that if an athlete trains inthe afternoon, breakfast can be viewed to have greatimportance to top off muscle and liver glycogen levels. Re-search has also indicated that ingesting a light carbohy-drate and protein snack 30 to 60 min prior to exercise (e.g.,50 g of carbohydrate and 5 to 10 g of protein) serves to in-crease carbohydrate availability toward the end of an in-tense exercise bout [118, 119]. This also serves to increaseavailability of amino acids, decrease exercise-inducedcatabolism of protein, and minimize muscle damage[120–122]. Additionally, athletes who are going throughperiods of energy restriction to meet weight or aestheticdemands of sports should understand that protein intake,quality and timing as well as combination with carbo-hydrate is particularly important to maintain leanbody mass, training effects, and performance [25].When exercise lasts more than 1 h and especially asduration extends beyond 90 min, athletes should in-gest glucose/electrolyte solutions (GES) to maintainblood glucose levels, prevent dehydration, and reducethe immunosuppressive effects of intense exercise [40,123–128]. Notably, this strategy becomes even moreimportant if the athlete is under-fueled prior to theexercise task or is fasted vs. unfasted at the start ofexercise [68, 69, 129]. Following intense exercise, ath-letes should consume carbohydrate and protein (e.g.,1 g/kg of carbohydrate and 0.5 g/kg of protein)within 30 min after exercise and consume a highcarbohydrate meal within 2 h following exercise [2, 74].This nutritional strategy has been found to accelerateglycogen resynthesis as well as promote a more ana-bolic hormonal profile that may hasten recovery[120, 130, 131], but as mentioned above only whenrapid glycogen restoration is needed or if the carbo-hydrate intake in the diet is adequate (< 6 g/kg/day)[53, 132]. In other words, the total carbohydrateconsumption and timing of carbohydrate consump-tion should be individualized to each athlete’s needsaccording to the goals of the training cycle and bout[112]. Finally, for two to 3 days prior to competition, ath-letes should taper training by 30 to 50% and consume anadditional 200 to 300 g of carbohydrate each day in theirdiet. This eating strategy has been shown to supersaturatecarbohydrate stores prior to competition and improve en-durance exercise capacity [2, 40]. Thus, the type of meal,amount of carbohydrate consumed, and timing of eatingare important factors to maximize glycogen storage and inmaintaining carbohydrate availability during training whilealso potentially decreasing the incidence of overtraining.The ISSN has adopted a position stand on nutrient timingin 2008 [133] that has been subsequently revised [13] andcan be summarized with the following points:

1. Intramuscular and hepatic glycogen stores are bestmaximized by consumption of a high-carbohydratediet (8–12 g/kg/day). Strategies such as aggressivecarbohydrate feedings (~ 1.2 g/kg/hour) that favorhigh-glycemic (> 70) carbohydrates, addition ofcaffeine (3–8 mg/kg) and combining a moderatecarbohydrate dose (0.8 g/kg/h) with protein (0.2–0.4 g/kg/h) have been shown to promote rapidrestoration of glycogen stores.

2. High intensity (> 70% VO2Max) exercise bouts thatextend beyond 90 min challenge fuel supply andfluid regulation. In these situations, it is advisable toconsume carbohydrate at a rate of 30–60 g ofcarbohydrate/hour in a 6–8% carbohydrate-electrolytesolution (6–12 fluid ounces) every 10–15 minthroughout the entire exercise bout. The importanceof this strategy is increased when poor feeding orrecovery strategies were employed prior to exercisecommencement. Consequently, when carbohydratedelivery is inadequate, adding protein may helpincrease performance, mitigate muscle damage,promote euglycemia, and facilitate glycogenre-synthesis.

3. Consuming a diet that delivers adequate energy(minimum of 27–30 kcal/kg) and protein (1.6–1.8 g/kg/day), preferably with evenly spaced (every3–4 h) protein feedings (0.25–0.40 g/kg/dose)during the day, should be considered for all exercisingindividuals.

4. Ingesting efficacious doses (10–12 g) of essentialamino acids (EAAs) either in free form or as aprotein bolus in 20–40 g doses (0.25–0.40 g/kg/dose) will maximally stimulate muscle proteinsynthesis (MPS).

5. Pre- and/or post-exercise nutritional interventions(carbohydrate + protein or protein alone) can be aneffective strategy to support improvements in strengthand body composition. However, the size (0.25–0.40 g/kg/dose) and timing (0–4 h) of a pre-exercisemeal may impact the benefit derived from thepost-exercise protein feeding.

6. Post-exercise ingestion (immediately-post to 2 hpost) of high-quality protein sources stimulatesrobust increases in MPS. Similar increases in MPShave been found when high-quality proteins areingested immediately before exercise.

VitaminsVitamins are essential organic compounds that serve toregulate metabolic and neurological processes, energysynthesis, and prevent destruction of cells. Fat-solublevitamins include vitamins A, D, E, & K and the body storesfat-soluble vitamins in various tissues, which can result intoxicity if consumed in excessive amounts. Water-soluble

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vitamins consist of the entire complex of B-vitamins andvitamin C. Since these vitamins are water-soluble, excessiveintake of these vitamins are eliminated in urine, with fewexceptions (e.g. vitamin B6, which can cause peripheralnerve damage when consumed in excessive amounts).Table 1 describes the RDA, proposed ergogenic benefit,and summary of research findings for fat and water-solublevitamins. Research has demonstrated that specific vitaminspossess various health benefits (e.g., Vitamin E, niacin, folicacid, vitamin C, etc.), while few published studies have re-ported to find an ergogenic value of vitamins for athletes[134–138]. Alternatively, if an athlete is deficient in a vita-min, supplementation or diet modifications to improvevitamin status can consistently improve health and per-formance [139]. For example, Paschalis and colleagues[140] supplemented individuals who were low in vitamin Cfor 30 days and reported these individuals had significantlylower VO2Max levels than a group of males who were highin vitamin C. Further, after 30 days of supplementation,VO2Max significantly improved in the low vitamin C co-hort as did baseline levels of oxidative stress of oxidativestress. Importantly, one must consider that some vitaminsmay help athletes tolerate training to a greater degree byreducing oxidative damage (Vitamin E, C) and/or help tomaintain a healthy immune system during heavy training(Vitamin C). Alternatively, conflicting evidence has accu-mulated that ingesting high doses of Vitamins C and Emay negatively impact intracellular adaptations seen in re-sponse to exercise training [141–144], which may conse-quently negatively impact an athlete’s performance.Furthermore, while optimal levels of vitamin D have beenlinked to improved muscle health [145] and strength [146]in general populations, research studies conducted in ath-letes generally fail to report on the ergogenic impact ofvitamin D in athletes [147, 148]. However, equivocal evi-dence from Wyon et al. [149] suggests vitamin D supple-mentation in elite ballet dancers improved strength andreduced risk for injuries. The remaining vitamins reviewedappear to have little ergogenic value for athletes who con-sume a normal, nutrient dense diet. Since dietary analysesof athletes commonly indicate that athletes fail to consumeenough calories and subsequently may not be consumingadequate amounts of each vitamin, many sport dietitiansand nutritionists recommend that athletes consume alow-dose daily multivitamin and/or a vitamin enrichedpost-workout carbohydrate/protein supplement during pe-riods of heavy training [150]. Finally, athletes may desire toconsume a vitamin or mineral for various health (non-per-formance) related reasons including niacin to elevate highdensity lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and decreaserisk of heart disease (niacin), vitamin E for its antioxidantpotential, vitamin D for its ability to preserve musculoskel-etal function, or vitamin C to promote and maintain ahealthy immune system.

MineralsMinerals are essential inorganic elements necessary fora host of metabolic processes. Minerals serve as struc-ture for tissue, important components of enzymes andhormones, and regulators of metabolic and neural con-trol. In athletic populations, some minerals have beenfound to be deficient while other minerals are reducedsecondary to training and/or prolonged exercise. Not-ably, acute changes in sodium, potassium and magne-sium throughout a continued bout of moderate to highintensity exercise are considerable. In these situations,athletes must work to ingest foods and fluids to replacethese losses, while physiological adaptations to sweatcomposition and fluid retention will also occur to pro-mote a necessary balance. Like vitamins, when mineralstatus is inadequate, exercise capacity may be reducedand when minerals are supplemented in deficient ath-letes, exercise capacity has been shown to improve[151]. However, scientific reports consistently fail todocument a performance improvement due to mineralsupplementation when vitamin and mineral status isadequate [134, 152, 153]. Table 2 describes mineralsthat have been purported to affect exercise capacity inathletes. Of the minerals reviewed, several appear topossess health and/or ergogenic value for athletesunder certain conditions. For example, calcium supple-mentation in athletes susceptible to premature osteo-porosis may help maintain bone mass [151]. For years,the importance of iron status in female athletes hasbeen discussed [154] and more recent efforts havehighlighted that iron supplementation in athletes proneto iron deficiencies and/or anaemia can improve exer-cise capacity [155, 156]. Sodium phosphate loading canincrease maximal oxygen uptake, anaerobic threshold,and improve endurance exercise capacity by 8 to 10%[157]. Increasing dietary availability of salt (sodiumchloride) during the initial days of exercise training inthe heat helps to maintain fluid balance and preventdehydration. The American College of Sports Medicine(ACSM) recommendations for sodium levels (340 mg)represent the amount of sodium in less than 1/8 tea-spoon of salt and recommended guidelines for sodiumingestion during exercise (300–600 mg per hour or1.7–2.9 g of salt during a prolonged exercise bout)[158–161]. Finally, zinc supplementation during train-ing can support changes in immune status in responseto exercise training. Consequently, several mineralsmay enhance exercise capacity and/or training adapta-tions for athletes under certain conditions. However,there is little evidence that boron, chromium, magne-sium, or vanadium affect exercise capacity or trainingadaptations in healthy individuals eating a normal diet.Sport nutritionists and dietitians should be aware ofthe specialized situations in which different types of

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minerals may provide support to bolster an athlete’shealth or physical performance.

WaterThe most important nutritional ergogenic aid for ath-letes is water and limiting dehydration during exercise isone of the most effective ways to maintain exercise cap-acity. Before starting exercise, it is highly recommendedthat individuals are adequately hydrated [162]. Exerciseperformance can be significantly impaired when 2% ormore of body weight is lost through sweat (i.e., a 1.4 kgbody weight loss from a 70-kg athlete). When one con-siders that average sweat rates are reported to be 0.5–2.0 L/hour during exercise and training [128, 162], per-formance losses due to water loss can occur after just60–90 min of exercise. Further, weight loss of more than4% of body weight during exercise may lead to heat ill-ness, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and possibly death[128]. For this reason, it is critical that athletes adopt amind set to prevent dehydration first by promoting opti-mal levels of pre-exercise hydration. Throughout the dayand without any consideration of when exercise is occur-ring, a key goal is for an athlete to drink enough fluidsto maintain their body weight. Next, athletes can pro-mote optimal pre-exercise hydration by ingesting500 mL of water or sports drinks the night before acompetition, another 500 mL upon waking and then an-other 400–600 mL of cool water or sports drink 20–30 min before the onset of exercise. Once exercise com-mences, the athlete should strive to consume a sufficientamount of water and/or glucose-electrolyte solutions(i.e., sports drinks) during exercise to maintain hydrationstatus. Consequently, to maintain fluid balance and pre-vent dehydration, athletes need to plan on ingesting 0.5to 2 L/hour of fluid to offset weight loss. This requiresfrequent (every 5–15 min) ingestion of 12–16 fluidounces of cold water or a sports drink during exercise[128, 163–166]. Athletes should not depend on thirst toprompt them to drink because people do not typicallyget thirsty until they have lost a significant amount offluid through sweat. Additionally, athletes should weighthemselves prior to and following exercise training tomonitor changes in fluid balance and then can work to re-place their lost fluid [128, 163–166]. During and after exer-cise, athletes should consume three cups of water for everypound lost during exercise to promote adequate rehydra-tion [128]. A primary goal soon after exercise should be tocompletely replace lost fluid and electrolytes during a train-ing session or competition. Additionally, sodium intake inthe form of glucose-electrolyte solutions (vs. only drinkingwater) and making food choices and modifications (addedsalt to foods) should be considered during the rehy-dration process to further promote euhydration [167].Athletes should train themselves to tolerate drinking

greater amounts of water during training and makesure that they consume more fluid in hotter/humidenvironments. Beyond nutrition, allowing one’s physi-ology the chance to acclimatize to the exercising en-vironment for 10–14 days can help improve heattolerance and promote thermoregulation. Finally, in-appropriate and excessive weight loss techniques (e.g.,cutting weight in saunas, wearing rubber suits, severedieting, vomiting, using diuretics, etc.) are considereddangerous and should be prohibited. Sport nutrition-ists, dietitians, and athletic trainers can play an im-portant role in educating athletes and coaches aboutproper hydration methods and supervising fluid intakeduring training and competition.

Dietary supplements and athletesEducating athletes and coaches about nutrition and how tostructure their diet to optimize performance and recoveryare key areas of involvement for sport dietitians and nutri-tionists. Currently, use of dietary supplements by athletesand athletic populations is widespread while their overallneed and efficacy of certain ingredients remain up fordebate. Dietary supplements can play a meaningful role inhelping athletes consume the proper amount of calories,macro- and micronutrients. Dietary supplements are notintended to replace a healthy diet. Numerous dietary ingre-dients have been investigated for potential benefits in anathletic population, to enhance training, recovery and/orperformance. Supplementation with these nutrients inclinically validated amounts and at opportune times canhelp augment the normal diet to help optimize perform-ance or support adaptations towards a training outcome.Sport dietitians and nutritionists must be aware of thecurrent data regarding nutrition, exercise, and performanceand be honest about educating their clients about results ofvarious studies (whether pro or con). Currently, misleadinginformation is available to the public and this positionstand is intended to objectively rate many of the availableingredients. Additionally, athletes, coaches and trainersneed to also heed the recommendations of scientists whenrecommendations are made according to the available lit-erature and what will hopefully be free of bias. Throughoutthe next two sections of this paper, various nutritional sup-plements often taken by athletes will be categorized intothree categories: Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy andApparently Safe, Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support Ef-ficacy, Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy and/orSafety. Based on the available literature, the resulting classi-fication and analysis focuses primarily on whether the pro-posed nutrient has been found to affect exercise and/ortraining adaptations through an increase in muscle hyper-trophy and later for the supplement’s ergogenic potential.We recognize that some ingredients may exhibit littlepotential to stimulate training adaptations or operate in an

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ergogenic fashion, but may favorably impact muscle recov-ery or exhibit health benefits that may be helpful for somepopulations. These outcomes are not the primary focus ofthis review and consequently, will not be discussed withthe same level of detail.

Convenience supplementsConvenience supplements are commonly found in theform of meal replacement powders (MRP’s), ready to drinksupplements (RTD’s), energy bars, and energy gels. Theseproducts are typically fortified with vitamins and mineralsand differ on the amount of carbohydrate, protein, and/orfat they contain. Uniqueness of these products come fromthe additional nutrients they contain that are purported topromote weight gain, alter body composition, enhancerecovery, and/or improve performance. Most people viewthese supplements as a nutrient dense snack and/or usethem to help control caloric intake when trying to gainand/or lose weight. MRP’s, RTD’s, and energy bars/gelscan provide a convenient way for people to meet specificdietary needs and/or serve as good alternatives to fast food,foods of lower nutritional quality, and during times whentravel or a busy schedule preclude the ability to consumefresh or other forms of whole food. Use of these types ofproducts are particularly helpful in providing carbohydrate,protein, and other nutrients prior to and/or following exer-cise to optimize nutrient intake when an athlete doesn’thave time to sit down for a good meal or wants tominimize food volume. Consequently, meal replacementsshould be used in place of a meal during unique situationsand are not intended to replace all meals. Care should alsobe taken to make sure they do not contain any banned orprohibited nutrients.

Muscle building supplementsThe following section provides an analysis of the scientificl*terature regarding nutritional supplements purported topromote skeletal muscle accretion in conjunction with thecompletion of a well-designed exercise-training program.An overview of each supplement and a general interpret-ation of how they should be categorized is providedthroughout the text. Table 3 summarizes how every supple-ment discussed in this article is categorized. However,within each category all supplements are ordered alphabet-ically. The reader is encouraged to consider that gains orlosses in body masses may positively or negatively impactan individual’s athletic performance. For example, increasesin body mass and lean mass are desired adaptations formany American football or rugby players and may improveperformance in these activities. In contrast, decreases inbody mass or fat mass may promote increases in perform-ance such as cyclists and gymnasts whereby athletes suchas wrestlers, weightlifters and boxers may need to rapidly

reduce weight while maintaining muscle mass, strengthand power.

Strong evidence to support efficacy and apparently safe

β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB) HMB is a metabol-ite of the amino acid leucine. It is well-documented thatsupplementing with 1.5 to 3 g/day of calcium HMB duringresistance training can increase muscle mass (+ 0.5–1 kggreater than controls during 3–6 weeks of training) andstrength particularly among untrained subjects initiatingtraining [168–173] and the elderly [174]. The currentlyestablished minimal effective dose of HMB is 1.5 g per day,with 3 g per day offering additional benefits on lean bodymass, while 6 g per day do not provide any additional gainsin lean mass beyond what was reported with a 3 g dose[169]. To optimize HMB retention, its recommend to splitthe daily dose of 3 g into three equal doses of 1 g each(with breakfast, lunch or pre-exercise, bedtime) [174]. Froma safety perspective, dosages of 1.5–6 g per day have beenwell tolerated [15, 169, 170]. The effects of HMB supple-mentation in trained athletes are less clear with selectedstudies reporting non-significant gains in muscle mass[175–177]. In this respect, it has been suggested by Wilsonand colleagues [15] that program design (periodized resist-ance training models) and duration of supplementation(minimum of 6 weeks) likely operate as key factors. In2015, Durkalec-Michalski and investigators [178] supple-mented highly trained rowers (n = 16) in a randomized,double-blind, crossover fashion with either 3 g per day ofcalcium-HMB or a placebo. Before and after each supple-mentation period, body composition and performance pa-rameters were assessed. When HMB was provided, fatmass was significantly reduced while changes in lean masswere not significant between groups. The same researchgroup published data of 58 highly trained males athleteswho supplemented with either 3 g of calcium-HMB or pla-cebo for 12 weeks in a randomized, double-blind, crossoverfashion [179]. In this report, fat mass was found to besignificantly reduced while fat-free mass was significantlyincreased. Finally, Durkalec-Michalski and investigators[180] supplemented 42 highly-trained combat sport ath-letes for 12 weeks with either a placebo or 3 g ofcalcium-HMB in a randomized, double-blind, crossoverfashion. When HMB was provided, fat-free mass wasshown to increase (p = 0.049) while fat mass was signifi-cantly reduced in comparison to the changes seen whenplacebo was provided. In conclusion, a growing body of lit-erature continues to offer support that HMB supplementa-tion at dosages of 1.5–3 g for durations as short as three to4 weeks in untrained populations and longer durations(12 weeks) in trained populations can lead to improve-ments in fat mass and fat-free mass while participating invarious forms of exercise training.

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Creatine monohydrate In our view, the most effectivenutritional supplement available to athletes to increase highintensity exercise capacity and muscle mass during trainingis creatine monohydrate. Numerous studies have indicatedthat creatine supplementation increases body mass and/ormuscle mass during training [181, 182]. Body mass in-creases are typically one to two kilograms greater than con-trols during 4–12 weeks of training [182]. The gains inmuscle mass appear to be a result of an improved ability toperform high intensity exercise enabling an athlete to trainharder and thereby promote greater training adaptationsand muscle hypertrophy [183–186]. The only clinically sig-nificant side effect occasionally reported from creatinemonohydrate supplementation has been the potential forweight gain [181, 182, 187, 188]. Although concerns havebeen raised about the safety and possible side effects ofcreatine supplementation [189, 190], multiple shorter[191–193] and long-term safety studies have reported noapparent side effects [188, 194, 195] and/or that creatinemonohydrate may lessen the incidence of injury during

training [196–199]. Consequently, supplementing the dietwith creatine monohydrate and/or creatine containingformulations seems to be a safe and effective method toincrease muscle mass. The ISSN position stand on creatinemonohydrate [10] summarizes their findings as this:

1. Creatine monohydrate is the most effectiveergogenic nutritional supplement currentlyavailable to athletes in terms of increasinghigh-intensity exercise capacity and lean bodymass during training.

2. Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not onlysafe, but has been reported to have a number oftherapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populationsranging from infants to the elderly. There is nocompelling scientific evidence that the short- orlong-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects on otherwisehealthy individuals or among clinical populations whomay benefit from creatine supplementation.

Table 3 Summary of categorization of dietary supplements based on available literature

Category Muscle building supplements Performance enhancement

I. Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy andApparently Safe

• HMB• Creatine monohydrate• Essential amino acids (EAA)• Protein

• β-alanine• Caffeine• Carbohydrate• Creatine Monohydrate• Sodium Bicarbonate• Sodium Phosphate• Water and Sports Drinks

II. Limited or Mixed Evidence to SupportEfficacy

• 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 andprotein

• Quercetin• Taurine

III. Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacyand/or Safety

• Agmatine sulfate• Alpha-ketoglutarate• Arginine• Boron• Chromium• Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)• D-Aspartic acid• Ecdysterones• Fenugreek extract• Gamma oryzanol (Ferulic acid)• Glutamine• Growth-hormone releasing peptides andSecretogogues

• Isoflavones• Ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate• Prohom*ones• Sulfo-polysaccharides• Tribulus terrestris• Vanadyl sulfate• Zinc-magnesium aspartate

• Arginine• Carnitine• Glutamine• Inosine• Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)• Ribose

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3. If proper precautions and supervision are provided,creatine monohydrate supplementation in childrenand adolescent athletes is acceptable and mayprovide a nutritional alternative with a favorablesafety profile to potentially dangerous anabolicandrogenic drugs. However, it is recommended thatcreatine supplementation only be considered for useby younger athletes who: a) are involved in serious/competitive supervised training; b) are consuming awell-balanced and performance enhancing diet; c)are knowledgeable about the appropriate use ofcreatine; and d) do not exceed recommendeddosages.

4. Label advisories on creatine products that cautionagainst usage by those under 18 years old, whileperhaps intended to insulate their manufacturersfrom legal liability, are likely unnecessary given thescience supporting creatine’s safety, including inchildren and adolescents.

5. At present, creatine monohydrate is the mostextensively studied and clinically effective form ofcreatine for use in nutritional supplements in termsof muscle uptake and ability to increase high-intensityexercise capacity.

6. The addition of carbohydrate or carbohydrate andprotein to a creatine supplement appears to increasemuscular uptake of creatine, although the effect onperformance measures may not be greater than usingcreatine monohydrate alone.

7. The quickest method of increasing muscle creatinestores appears to be to consume ~ 0.3 g/kg/day ofcreatine monohydrate for 5–7 days followed by3–5 g/day thereafter to maintain elevated stores.Initially, ingesting smaller amounts of creatinemonohydrate (e.g., 3–5 g/day) will increase musclecreatine stores over a three to 4 week period,however, the initial performance effects of thismethod of supplementation are less supported.

8. Clinical populations have been supplemented withhigh levels of creatine monohydrate (0.3–0.8 g/kg/day equivalent to 21–56 g/day for a 70-kgindividual) for years with no clinically significantor serious adverse events.

9. Further research is warranted to examine thepotential medical benefits of creatine monohydrateand precursors like guanidinoacetic acid on sport,health and medicine.

Essential amino acids (EAA) Research examining theimpact of the essential amino acids on stimulating muscleprotein synthesis is an extremely popular area. Collectively,this data indicates that ingesting 6–12 g of the essentialamino acids (EAA) in the absence of feeding [200] andprior to [201, 202] and/or following resistance exercise

stimulates protein synthesis [202–208], with this responsebeing largely independent of the protein source or foodtype [209]. Theoretically, this may enhance increases infat-free mass, but to date limited evidence exists to demon-strate that supplementation with non-intact sources ofEAAs (e.g., free form amino acids) while resistance trainingpositively impacts fat-free mass accretion. Moreover, otherresearch has indicated that changes in muscle proteinsynthesis may not correlate with phenotypic adaptations toexercise training [210]. An abundance of evidence is avail-able, however, to indicate that ingestion of high-quality pro-tein sources can heighten adaptations to resistance training[211]. While various methods of protein quality assessmentexist, most of these approaches center upon the amount ofEAAs that are found within the protein source, and innearly all situations, the highest quality protein sources arethose containing the highest amounts of EAAs. To thispoint, a number of published studies are available that statethe EAAs operate as a prerequisite to stimulate peakrates of muscle protein synthesis [212–215]. To betterunderstand the impact of ingesting free-form aminoacids versus an intact protein source, Katsanos et al.[216] administered similar doses of the essential aminoacids (6.72 g) as part of an intact protein (15 g of wheyprotein isolate) source or as free amino acids whilecompleting a resistance training program in elderlyadults. Protein accrual was greater when the amino aciddose was provided in an intact source. While the age ofthe participants in this study may have impacted out-comes [217], this study’s results do highlight the needfor more research to better understand to what extenttraining adaptations are due to the EAA content or ifadditional benefits are present from ingesting an intactprotein source.While the EAAs are comprised of nine separate amino

acids, some individual EAAs have received considerableattention for their potential role in impacting protein trans-lation and muscle protein synthesis. In this respect, thebranched-chain amino acids have been highlighted for theirpredominant role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis[218, 219]. To this point, Karlsson and colleagues [220]demonstrated significantly higher increases in p70s6kexpression in recovery from a single bout of lower-bodyresistance exercise in seven male participants after ingest-ing a BCAA solution containing 100 mg/kg BCAA whencompared to ingesting a placebo. Interestingly, Mobergand investigators [221] had trained volunteers complete astandardized bout of resistance training in conjunctionwith ingestion of placebo, leucine, BCAA or EAA whilemeasuring changes in post-exercise activation of p70s6k.They concluded that EAA ingestion led to a nine-foldgreater increase in p70s6k activation and that these resultswere primarily attributable to the BCAAs. Finally, a 2017study by Jackman et al. [222] compared the ability of a

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5.6 g dose of BCAAs (versus a placebo) to stimulate in-creases in muscle protein synthesis. Myofibrillar muscleprotein synthesis rates were increased significantly (~ 20%,p < 0.05) in comparison to a placebo. While significant, thismagnitude of change was notably less than thepost-exercise MPS responses seen when doses of whey pro-tein that delivered similar amounts of the BCAAs wereconsumed [88, 223]. These outcomes led the authors toconclude that the full complement of EAAs was advised tomaximally stimulate increases in MPS.Of all the interest captured by the BCAAs, leucine is

accepted to be the primary driver of acute changes in pro-tein translation. In this respect, Dreyer et al. [224] andothers [225] have reported that providing leucine aftercompletion of resistance exercise can further potentiateincreases in mTOR signalling and protein translation. Inthis respect, Jager et al. [11] have highlighted that an idealdose of leucine to stimulate increases in protein transla-tion is likely somewhere between 1.7–3.5 g.

Protein A growing body of literature is available thatsuggests higher amounts of protein are needed by exer-cising individuals to optimize exercise training adapta-tions [11, 83, 211, 226]. Collectively, these sourcesindicate that people undergoing intense training withthe primary intention to promote accretion of fat-freemass should consume between 1.4–2.0 g of protein perkilogram of body weight per day [83, 226]. Tang and col-leagues [95] conducted a classic study that examined theability of three different sources of protein (hydrolyzedwhey isolate, micellar casein and soy isolate) to stimulateacute changes in muscle protein synthesis both at restand after a single bout of resistance exercise. These au-thors concluded that all three protein sources signifi-cantly increased muscle protein synthesis rates both atrest and in response to resistance exercise. When this re-sponse is extrapolated over the course of several weeks,multiple studies have reported on the ability of differentforms of protein to significantly increase fat-free masswhile resistance training [70, 227–232]. Cermak et al.[211] performed a meta-analysis that examined the im-pact of protein supplementation on changes in strengthand fat-free mass. Data from 22 separate published stud-ies that included 680 research participants were includedin the analysis. These authors concluded that proteinsupplementation demonstrated a positive effect offat-free mass and lower-body strength in both youngerand older participants. Similarly, Morton and investiga-tors [83] published results from a meta-analysis that alsoincluded a meta-regression approach involving data from49 studies and 1863 participants. They concluded thatthe ability of protein to positively impact fat-free massaccretion increases up to approximately 1.62 g of proteinper kilogram of body weight per day whereby higher

amounts beyond that do not appear to promote greatergains in fat-free mass. Although more research is necessaryin this area, evidence clearly indicates that protein needs ofindividuals engaged in intense training are elevated andconsequently those athletes who achieve higher intakes ofprotein while training promote greater changes in fat-freemass. Beyond the impact of protein to foster greatertraining-induced adaptations such as increases instrength and muscle mass, several studies have exam-ined the ability of different types of protein to stimu-late changes in fat-free mass [229, 231, 233–235]while several studies and reviews have critically ex-plored the role protein may play in achieving weightloss in athletes [236, 237] as well as during periods ofcaloric restriction [238, 239]. Therefore, it is simplistic andmisleading to suggest that there is no data supportingcontentions that athletes need more protein in their dietand/or there is no potential ergogenic value of incorporat-ing different types of protein into the diet. It is the pos-ition stand of ISSN that exercising individuals needapproximately 1.4 to 2.0 g of protein per kilogram ofbodyweight per day [11].

Limited or mixed evidence to support efficacy

Adenosine − 5′-triphosphate (ATP) ATP is the primaryintracellular energy source and in addition, has extensiveextracellular functions including the increase in skeletalmuscle calcium permeability and vasodilation. While intra-venous administration of ATP is bioavailable [240], severalstudies have shown that oral ATP is not systematically bio-available [241]. However, chronic supplementation withATP increases the capacity to synthesize ATP within theerythrocytes without increasing resting concentrations inthe plasma, thereby minimizing exercise-induced drops inATP levels [242]. Oral ATP supplementation has demon-strated initial ergogenic properties, after a single dose, im-proving total weight lifted and total number of repetitions[243]. ATP may increase blood flow to the exercisingmuscle [244] and may reduce fatigue and increase peakpower output during later bouts of repeated bouts exercise[242]. ATP may also support greater recovery and leanmass maintenance under high volume training [245], how-ever, this has only been reported in one previous study. Inaddition, ATP supplementation in clinical populations hasbeen shown to improve strength, reduce pain after kneesurgery, and reduce the length of the hospital stay [246].However, given the limited number of human studies ofATP on increasing exercise-induced gains in muscle mass,more chronic human training studies are warranted.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) BCAA supple-mentation has been reported to decrease exercise-inducedprotein degradation and/or muscle enzyme release (an

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indicator of muscle damage) possibly by promoting ananti-catabolic hormonal profile [118, 247, 248] and morerecent studies support their ability to favorably promoteresponses to damaging eccentric muscle contractions[249, 250]. Leucine, in particular, is recognized as a key-stone of sorts that when provided in the correct amounts(3–6 g) activates the mTORC1 complex resulting in favor-able initiation of translation [251]. To highlight this im-pact for leucine, varying doses of whey protein andleucine levels were provided to exercising men at rest andin response to an acute bout of lower-body resistance ex-ercise to examine the muscle protein synthetic response.Interestingly, when a low dose of whey protein (6.25 g)was enriched with leucine to equal the leucine contentfound in a 25-g dose of whey protein, the ability to stimu-late muscle protein synthesis was retained. While the 25-gdose of whey protein did favorably sustain the increases inmuscle protein synthesis, the added leucine highlights animportant role for leucine in stimulating muscle proteinsynthesis in response to resistance exercise [223]. For thesereasons, it has been speculated that the leucine content ofwhey protein and other high-quality protein sources havebeen suggested to be primary reasons for their ability tostimulate favorable adaptations to resistance training[252, 253]. Theoretically, BCAA supplementation duringintense training may help minimize protein degradationand thereby lead to greater gains in (or limit losses of)fat-free mass, but only limited evidence exists to supportthis hypothesis. For example, Schena and colleagues [254]reported that BCAA supplementation (~ 10 g/d) during21-days of trekking at altitude increased fat free mass(1.5%) while subjects ingesting a placebo had no change inmuscle mass. Bigard and associates [255] reported thatBCAA supplementation appeared to minimize loss ofmuscle mass in subjects training at altitude for 6 weeks.Finally, Candeloro and coworkers [256] reported that30 days of BCAA supplementation (14 g/day) promoted asignificant increase in muscle mass (1.3%) and gripstrength (+ 8.1%) in untrained subjects. Alternatively, Spil-lane and colleagues [257] reported that 8 weeks of resist-ance training while supplementing with either 9 g ofBCAAs or placebo did not impact body composition ormuscle performance. Most recently, Jackman et al. [222]examined the ability of an acute dose of branched-chainamino acids to stimulate increases in muscle protein syn-thesis. While acute ingestion of BCAAs did promote a22% greater increase in muscle protein synthesis whencompared to a placebo, the determined rates were 50%lower than what is commonly seen when a dose of wheyprotein containing similar amounts of BCAAs is ingested.As mixed outcomes cloud the ability to make cleardeterminations, studies strongly suggest a mechanisticrole for BCAAs and in particular leucine, yet transla-tional data fails to consistently support the need for

BCAA supplementation. Alternatively, multiple studiesdo support BCAAs ability to mitigate recovery fromdamaging exercise while their ability to favorably im-pact resistance training adaptations needs further re-search. This will be discussed in a later section.

Phosphatidic acid Phosphatidic acid (PA) is a diacyl-gly-cerophospholipid that is enriched in eukaryotic cell mem-branes and it can act as a signalling lipid [258].Interestingly, PA has been repeatedly shown to activate themammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling inmuscle; an effect which ultimately leads to increases inmuscle protein synthesis. For instance, Fang et al. [259]demonstrated that PA activates mTOR in vitro.Hornberger et al. [260] also reported that mechanicalstretching of skeletal muscle in situ promotes an in-crease in intramuscular PA levels and this effect wasassociated with the activation of mTOR signalling. Todate, two chronic human supplementation studieshave been performed whereby PA supplementation(750 mg/day) occurred in subjects engaged in resist-ance training. Hoffman et al. [261] reported that PAsupplementation increased whole-body lean bodymass (LBM) by 1.7 kg, whereas the placebo groupdemonstrated no relative change in LBM (0.1 kg; p =0.065 between groups). Joy et al. [262] performed asimilar eight-week study with more participants andsupervised training sessions, and reported that PAsupplementation significantly increased LBM by 2.4 kg,whereas the placebo group demonstrated marginal in-creases in LBM (1.2 kg; p < 0.05 between groups). A thirdstudy confirmed the beneficial effects of PA onexercise-induced gains in lean body mass [263]. The cur-rently established dose of PA is 750 mg per day and an-other study investigating lower doses, 375 and 250 mg perday, failed to show significant benefits on lean body mass[264]. Hence, preliminary human research suggests thatPA supplementation can increase anabolic signalling inskeletal muscle and enhance gains in muscle mass with re-sistance training. Given that PA supplementation studiesare in their infancy relative to other muscle-building sup-plements (e.g., whey protein, creatine, HMB, etc.), futurestudies are needed in order to determine the optimal dos-age, timing, and duration of supplementation needed foroptimal muscle mass gains.

Little to no evidence to support efficacy and/or safetyAgmatine sulfateAgmatine, the decarboxylation product of the aminoacid L-arginine, has shown different biological effects indifferent in vitro and animal models [265] indicatingpotential benefits in an athletic population. Agmatine isthought to improve insulin release and glucose uptake,assist in the secretion of luteinizing hormone, influence

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the nitric oxide signalling pathway, offer protection fromoxidative stress, and is potentially involved in neuro-transmission [266]. It is mostly found in fermented foods[267], with higher levels found in alcoholic beverages.Currently, nearly all research involving agmatine is com-monly from animal research models and no human studieshave been conducted to examine its impact on blood flowor impacting resistance training adaptations such asstrength and body composition. There does not appear tobe any scientific evidence that Agmatine supports increasesin lean body mass or muscular performance.

α-ketoglutarate (α-KG)α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) is an intermediate in the Krebscycle that is involved in aerobic energy metabolism andmay function to stimulate nitric oxide production. Thereis some clinical evidence that α-KG may serve as ananticatabolic nutrient after surgery [268, 269]. However,it is unclear whether α-KG supplementation duringtraining may affect training adaptations. Very littleresearch has been conducted on just alpha-ketoglutaratein humans to examine exercise outcomes. For example,Little and colleagues [270] supplemented with creatine, acombination of creatine, α-KG, taurine, BCAA andmedium-chain triglycerides, or a placebo. The combin-ation of nutrients increased the maximal number ofbench press repetitions completed and Wingate peakpower while no changes were reported in the placebogroup. Campbell and investigators [271] supplemented35 healthy trained men with 2 g of arginine and 2 g ofα-KG or placebo in a double-blind manner while resist-ance training for 8 weeks. Supplementation with arginine+ α-KG increased bench press strength and Wingate peakpower, but did not impact body composition. Finally, Wil-loughby and colleagues [272] examined the results ofarginine α-KG supplementation in relation to increasingnitric oxide production (vasodilation during resistanceexercise), hemodynamics, brachial artery flow, circulatinglevels of l-arginine, and asymmetric dimethyl arginine inactive males. This study found that although plasmaL-arginine increased, there was no significant impact ofsupplementation on nitric oxide production after a boutof resistance exercise. Due to the lack of research onα-KG examining its impact on exercise training adapta-tions, its use cannot be recommended at this time.

ArginineArginine is commonly classified as a conditionally essentialamino acid and has been linked to nitric oxide productionand increases in blood flow that are purported to thenstimulate enhanced nutrient and hormone delivery andfavorably impact resistance training adaptations [273]. Todate, few studies have examined the independent impact ofarginine on the ability to enhance fat-free mass increases

while resistance training. Tang and colleagues [274] usedan acute model to examine the ability of an oral 10-g doseof arginine to stimulate changes in muscle protein synthe-sis. These authors reported that arginine administrationfailed to impact muscle protein synthesis or femoral arteryblood flow. Growth hormone levels did rise in response toarginine ingestion, which contrasts with the findings ofForbes et al., [275] who reported a blunting of growth hor-mone production after acute ingestion of arginine instrength trained males. Regardless, the Tang study [274]and others [276, 277] failed to link the increase in growthhormone to changes in rates of muscle protein synthesis.Notably, other studies have also failed to show a change inblood flow after arginine ingestion, one of its key pur-ported benefits [272, 278]. Campbell and colleagues pub-lished outcomes from an 8 week resistance training studythat supplemented healthy men in a double-blind fashionwith either a placebo or 2 g of arginine and 2 g ofα-ketoglutarate. No changes in fat mass or fat-free masswere reported in this study. Therefore, due to the limiteddata of arginine supplementation on stimulating furtherincreases of exercise in muscle mass, its use for is not rec-ommended at this time.

BoronBoron is a trace mineral whose physiological role is notclearly understood. A number of proposed functions havebeen touted for boron: vitamin D metabolism, macromin-eral metabolism, immune support, increase testosteronelevels and promote anabolism [279]. Due to a lack ofscientific evidence surrounding boron, no official DailyReference Intake (DRI) is established. Several studies haveevaluated the effects of boron supplementation duringtraining on strength and body composition alterations.However, these studies (conducted on male bodybuilders)indicate that boron supplementation (2.5 mg/d) had nosignificant impact on muscle mass or strength [280, 281].Further, two investigations [282, 283] examined the impactof boron supplementation on bone mineral density inathletic and sedentary populations. In both investigations,boron supplementation did not significantly influencebone mineral density. Therefore, due to the limitedfindings on boron supplementation, its use is not recom-mended, and more research is warranted to determine itsphysiological impact.

ChromiumChromium is a trace mineral that is actively involved inmacronutrient metabolism. Clinical studies have sug-gested that chromium potentiates the effects of insulin,particularly in diabetic populations. Due to its closeinteraction with insulin, chromium supplementation hasbeen theorized to impact anabolism and exercise trainingadaptations. Initial research was promising with chromium

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supplementation being associated with increases in muscleand strength, particularly in women [284–286]. Subsequentwell-controlled research studies [287] since that time haveconsistently failed to report a benefit for chromium supple-mentation (200–800 μg/d for 4–16 weeks) [288–294].Most recently, chromium supplementation was investi-gated for its ability to impact glycogen synthesis afterhigh-intensity exercise and was found to exert no impactover recovery of glycogen [295]. In summary, chromiumsupplementation appears to exert very little potential forits ability to stimulate or support improvements in fat-freemass. Therefore, due to the limited data of arginine supple-mentation on stimulating further increases of exercise inmuscle mass, its use for is not recommended at this time.

Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)Animal studies indicate that adding CLA to dietary feeddecreases body fat, increases muscle and bone mass, hasanti-cancer properties, enhances immunity, and inhibitsprogression of heart disease [296–298]. Although animalstudies are impressive [299–301], human studies, at best,suggest a modest ability, independent of exercise or dietchanges, of CLA to stimulate fat loss [302–305]. More-over, very little research has been conducted on CLA tobetter understand if any scenario exists where its usemay be justified. Initial work by Pinkoski et al. [306] sug-gested that CLA supplementation may help minimizecatabolism while resistance training, but overall im-provements in body composition from this study failedto yield positive outcomes. Two studies are available thatsupplemented exercising younger [307] and older indi-viduals [308] with a combination of CLA and creatineand reported significant improvements in strength andbody composition, but these results are thought to bethe result of creatine. Currently, it seems there is littleevidence that CLA supplementation during training canaffect lean tissue accretion and has limited efficacy [309].

D-aspartic acidAlso known as aspartate, aspartic acid is a non-essentialamino acid. Two isomers exist within aspartic acid:L-Aspartic acid and D-Aspartic acid. D-Aspartic acid isthought to help boost athletic performance and function asa testosterone booster. It is also used to conserve musclemass. While limited research is available in humansexamining D-aspartic, Willoughby and Leutholtz [310]published a study to determine the impact of D-asparticacid in relation to testosterone levels and performance inresistance-trained males. The results showed D-asparticacid did not impact testosterone levels nor did it improveany aspect of performance. In agreement, Melville andcolleagues [311] had participants supplement with eitherthree or 6 g of D-aspartic acid and concluded that neitherdose of D-aspartic acid stimulated any changes in

testosterone and other anabolic hormones. Later, Melvilleet al. [312] supplemented 22 men in a randomized,double-blind fashion with either a placebo or 6 g ofD-aspartic acid and concluded that 12 weeks of supple-mentation exerted no impact on resting levels of free ortotal testosterone and all changes observed in strengthor hypertrophy were similar to what was experienced inthe placebo group. Based on the currently available litera-ture, D-aspartic acid is not recommended to improvemuscle health.

EcdysteronesEcdysterones (also known as ectysterone, 20 β-Hydro-xyecdysterone, turkesterone, ponasterone, ecdysone, orecdystene) are naturally derived phytoecdysteroids (i.e.,insect hormones). They are typically extracted from theherbs Leuza rhaptonticum sp., Rhaponticum cartha-moides, or Cyanotis vaga. They can also be found inhigh concentrations in the herb Suma (also known asBrazilian Ginseng or Pfaffia). Initial interest was gener-ated for ecdysterones due to reports of research fromRussia and Czechoslovakia that indicated a potentialphysiological benefit in insects and animals [313–316].A review by Bucci on various herbals and exercise per-formance also mentioned suma (ecdysterone) [317].Unfortunately, the initial work was available in obscurejournals with sub-standard study designs and presentationof results. In 2006, Wilborn and coworkers [318] com-pleted what remains as the only study in humans to exam-ine the impact of ecdysterones while resistance training.Herein, a 200 mg daily dose of 20-hydroxyecdysone over8 weeks yielded no impact on changes in fat free mass oranabolic/catabolic hormone status. Ecdysterones are notrecommended for supplementation to increase trainingadaptations or performance.

Fenugreek extractFenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum) is an Ayurvedicherb historically used to enhance masculinity and libido.Fenugreek extract has been shown to increase testoster-one levels by decreasing the activity of the aromatase en-zyme metabolizing testosterone into estradiol [319, 320].Initial research by Poole et al. [321] supplemented resist-ance trained men in a randomized, double-blind fashionwith a placebo or 500 mg of Fenugreek extract. After8 weeks of supplementing and resistance training, signifi-cantly greater improvements in body fat, lower bodystrength, and upper body strength were observed.Wankhede and colleagues [320] reported a significantincrease in repetitions performed to failure using thebench press and a reduction in body fat when 600 mgFenugreek extract was consumed while following a resist-ance training program. Initial research using Fenugreek

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extract suggests it may help improve resistance-trainingadaptations, but more research in different populations isneeded before any further recommendations can be made.

Gamma oryzanol (ferulic acid)Gamma oryzanol is a mixture of a plant sterol and ferulicacid theorized to increase anabolic hormonal responses,strength and muscle mass during training [322, 323]. Al-though data are limited, one study reported no effect of0.5 g/d of gamma oryzanol supplementation on strength,muscle mass, or anabolic hormonal profiles during 9 weeksof training [324]. Most recently, Eslami and colleagues[325] supplemented healthy male volunteers with eithergamma oryzanol or placebo for 9 weeks while resistancetraining. In this study, changes in body composition werenot realized, but a significant increase in strength wasfound in the bench press and leg curl exercise. With limitedresearch of mixed outcomes at this point, no conclu-sive recommendation can be made at this time asmore research is needed to fully determine what im-pact, if any, gamma oryzanol supplementation mayhave in exercising individuals.

GlutamineGlutamine is the most plentiful non-essential amino acidin the body and plays several important physiological roles[74, 326, 327]. Glutamine has been reported to increasecell volume and stimulate protein [328–330] and glycogensynthesis [331]. Despite its important role in physiologicalprocesses, there is no compelling evidence to support theuse of glutamine supplementation in terms of increasinglean body mass and a 2008 review by Gleeson concludedthat minimal evidence is available to support glutamine’spurported role in exercise and sport training [332]. Initialresearch by Colker and associates [333] reported that sub-jects who supplemented their diet with glutamine (5 g)and BCAA (3 g) enriched whey protein (40 g) duringresistance training promoted about a two pound greatergain in muscle mass and greater gains in strength thaningesting whey protein alone. In contrast, Kerksick andcolleagues [232] reported no additional impact onstrength, endurance, body composition and anaerobicpower of combining 5 g of glutamine and 3 g of BCAAs to40 g of whey protein in healthy men and women whor*sistance trained for 10 weeks. In addition, Antonio et al.[334] reported that high-dose glutamine ingestion (0.3 g/kg) offered no impact of the number of repetitionscompleted using the leg press or bench press exercises. Ina well-designed investigation, Candow and co-workers[335] studied the effects of oral glutamine supplementa-tion combined with resistance training in young adults.Thirty-one participants were randomly allocated to receiveeither glutamine (0.9 g/kg of lean tissue mass) or a malto-dextrin placebo (0.9 g/kg of lean tissue mass) during

6 weeks of total body resistance training. The authors con-cluded glutamine supplementation during resistance train-ing had no significant effect on muscle performance, bodycomposition or muscle protein degradation in younghealthy adults. While there may be other beneficial usesfor glutamine supplementation (i.e. gastrointestinal healthand peptide uptake in stressed populations [336] and, asmentioned previously, mitigation of soreness and recoveryof lost force production [337]), there does not appear to beany scientific evidence that it supports increases in leanbody mass or muscular performance.

Growth hormone releasing peptides (GHRP) and secretagoguesGrowth hormone releasing peptides (GHRP) and othernon-peptide compounds (secretagogues) facilitate growthhormone (GH) release [338, 339], and can impact sleeppatterns, food intake and cardiovascular functioning [340]along with improvements in lean mass in clinical wastingstates [341]. These observations have served as the basisfor development of nutritionally-based GH stimulators(e.g., amino acids, pituitary peptides, “pituitary substances”,Macuna pruriens, broad bean, alpha-GPC, etc.) and con-tinue to capture interest by sporting populations for theirpotential to impact growth hormone secretion, recoveryand robustness of training [342]. Although there is clinicalevidence that pharmaceutical grade GHRP’s and somenon-peptide secretagogues can increase GH and IGF-1levels at rest and in response to exercise, it has not beendemonstrated that such increases lead to an increase inskeletal muscle mass [343]. Finally, Chromiak and Antonio[344] reported that oral ingestion of many secretagoguesfail to consistently stimulate hormone increases in growthhormone and fail to stimulate greater changes in musclemass or strength. Currently, there is no convincing scien-tific evidence that secretagogues support increases in leanbody mass or muscular performance.

IsoflavonesIsoflavones are naturally occurring non-steroidalphytoestrogens that have a similar chemical structure asipriflavone (a synthetic flavonoid drug used in the treat-ment of osteoporosis) [345–347]. For this reason, soyprotein (which is an excellent source of isoflavones) andisoflavone extracts have been investigated in the possibletreatment of osteoporosis as well as their role in bodycomposition changes and changes in cardiovascularhealth markers. In this respect, multiple studies havesupported the ability of isoflavone supplementation inolder women alone [348] and in combination with ex-ercise over the course of 6–12 months to improvevarious body composition parameters [349–351].Findings from these studies have some applications tosedentary, postmenopausal women. However, thereare currently no peer-reviewed data indicating that

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isoflavone supplementation affects exercise, body compos-ition, or training adaptations in physically active individ-uals. For example, Wilborn and colleagues [318] reportedthat 8 weeks of supplementing with isoflavones with re-sistance training did not significantly impact strength orbody composition.

Ornithine-α-ketoglutarate (OKG)OKG (via enteral feeding) has been shown to significantlyshorten wound healing time and improve nitrogen balancein severe burn patients [352, 353]. A 2004 review by Cyno-ber postulated that OKG may operate as a precursor toarginine and nitric oxide, but the overall lack of efficacyfor arginine and other precursors limits the potential ofOKG. Because of its ability to improve nitrogen balance,OKG may provide some value for athletes engaged inintense training. A study by Chetlin and colleagues [354]reported that OKG supplementation (10 g/day) during6 weeks of resistance training significantly increased upperbody strength. However, no significant differences wereobserved in lower body strength, training volume, gains inmuscle mass, or fasting insulin and growth hormone.Since the previously published version of this review, noadditional human research has been published and conse-quently, no further recommendations can be made regard-ing OKG’s potential as an ergogenic aid.

Prohormones and anabolic steroidsTestosterone and growth hormone are two primary hor-mones in the body that serve to promote gains in musclemass (i.e., anabolism) and strength while decreasing musclebreakdown (catabolism) and fat mass [355–362]. Testoster-one also promotes male sex characteristics (e.g., hair, deepvoice, etc.) [356]. Low level anabolic steroids are often pre-scribed by physicians to prevent loss of muscle mass forpeople with various diseases and illnesses [363–374]. It iswell known that athletes have experimented with largedoses of anabolic steroids in an attempt to enhance train-ing adaptations, increase muscle mass, and/or promoterecovery during intense training [356–358, 361, 362, 375].Research has generally shown that use of anabolic steroidsand growth hormone during training can promote gains instrength and muscle mass [355, 360, 362, 368, 371,376–383]. However, a number of potentially life threaten-ing adverse effects of steroid abuse have been reported in-cluding liver and hormonal dysfunction, hyperlipidemia(high cholesterol), increased risk to cardiovascular disease,and behavioral changes (i.e., steroid rage) [378, 384–388].Some of the adverse effects associated with the use ofthese agents are irreversible, particularly in women [385].For these reason, anabolic steroids have been banned bymost sport organizations and should be avoided unlessprescribed by a physician to treat an illness.

Prohormones (e.g., androstenedione, 4-androstenediol,19-nor-4-androstenedione, 19-nor-4-androstenediol, 7-ketoDHEA, and DHEA, etc.) are naturally derived precursors totestosterone or other anabolic steroids. Their use has beensuggested to naturally boost levels of these anabolic hor-mones. While data is available demonstrating increases intestosterone [389, 390], virtually no evidence exists demon-strating heightened training adaptations in younger menwith normal hormone levels. In fact, most studies indicatethat they do not affect testosterone and that some may ac-tually increase estrogen levels and reduce HDL-cholesterol[378, 389, 391–396]. On a related note, studies have exam-ined the ability of various ingredients to increase testoster-one via inhibition of aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase[397]. Rohle et al. [398] and Willoughby et al. [399]reported that significant increases in free testosterone anddihydrotesterone occurred, but soft tissue compositioneither was not measured [398] or wasn’t changed as a resultof supplementation [399]. Consequently, although theremay be some potential applications for older individuals toreplace diminishing androgen levels, it appears that prohor-mones have no training value. Since prohormones are“steroid-like compounds”, most athletic organizations havebanned their use. Use of nutritional supplements contain-ing prohormones will result in a positive drug test foranabolic steroids. Use of supplements (knowingly orunknowingly) containing prohormones have been believedto have contributed to a number of recent positive drugtests among athletes. Consequently, care should be taken tomake sure that any supplement an athlete considers takingdoes not contain prohormone precursors particularly iftheir sport bans and tests for use of such compounds.Companies such as Informed Choice ( and National Sanitation Foundation, NSF (aka, NSFCertified for Sport) have developed assuranceprograms to test and screen various nutrition products.Moreover, several professional sporting organizations haveincorporated language into the collective bargaining thatrequires all products provided by teams or sporting organi-zations must provide products that have achieved certain3rd party approvals for safety, banned substances and/orlabel claims. It is noteworthy to mention that many prohor-mones are not lawful for sale in the USA since the passageof the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. The distinctiveexception to this is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA),which has been the subject of numerous clinical studies inaging populations.

Sulfo-polysaccharides (myostatin inhibitors)Myostatin or growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF-8) is atransforming growth factor known as a negative regulatorof skeletal muscle hypertrophy [400]. In humans, inhibitingmyostatin gene expression has been theorized as a way toprevent or slow down muscle wasting in various diseases,

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speed up recovery of injured muscles, and/or promote in-creases in muscle mass and strength in athletes [401].Since 2010, no additional research has been published thatexamined the impact of any nutritional ingredient or strat-egy to inhibit myostatin expression. In humans, myostatinclearly plays a role in regulating skeletal muscle mass. Forexample, a study by Ivey and colleagues [401] reported thatfemale athletes with a less common myostatin allele experi-enced greater gains in muscle mass during training andreduced atrophy during detraining. Interestingly, no suchchanges were reported for men. Willoughby and colleagues[402] supplemented untrained males with 1200 mg/day ofCytoseira Canariensis (a form of sea algae), a purportedmyostatin inhibitor, and reported no changes for fat-freemass, strength and blood concentrations of myostatin.These results were corroborated by Wilborn et al. [318]who reported no impact of sulfo-polysaccaride supplemen-tation on body composition or performance changes. As itstands, there is currently no published data supporting theuse of sulfo-polysaccharides or any other ingredient toutedto act as a myostatin inhibitor for their ability to increasestrength or muscle mass.

Tribulus terrestrisTribulus terrestris (also known as puncture weed/vine orcaltrops) is a plant extract that has been suggested tostimulate leutinizing hormone which stimulates the naturalproduction of testosterone [403]. Consequently, tribulus ismarketed as a supplement that can increase testosteroneand promote greater gains in strength and muscle massduring training. In human research models, several studieshave indicated that tribulus supplementation alone[404, 405] or in combination with other segragotogues andandrogen precusors [406, 407] appears to have no effects onbody composition or strength during resistance training.

Vanadyl sulfate (vanadium)Vanadyl sulfate is a trace mineral that has been found toaffect insulin-sensitivity (similar to chromium) and mayaffect protein and glucose metabolism [403, 408]. In thisregard, reports have highlighted the potential efficacyand support for vanadium to improve insulin sensitivity[409] and assist with the management of diabetes [410].In relation to its potential ability to impact protein andglucose metabolism, vanadyl sulfate supplementation hasbeen purported to positively impact strength and musclemass [74, 411]. However, no studies are available thatsupport the ability of vanadyl sulfate supplementation toimpact strength or muscle mass in non-diabetic individ-uals who are currently resistance training [412, 413].

Zinc/magnesium aspartate (ZMA)The main ingredients in ZMA formulations are zincmonomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and

vitamin B-6. ZMA supplementation is based upon the ra-tionale that zinc and magnesium deficiency may reduce theproduction of testosterone and insulin like growth factor(IGF-1). Consequently, ZMA supplementation is advocatedfor its ability to increase testosterone and IGF-1, which isfurther suggested to promote recovery, anabolism, andstrength during training. Two studies with contrasting out-comes have examined the ability of acute ZMA administra-tion to increase anabolic hormone concentrations. Initially,Brilla and Conte [414] reported that a zinc-magnesium for-mulation increased testosterone and IGF-1 (two anabolichormones) leading to greater strength gains in footballplayers participating in spring training while Koehler et al.[415] reported that ZMA supplementation increasedserum zinc and excretion, but failed to change free andtotal testosterone levels. Wilborn et al. [416] had resistancetrained males ingest a ZMA supplement or placebo in adouble-blind fashion and resistance train for 8 weeks andfound no change in free or total testosterone, strength orfat-free mass (via DXA). It is noted that previous deficien-cies in zinc may negatively impact endogenous productionof testosterone secondary to its role in androgen metabol-ism and steroid receptor interaction [417]. To this point,Brilla and Conte [414] did report depletions of both zincand magnesium, thus increases in testosterone levelscould have been attributed to deificient nutritional statusrather than a pharmacologic effect. More research isneeded to further evaluate the role of ZMA on body com-position and strength during training before definitiveconclusions can be drawn.

Performance enhancement supplementsSeveral nutritional supplements have been proposed toenhance exercise performance. Throughout this section,emphasis is placed upon results that directly measuredsome attribute of performance. In situations where anutrient is purported to stimulate increases in fat-freemass and enhance performance (i.e., creatine), a large,more developed section is available while a shorter, moreconcise section is available in the other category. Table 3categorizes the proposed ergogenic nutrients into:Strong Evidence to Support Efficacy and ApparentlySafe, Limited or Mixed Evidence to Support Efficacy,Little to No Evidence to Support Efficacy and/or Safety.

Strong evidence to support efficacy and apparently safe

ß-alanine ß-alanine, a non-essential amino acid, has er-gogenic potential based on its role in carnosine synthesis[12]. Carnosine is a dipeptide comprised of the aminoacids, histidine and ß-alanine, that naturally occur inlarge amounts in skeletal muscles. Carnosine is believedto be one of the primary muscle-buffering substancesavailable in skeletal muscle. Studies have demonstrated

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that taking four to 6 g of ß-alanine orally, in divideddoses, over a 28-day period is effective in increasing car-nosine levels [418, 419], while more recent studies havedemonstrated increased carnosine and efficacy up to12 g per day [420]. According to the ISSN position state-ment, evaluating the existing body of ß-alanine researchsuggests improvements in exercise performance with morepronounced effects on activities lasting one to 4 min; im-provements in neuromuscular fatigue, particularly in oldersubjects, and lastly; potential benefits in tactical personnel[12]. Other studies have shown that ß-alanine supplemen-tation can increase the number of repetitions one can do[421], increase lean body mass [422], increase knee exten-sion torque [423], and increase training volume [421]. Infact, one study also showed that adding ß-alanine to creat-ine improves performance over creatine alone [424]. Whileit appears that ß-alanine supplementation can improveperformance, other studies have failed to demonstrate aperformance benefit [425, 426].

Caffeine Caffeine is a naturally derived stimulant foundin many nutritional supplements typically as guarana,bissey nut, or kola. Caffeine can also be found in coffee,tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine hasalso been shown to be an effective ergogenic aid for aer-obic and anaerobic exercise with a documented ability toincrease energy expenditure and promote weight loss [14].Research investigating the effects of caffeine on time trialperformance in trained cyclists found that caffeine im-proved speed, peak power, and mean power [427]. Similarresults were observed in a recent study that found cyclistswho ingested a caffeine drink prior to a time trial demon-strated improvements in performance [428, 429]. Studiesindicate that ingestion of caffeine (e.g., 3–9 mg/kg taken30–90 min before exercise) can spare carbohydrate useduring exercise and thereby improve endurance exercisecapacity [430, 431]. In addition to the apparent positive ef-fects on endurance performance, caffeine has also beenshown to improve repeated sprint performance benefitingthe anaerobic athlete [432–434]. Research examining caf-feine’s ability to increase maximal strength and repetitionsto fatigue are largely mixed in their outcomes. For ex-ample, Trexler, et al. [434] reported that caffeine can im-prove repeated sprint performance but failed to impactmaximal strength and repetitions to fatigue using bothupper-body and lower-body exercises. In agreement,Astorino and colleagues [435] revealed no change inupper-body and lower-body strength after resistancetrained males ingested 6 mg/kg of caffeine. Similarly, Beckand investigators [436] provided resistance trained maleswith 201 mg caffeine (2.1–3.0 mg/kg) and reported noimpact on lower-body strength, lower-body muscular en-durance or upper-body muscular endurance. Maximalupper-body strength, however, was improved. In contrast,

other studies have indicated that caffeine may favorablyimpact muscular performance. For example, Goldstein etal. [437] reported that caffeine ingestion (6 mg/kg) signifi-cantly increased bench press strength in a group ofwomen but did not impact repetitions to fatigue. Studiesby Duncan and colleagues [438–441] have examined theimpact of caffeine on strength and endurance perform-ance as well various parameters of mood state while per-forming maximal resistance exercise. Briefly, these authorshave reported improvements in strength and repetitionsto failure using the bench press [438, 439] and other exer-cises [440, 441]. In addition to potential ergogenic impact,these authors also reported that caffeine significantly im-proved various indicators of mood state [438, 440], low-ered ratings of perceived exertion and decreasedperception of muscle pain [439, 441] when acute doses ofcaffeine (5 mg/kg) were provided before maximal resist-ance exercise. As illustrated, when evaluating the researchon caffeine for its ability to impact strength and muscularperformance, the findings are equivocal, and, subse-quently, more research is needed to better determine whatsituations may best predict caffeine’s ability to impactstrength performance. For example, trained subjects havedemonstrated more ergogenic effects compared to un-trained subjects [442, 443]. Also, people who drink caffein-ated drinks regularly, however, appear to experience lessergogenic benefits from caffeine [444]. Some concern hasbeen expressed that ingestion of caffeine prior to exercisemay contribute to dehydration, although several studieshave not supported this concern [430, 445, 446]. Caffeine,from anhydrous and coffee sources are both equally ergo-genic [434]. Caffeine doses above 9 mg/kg can result inurinary caffeine levels that surpass the doping thresholdfor many sport organizations. In summary, consistentscientific evidence is available to indicate that caffeineoperates as an ergogenic aid in several sporting situations.

Carbohydrate One of the best ergogenic aids availablefor athletes and active individuals alike, is carbohydrate.Optimal carbohydrate in the diet on a daily basis, in thehours leading up to exercise, throughout exercise and inthe hours after exercise can ensure endogenous glycogenstores are maintained and support many types of exerciseperformance [41–43, 50]. In this respect, athletes and ac-tive individuals should consume a diet high in carbohydrate(e.g., 55–65% of calories or 5–8 g/kg/day) to maintainmuscle and liver carbohydrate stores [41, 50, 54]. Researchhas clearly identified carbohydrate as an ergogenic aid thatcan prolong exercise [41, 68]. For example, Below and col-leagues [447] provided research that ingesting carbohydratethroughout a time to exhaustion protocol after nearlyan hour of moderate intensity cycling can significantlyextend the time cycling is performed. Moreover,Widrick et al. [129] systematically examined all four

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possible combinations of high and low pre-exerciseintramuscular glycogen levels with and without carbo-hydrate provision before a standard bout of cyclingexercise. When carbohydrate was provided, performancewas improved. In addition to traditional endurance exer-cise models, Williams and Hawley [42] summarized theliterature involving carbohydrate delivery and perform-ance of team sports that are typically characterized byvariable intensities and intermittent periods of heavy exer-tion and concluded that carbohydrate intake can increaseperformance. Pochmuller et al. [68] and Colombani et al.[69] have critically pointed to the duration of the involvedexercise bout, the intensity of exercise involved, and thefasting status of the individuals as key factors that may im-pact exercise performance. Further, Burke and colleagues[23, 50], Hawley et al. [43] and Rodriguez et al. [54] haveall emphasized the importance of optimal carbohydratedelivery throughout various types of sport and recoveryscenarios to support performance. Beyond ingestion, agrowing body of literature has drawn attention to the po-tential impact of carbohydrate mouth rinsing as an ergo-genic strategy. Initial work by Carter and colleagues [448]where they demonstrated an increase in time to exhaus-tion performance while cycling after rinsing (but not swal-lowing) the oral cavity with a carbohydrate solution versusa no carbohydrate rinse revealed that receptors in thebrain might be linked to the mere presence of carbohy-drate in the mouth, which subsequently can work to im-prove various types of exercise performance. While thisconcept is still emerging, some [449–452] but not all[453–455] of the studies have supported the ability ofcarbohydrate mouth rinsing to increase performance. An-other carbohydrate manipulation strategy has includedutilizing high molecular weight carbohydrates solutions,in contrast to traditional low molecular weight beverages,to theoretically accelerate glucose absorption and energyavailability. Importantly, the majority of the literature sug-gests that utilizing a high molecular weight solution canimpart changes in oxidized substrates, or patterns of fuelusage, but appears to have no ergogenic effect on per-formance in males or females [63, 456–459].

Creatine monohydrate As indicated earlier, creatinesupplementation is a well-supported strategy to increasemuscle mass and strength during training. However, cre-atine has also been reported to improve exercise capacityin a variety of settings [182, 460–462]. Specifically, andas discussed by Kreider et al. [10], studies have docu-mented improvements in: a) single and multiple sprints,b) work completed across multiple sets of maximal ef-fort, c) anaerobic threshold, d) glycogen loading, e) workcapacity, f ) recovery, and g) greater training tolerance.Consequently, team sports, individual activities or sportsthat consist of high intensity, intermittent exercise such

as soccer, tennis, basketball, lacrosse, field hockey andrugby can all benefit from creatine use [182]. Moreover,a 2009 study found that in addition to high intensityinterval training creatine improved critical power [460].Less research is available involving creatine supplemen-tation and endurance exercise, but creatine’s ability topromote glycogen loading [463] and storage of carbohy-drate [464–466], key fuels during endurance exercise,may translate into improved endurance exerciseperformance. Indeed, a 2003 study found that ingesting20 g of creatine for 5 days improved endurance andanaerobic performance in elite rowers [467]. Since creat-ine has been reported to enhance interval sprintperformance, creatine supplementation during trainingmay improve training adaptations in endurance andanaerobic athletes, anaerobic capacity, and allow athletesto complete greater volumes of training at or aboveanaerobic threshold [468, 469]. Notably, for athletes whostruggle to maintain their body mass throughout theircompetitive season, creatine use may help athletes inthis respect. Importantly and in addition to creatinebeing an effective ergogenic aid in a wide variety ofsports, studies have documented these outcomes(improvements in acute exercise capacity, work com-pleted during multiple sets and training adaptations) inadolescents [470–474], younger adults [231, 424, 462,475–483], and older individuals [484–490]. Regardingcreatine and athletic performance, there appears to be amisunderstanding that creatine may result in musclecramps and dehydration. However, based on many avail-able studies, there is no clinical evidence that creatinesupplementation will increase susceptibility of dehydra-tion, muscle cramps, or heat related illness [196, 491].

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) During high inten-sity exercise, acid (H+) and carbon dioxide (CO2) accu-mulate in the muscle and blood. The bicarbonate systemis the primary means the body rids itself of the acidityand CO2 via their conversion to bicarbonate prior tosubsequent removal in the lungs. Bicarbonate loading(e.g., 0.3 g per kg taken 60–90 min prior to exercise or5 g taken two times per day for 5 days) as sodium bicar-bonate has been shown to be an effective way to bufferacidity during high intensity exercise lasting one to3 min in duration [431, 492–494]. Matson et al. [495]reported improvements in exercise capacity in eventslike the 400–800 m run while Lindh and colleagues[496] reported that bicarbonate can improve 200 m free-style swimming performance in elite male swimmers.Similarly, studies have reported the ability of bicarbonateto improve 3 km cycling time trials [497]. Marriott et al.[498] published findings that sodium bicarbonate signifi-cantly improved intermittent running performance by23% and reduced perceived exertion in male team-sport

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athletes. Interestingly, Percival and investigators [499]reported that sodium bicarbonate supplementationresulted in significantly higher levels of PGC-1-α, a keyprotein known to drive mitochondrial adaptations.Finally, a meta-analysis by Peart and investigators [500]involving sodium bicarbonate reported the overall treat-ment effect to be moderate at improving performancewith nearly all measured ergogenic outcomes being in-fluenced by the training status of the participants.In addition, other studies have examined the potential

additive benefit of ingesting sodium bicarbonate with eithercaffeine or beta-alanine. In this respect, Kilding et al. [497]reported significant independent effects of caffeine andbicarbonate on three-kilometer cycling time trial perform-ance, but no additive benefit. Alternatively, Tobias andassociates [501] also reported a significant improvement inupper-body power production in trained martial artsathletes after ingesting either beta-alanine or sodium bicar-bonate, but noted a distinct synergistic improvement inupper-body power and performance when beta-alanineand sodium bicarbonate were ingested together. In con-trast, Danaher et al. [502] had eight healthy males supple-ment with either beta-alanine, sodium bicarbonate or theircombination for 6 weeks in a crossover fashion beforecompleting a repeated sprint ability test while cycling.While buffering capacity was increased, performance wasonly improved when beta-alanine was provided. Due to themixed outcomes and relative lack of available studies, moreresearch is recommended examining the synergistic impactof sodium bicarbonate and other ingredients. It is import-ant to highlight that a common complaint surrounding theingestion of sodium bicarbonate is gastrointestinal distress,thus athletes should experiment with its use prior toperformance to evaluate tolerance.

Sodium phosphate Phosphate is best known as anessential mineral found in many common food sources(e.g., red meat, fish, dairy, cereal, etc.) with key functionsin bone, cell membranes, RNA/DNA structure and asbackbones of phosphocreatine and various nucleotides.In addition, phosphate has been suggested to operate inan ergogenic fashion due to its potential to improveoxygen transport through modulation of 2,3-diphospho-glycerate (DPG) and other lactic-acid-buffering compo-nents. Sodium phosphate (NaPO4) supplementation hasbeen reported in multiple studies to improve aerobiccapacity by 5–12% [503–505], anaerobic threshold by 5–10% [504–507], mean power output [503, 508] and inter-mittent running performance [509–511]. Collectivelythese studies have employed a dosing regimen that re-quired 1 g of NaPO4 to be taken four times daily forthree to 6 days. Not all studies, however [512–514], havereported ergogenic outcomes while factors that impactphosphate absorption, training status and gender posed

as potential reasons why supplementation has not uni-versally impacted performance. Brewer and colleagues[513] reported modest (non-significant) effects of NaPO4

supplementation on repeated supplementation regimensin trained cyclists completing a time trial. Furthermore,West and investigators [514] used a mixed gender co-hort and concluded no change in VO

2Max resulted after

supplementation. Buck et al. [515] were the first to solelyexamine the impact of NaPO4 in female athletes whenthey had 13 trained female cyclists complete a 500-kJtime trial after supplementing with either 25, 50, or75 mg/kg of NaPO4 in a randomized, double-blindmanner. No significant impact of supplementationwas seen at any dosage leading the authors to con-clude that females may not respond in the same man-ner as men. However, the same authors on twooccasions [510, 511] examined the impact of NaPO4in female team sport athletes completing repeatedbouts of sprint running and found that NaPO4 sig-nificantly improved best and total sprint times whencompared to a placebo. Consequently, the impact ofgender on the ergogenic potential of NaPO4 remainsunclear with consistent benefits in females when re-peated sprints are performed but no such benefitsduring time-trial work.

Water and sports drinks Adopting strategies to limitthe loss of body mass due to sweating is critical to main-tain exercise performance (particularly in hot/humid envi-ronments). People engaged in intense exercise or work inthe heat are commonly recommended to regularly ingestwater or sports drinks (e.g., 12–16 fluid ounces every 10–15 min) with the overarching goal being to minimize theloss of body mass commonly seen as a result of exercisingin a hot and humid environment [516]. Below and col-leagues [447] demonstrated the independent ability ofboth fluid (no carbohydrate) and carbohydrate ingestionto significantly increase cycling performance. Moreover,when the two treatments were combined a synergisticimpact on performance was observed. Studies showthat ingestion of sports drinks during exercise in hot/humid environments can help prevent dehydrationand improve endurance exercise capacity [517–519].Of note and like carbohydrate, it appears that exercisefactors such as the duration and intensity of the exer-cise bout operate as strong predictors of cyclingtime-trial performance [520, 521]. Consequently, fre-quent ingestion of water and/or sports drinks duringexercise is one of the easiest and most effective ergo-genic aids due to its ability to support thermoregula-tion and reduce cardiovascular strain duringprolonged bouts of exercise, particularly when com-pleted in hot and humid conditions [162, 516].

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Limited or mixed evidence to support efficacy

L-alanyl-L-glutamine Operating under the same theor-etical framework as glutamine, interest in supplement-ing with L-alanyl-L-glutamine has increased in recentyears. The ingredient has two parts: L-alanine andL-glutamine, both of which are amino acids that aremainstays in the transamination processes involvingamino acids. Rogero and colleagues [522] supplementedrats with L-alanyl-L-glutamine for the final 21 days of asix-week exercise training program. Supplementation didnot impact time to exhaustion performance, but higherlevels of glutamine were found when compared to acontrol group. Cruzat and Tirapequi [523] also reportedincreases in plasma and intramuscular glutamine alongwith an improved antioxidative profile in blood, muscleand liver tissue samples of laboratory rats. These resultswere extended in 2010 to also report an attenuation ofinflammation and plasma creatine kinase levels in labora-tory rats after exercise training [523].Since 2010, five peer-reviewed studies have been pub-

lished using human subjects. Hoffman and colleagues[524] reported, in a group of ten physically active males,that L-alanyl-L-glutamine increased time to exhaustionon a cycle ergometer when exposed to mild dehydrationstress. Two years later, the same research group reportedthat rehydration with L-alanyl-L-glutamine after 2.3%dehydration in a basketball scrimmage led to animprovement in basketball skill performance and visualreaction time when compared to water [525]. A 2016study indicated that L-alanyl-L-glutamine maintainedreaction time in an upper and lower-body activities afteran exhaustive bout of treadmill running [526]. Finally, a2015 paper determined that L-alanyl-L-glutamine signifi-cantly improved treadmill running performance whencompared to no hydration [527]. Collectively thisresearch indicates that L-alanyl-L-glutamine at dosagesranging 300–1000 mg per 500 mL of fluid can favorablyinfluence hydration status and performance when com-pared to no fluid ingestion or water only ingestion.

Arachidonic acid Arachidonic acid (ARA) is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (20:4, n-6) that resideswithin the phospholipid bi-layer of cell membranes at con-centrations that are dependent upon dietary intake [528].ARA is not found in high amounts in the typical Americandiet [529]. However, as little as 1.5 g per day of supplemen-tation over a 50-day period has been shown to increasetissue cell membrane stores of ARA [530]. In skeletalmuscle, there is evidence that ARA drives some of theinflammatory response to strength training via en-hanced prostaglandin signalling [531]. Specifically, exer-cise liberates ARA from the muscle cell membrane viaphospholipase A2 activation. Resultant free intracellular

ARA is subsequently converted into certain prostaglan-dins (i.e., PGE2 or PGF2α) via cyclooxygenase (COX)enzymes [532], and these prostaglandins can signal as-sociated receptors in an autocrine and paracrine man-ner to up-regulate signalling associated with increasesin muscle protein synthesis. Roberts and colleagues[533] were the first group to examine the impact of ARAsupplementation on changes in strength and body com-position. Over an eight-week period, resistance-trained,college-aged males were supplemented in a double-blindfashion with either a placebo or ARA at a dosage of 1 g perday in conjunction with 90 g/day of whey protein. A sig-nificant increase in anaerobic peak power was found in theARA group, but no other changes in strength or bodycomposition were found. The second study by DeSouza etal. [534] investigated the effects of ARA supplementation(0.6 g/d vs. placebo) in strength-trained college-aged malesfor 8 weeks with concomitant resistance training and with-out protein supplementation. These authors reported thatlean body mass (2.9%, p < 0.05), upper-body strength (8.7%,p < 0.05), and anaerobic peak power (12.7%, p < 0.05) sig-nificantly increased only in the ARA group. Mitchell andcolleagues [535] have also published data in 19resistance-trained men who supplemented, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled fashion, with 1.5 g per day of ARAfor 4 weeks and found that ARA supplementation did notimpact acute changes in muscle protein synthesis and othermechanistic links to protein translation. The authors con-cluded that ARA supplementation did not support a mech-anistic link between ARA supplementation and short-termanabolism, but may increase translation capacity. Given thelimited human data and inconsistent nature (two positiveoutcomes, one negative outcome) of the findings regardingthe efficacy of ARA, it is too early to recommend ARA atthis time. In this respect, more chronic human studies test-ing different doses of ARA supplementation are needed tofully examine its safety and potential efficacy as a perform-ance enhancing or muscle building aid. From a safety per-spective and due to ARA being a known pro-inflammatoryfatty acid, use of ARA may be contraindicated in popula-tions that have compromised inflammatory health (i.e.,inflammatory bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, etc.).

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) Ingestion ofBCAA (e.g., 6–10 g per hour) with sports drinks duringprolonged exercise has long been suggested to improvepsychological perception of fatigue (i.e., central fatigue).Accordingly, Mikulski and investigators [536] used 11endurance trained men to examine the impact of ingest-ing 16 g of BCAAs and 12 g of ornithine aspartate overa 90-min cycling exercise bout and found that the aminoacid combination significantly improved reaction time,but no ergogenic impact was seen when BCAAs wereingested independently. Although a strong rationale and

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data exist to support an ergogenic outcome, mixed out-comes currently prevail as other studies have failed toreport an ergogenic impact of BCAAs [247, 537]. Conse-quently, more research is needed to fully determine theergogenic impact, if any, of BCAAs. An important pointto highlight surrounding BCAAs is the growing body ofliterature supporting their ability to mitigate outcomessurrounding muscle damage. In this respect, multiplestudies have investigated and offered support for BCAA’sability to promote recovery, mitigate soreness and at-tenuate losses in force production [249, 250, 537, 538].

Citrulline Citrulline (2-Amino-5-(carbamoylamino)pen-tanoic acid or L-Carnitine) is endogenously producedfrom ornithine and carbamoyl phosphate in the urea cycle.In the body, citrulline is efficiently recycled into argininefor subsequent nitric oxide production through thecitrulline-nitric oxide cycle [539]. Unlike arginine, citrul-line catabolism is limited in the intestines [540] as well asits extraction from hepatic tissue [541] resulting in themajority of citrulline passing into systemic circulationbefore conversion to arginine [542]. Due to this and itsnon-competitive uptake for cell transport [542], oralcitrulline supplementation has been shown to be moreeffective in increasing arginine [543, 544] and activation ofnitric oxide synthase (NOS) [544] as well as variousbiomarkers of nitric oxide [545]. Multiple studies haveemployed aerobic exercise models to examine citrulline’simpact on performance. Suzuki et al. [546] showed that2.4 g/day of L-citrulline for 7 days increased plasma nitricoxide metabolites, plasma arginine and 4-km time trialperformance. Using a finger flexor exercise model and P31nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Bailey and col-leagues [547] reported that 7 days of citrulline (6 g/day)significantly increased plasma arginine and nitrite levelsand significantly improved VO2 kinetics and exercise per-formance. However, not all studies reported an ergogeniceffect whereby Cunniffe et al. [548] reported no impact of12 g of citrulline malate on the performance of a singlebout of high-intensity cycling. In addition to aerobic exer-cise research, three studies examined the impact of an 8-gcitrulline dose while resistance training on various per-formance outcomes [549–551]. One study [550] evaluatedthe effects on the number of repetitions performed forchin-ups, reverse chin-ups, and push-ups to failure intrained males. A second study [551] evaluated the effect ofcitrulline supplementation on the number of repetitionsperformed for five sequential sets (60% 1RM) to failure onthe leg press, hack squat, and leg extension exercises intrained males. The third study [549] evaluated the effectsof citrulline supplementation on the number of repetitionsperformed during six sets each of bench press and legpress exercises to failure at 80% 1RM in trained females.In all three studies, citrulline malate was shown to

significantly increase performance during upper- andlower-body multiple-bout resistance exercise performance.Alternatively, Cultrufello and colleagues [552] reportedthat a 6 g dose of L-citrulline failed to impact both aerobicand anaerobic indicators of exercise performance. The roleof malate in combination with citrulline is largely undeter-mined. Since malate is an important tricarboxylic acidcycle intermediate, this could possibly account for im-provements in muscle function [553]. Therefore, it is pres-ently unclear whether these benefits can be solelyattributed to citrulline, as well as what role citrulline mayplay in aerobic and anaerobic performance.

Essential amino acids (EAA) Research exploring theimpact of essential amino acids with various forms of exer-cise has exploded. To date, it is well accepted that ingestionof at least 2 g of the essential amino acid, leucine, isrequired to stimulate cellular mechanisms controllingmuscle hypertrophy [225, 554] and that ingestion of6–12 g of a complete essential amino acid mixture areneeded to maximize muscle protein synthesis [201–208,555]. However, their impact on performance remainslargely unexplored. While sound theoretical rationale existsand multiple acute study designs provide supportive evi-dence, it is currently unclear whether following this strat-egy would lead to greater training adaptations and/orwhether EAA supplementation would be better than sim-ply ingesting carbohydrate and a quality protein followingexercise. Moreover, very little research is available that hasexamined the ability of EAAs to impact exercise perform-ance. For these reasons, many authors and review articleshave encouraged the prioritization of intact protein sourcesover ingestion of free form amino acids [11, 13, 54, 222] topromote accretion of fat-free mass, but, as mentioned, theimpact of this recommendation on performance changesremains undetermined.

Glycerol Ingesting glycerol with water has been reportedto increase fluid retention, and maintain hydration status[556–558]. Theoretically, this should help athletes preventdehydration and improve thermoregulatory and cardio-vascular changes. Although studies indicate that glycerolcan significantly enhance body fluid, results are mixed onwhether it can improve exercise capacity [166, 559–564].Regarding endurance performance Coutts and investiga-tors [565] had ten trained endurance athletes complete anOlympic distance triathlon under both placebo and gly-cerol hyperhydration (1.2 g/kg) + 25 mL/kg fluid solution)2 h before completion of each triathlon and reported thatcompletion time was significantly improved with glycerolhyperhydration over placebo. These findings were corrob-orated by Goulet et al. [566] when they had sixendurance-trained subjects hyperhydrate with glycerol orwater 2 h before a prolonged (2 h) bout of cycling at 65%

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VO2max in hot conditions (26-27 °C) followed two-minuteintervals at 80% VO2max and concluded that glycerolhyperhydration significantly improved performance. In con-trast, Marino et al. [567] reported that a similar glycerolhyperhydration protocol did not improve the total distancecovered when moderately trained cyclists completed avariable-intensity cycling protocol. Additionally, Goulet etal. [568] combined a hyperhydration strategy (1.2 g/kg gly-cerol + 26 mL/kg water) 2 h before commencing atwo-hour cycling bout at 66% VO2max and 25 °C with con-suming (500 mL/hour) a sports drink and reported that gly-cerol hyperhydration failed to impact cardiovascular orthermoregulatory functions as well as endurance perform-ance. McKenna and investigators [569] were one of theonly research groups to examine glycerol’s potential to im-pact anaerobic power after glycerol hyperhydration. Afterfollowing a double-blind hyperhydration protocol, male col-legiate wrestlers lost 3% of their body mass from fluid andcompleted an anaerobic test where no impact on perform-ance was found. Variable outcomes surrounding glycerolcontinue to undermine its potential and the ability to offera recommendation for its use. Consequently, as pointedout by Goulet et al. [556], it is concluded that more re-search needs to be completed to work through the nuancesurrounding glycerol’s potential efficacy, a key point previ-ously summarized by Nelson et al. [570].

β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB) For several years,beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyrate (HMB) has receivedinterest for its ability to enhance training adaptations andperformance while also delaying or preventing muscledamage [15, 168, 571]. Initial work by Nissen andcolleagues [171] showed significant increases in lean bodymass and strength with doses 1.5 and 3 g/day in untrainedmales, with the 3 g dose showing additional benefits overthe lower dose. Gallagher and colleagues [169] indicatedthat a dose of 38 mg/kg/day (approximately 3 g/day)promoted improvements in fat-free mass, peak isometricforce and isokinetic torque production, while no changesin maximal strength were seen. In agreement, Thomsonand researchers [572] had 22 resistance trained mensupplement, in a double-blind fashion, with either HMB orplacebo for 9 weeks and concluded that HMB wasresponsible for a significant increase in lower-bodystrength. Not all studies, however, have provided support.For example, Kreider et al. [175] used a dose-response,placebo-controlled approach and concluded that three or6 g of calcium-HMB did not impact body composition orstrength adaptations in individuals experienced with resist-ance exercise after 4 weeks of supplementation and resist-ance training. Similarly, Hoffman and colleagues [573]reported that HMB supplementation failed to improveanaerobic power production in collegiate football players, a

conclusion which aligns with other previous studies [172,574]. Differences in training regimens (intensities),randomization, and supervision varied in the initial studiesand may have contributed to the mixed results. HMBappears to have the greatest effects on performance whentraining intensity is maximized.While many of the previous studies have examined, with

mixed results, the ergogenic potential of calcium-HMBsupplementation in active, recreationally active individ-uals, Durkalec-Michalski and colleagues completed threeinvestigations [178–180] that all sought to determine theimpact of calcium-HMB supplementation in differentathlete types. For instance, HMB supplementation (3 g/day) in elite rowers over a 12-week period significantlyimproved aerobic (VO2max, time to reach ventilatorythreshold) performance markers and decreased fat masswhen compared to changes seen with placebo [178]. Later,Durkalec-Michalski and Jeszka [179] required 58 highlytrained males to supplement with calcium-HMB (3 g/day)for 12 weeks. In this study, fat-free mass increased and fatmass decreased along with multiple markers of aerobiccapacity when HMB was provided in comparison to aplacebo. Most recently, HMB supplementation over12 weeks in highly-trained combat sport athletes signifi-cantly increased (in comparison to placebo) several indica-tors of aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance [180].The recent studies by Durkalec-Michalski and colleaguesconfirmed earlier works by Vukovich [575] and Lamboley[576] that HMB does have a positive effect on increasingaerobic capacity.HMB is available as calcium-HMB and as free acid. In

comparison to calcium HMB, HMB-free acid showsgreater and faster absorption (approx. 30 min vs. 2–3 h)[577]. Much of the initial research used calcium-HMBwith largely mixed outcomes while studies using the freeacid form are more limited. Studies by Wilson and col-leagues using the free acid form have indicated robustchanges in strength, vertical jump power and skeletalmuscle hypertrophy while heavy resistance trainingalone [578] and in combination with supplemental ATP[579], but others have critically questioned theseoutcomes [580]. A recent systematic review by Silva andinvestigators [581] concluded that the free acid form ofHMB may improve muscle and strength and attenuatemuscle damage when combined with heavy resistancetraining but stated that more research is needed beforedefinitive conclusions can be determined.

Nitrates Nitrate supplementation has received muchattention due to their effects on vasodilation, blood pres-sure, improved work efficiency, modulation of force pro-duction, and reduced phosphocreatine degradation[582–584] all of which can potentially improve sports per-formance. Nitrate supplementation is most commonly

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consumed two to 3 h prior to exercise as beetroot juice orsodium nitrate [585] and is prescribed in both absoluteand relative amounts ranging from 300 to 600 mg [585]or 0.1 mmol per kilogram of body mass per day, respect-ively [583, 586]. These dosing amounts appear to be welltolerated when consumed as both supplemental [587] andsupplemental sources [588] without significant alterationsin hemodynamics or clinical boundaries of hepatorenaland muscle enzyme status [478, 589]. Supplementinghighly trained cyclists with sodium nitrate (10 mg per kilo-gram of body mass) significantly reduced VO2peak withoutinfluencing time to exhaustion or maximal power outputs[590]. Additionally, 600 mg of nitrate supplementation(given 2 h prior) non-significantly improved the perform-ance of a 500-m time trial performance in elite-level kayakathletes by 2 s [591]. Of practical significance, it should benoted that first place and last place in the 2008 BeijingOlympics, was separated by 1.47 s in the 500-m men’scanoe/kayak flatwater race. Amateur cyclists at simulatedaltitude (~ 2500 m) observed improved 16.1 km time trialperformance with a concomitant decrease in oxygen con-sumption after beetroot juice (310 mg nitrate) supplemen-tation [592]. Not all findings, however, have reportedperformance benefits with nitrate supplementation. Nitratesupplementation (~ 385 mg nitrate) 2.5 h before a 50-miletime trial in well-trained cyclists failed to improve perform-ance [593], which was also reported by MacLeod et al.[594] after examining nitrate supplementation (~ 400 mgnitrate) on 10-km time trial performance in normoxia orsimulated altitude (~ 2500 m). In well-trained runners, ni-trate supplementation (~ 430 mg nitrate) did not improveperformance during an incremental exercise test to exhaus-tion (simulated altitude 4000 m) or a 10-km time trial(simulated altitude, 2500 m) [595] and Nyakayiru et al.[596] reported no impact of nitrate supplementation onchanges in VO2 and time trial performance in highlytrained cyclists. Other studies have also reported an addi-tive or synergistic effects of high-intensity intermittent ex-ercise, endurance exercise, or resistance training whennitrate supplementation is combined with sodium phos-phate [511], caffeine [597], or creatine [478], respectively. Itis important to mention that dietary nitrates have a healthbenefit in some, but not all populations [598]. Daily con-sumption of beetroot juice (~ 320–640 mg nitrate/d) sig-nificantly decreased resting systolic blood pressure in olderadults by approximately 6 mmHg [599, 600]. Nitratesupplementation (560 mg – 700 mg nitrate) signifi-cantly increased blood flow to working muscle andexercise time in older adults with peripheral arterydisease [601] as well as significantly improved endo-thelial function via increased flow-mediated dilationand blood flow velocity in older adults with risk fac-tors of cardiovascular disease [602]. Collectively, theseresults indicate that nitrate supplementation may improve

aerobic exercise performance and cardiovascular health insome populations.

Post-exercise carbohydrate and protein Ingestingcarbohydrate with protein following exercise has been apopular strategy to heighten adaptations seen as part ofa resistance training program. The rationale behind thisstrategy centers upon providing an energy source tostimulate MPS via key signal transduction pathways.Additionally, carbohydrate intake will impact insulin sta-tus which could promote MPS, limit protein breakdownor both [603–605]. Furthermore, combining carbohy-drate with protein can heighten glycogen resynthesisrates, particularly when carbohydrate intake is not opti-mal [120] and can improve muscle damage responsesafter exhaustive exercise [606]. A key point for readersto consider when interpreting findings from this litera-ture is the amount of protein, essential amino acids orleucine being delivered by the protein source [11]. In thelast few years many studies have agreed that post work-out supplementation is vital to recovery and training ad-aptations [133, 230, 232, 607, 608]. However, the needfor adding carbohydrate to protein to maximize hyper-trophic adaptations continues to be questioned. For ex-ample, Staples and investigators [605] used an acutestudy design involving stable isotope methodology to in-vestigate the impact of adding 50 g of carbohydrate to 25 gof whey protein ingestion after a single bout of lower bodyresistance exercise. The authors concluded that the com-bination of carbohydrate and protein was no more effectiveat stimulating muscle protein synthesis or blunting rates ofmuscle protein breakdown than protein alone. Further-more, Hulmi and colleagues [609] had participants resist-ance train for 12 weeks and supplement with equivalentdoses of whey protein, carbohydrate or whey protein +carbohydrate while having strength and body compositionassessed. Overall, changes in strength were similar in allgroups while changes in fat-free mass were greater in theprotein group when compared to the carbohydrate group.Fat mass was found to significantly decrease in both groupsthat contained protein in comparison to carbohydrate, butno differences between the two protein-containing groupswere noted. In conclusion, these findings underscore theimportance of ingesting adequate protein to stimulate re-sistance training adaptations. Whether or not the additionof carbohydrate can heighten these changes at the currenttime seems unlikely. This outcome, however, should notdistract the reader from appreciating the fact that optimalcarbohydrate delivery will absolutely support glycogenrecovery, aid in mitigating soreness and inflammation andfuel other recovery demands.

Quercetin Quercetin is a flavonoid commonly found infruits, vegetables and flowers, and is known for having

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some health benefits with therapeutic use. In addition,quercetin has been purported in both animal and humanmodels to improve endurance performance. In thisrespect, Cureton and colleagues [610] supplemented 30recreationally active, but not highly trained men in adouble-blind fashion to ingest either quercetin (1 g/day)or placebo. No changes in total work performed, substrateutilization, or perception of effort were found after supple-mentation. Similarly, Bigelman and investigators [611]supplemented ROTC cadets with either 1 g of quercetinor a placebo and concluded that VO2max was unchangedas a result. These results correspond with the outcomes ofother studies that failed to document ergogenic potentialfor quercetin [612, 613]. In contrast, Nieman et al. [614]supplemented untrained adult males with 1 g of quercetinin a double-blind fashion for 2 weeks and reported thattreadmill performance and markers of mitochondrial bio-genesis were improved. Similarly, Patrizio et al. [615] useda resistance exercise model and reported quercetin mayimprove neuromuscular performance while Davis et al.[616] had 12 study participants supplement with eitherquercetin and placebo and found that quercetin may im-prove VO2max and endurance capacity. A meta-analysiswas completed by Pelletier and researchers [617] tosummarize the potential impact of quercetin supplemen-tation on endurance performance. This analysis involvedseven published studies representing 288 research partici-pants. Only in untrained participants was quercetin foundto significantly increase endurance performance. A 2011meta-analysis by Kressler et al. [618] drew a similar con-clusion whereby they indicated quercetin does have bene-fit, but the size of this effect is trivial and small.Consequently, more research needs to be completed tobetter identify what situations may exist that supportquercetin’s ability to impact exercise performance.

Taurine Taurine is an amino acid found in high abun-dance in human skeletal muscle [619, 620] derived fromcysteine metabolism that plays a role in a wide variety ofphysiological functions [621–623]. Studies have indi-cated that training status (higher in trained vs. untrainedmuscle, reviewed in [624]) and fiber type (higher in typeI vs. type II, reviewed in [619]) impact the amount oftaurine found in muscle. It has been reported in some[625, 626] but not all studies [627, 628] that taurine mayimprove exercise performance and mitigate recoveryfrom damaging and stressful exercise [629]. In recentyears, many studies have examined the impact of taurineingestion on various types of exercise performance. Inaccordance with previous work, ergogenic outcomes re-lated to taurine administration continue to be mixed.Milioni and investigators [628] failed to show an improve-ment in performance with a 6 g dose of taurine whilecompleting high-intensity treadmill running. Similarly,

Balshaw et al. [625] indicated that taurine failed to posi-tively impact 3-km running performance in trained run-ners. In contrast, a 2017 study by Warnock et al. [630]reported that a 50 mg/kg dose of taurine outperformedcaffeine, placebo and caffeine + taurine on performancechanges after repeated Wingate anaerobic capacity tests.Finally, a 2018 meta-analysis by Waldron et al. [631] re-ported that single daily dosages ranging from one to 6 gfor up to 2 weeks can significantly improve endurance ex-ercise performance in a range of study participants. Twostudies [632, 633] have been completed that examinedtaurine’s ability to mitigate decrements associated withmuscle damage and resistance exercise performance. Not-ably, oral ingestion at a dosage of 50 mg/kg for 14 daysprior to damage and for 7 days after damage significantlyincreased strength, and decreased soreness and markers ofmuscle damage [633]. Finally, studies have also supportedthe ability of taurine to function in an anti-oxidative role,which may promote an improved cellular environment totolerate exercise stress [634, 635]. While more researchcontinues to be published involving taurine, the consensusof these outcomes continue to be mixed regarding tau-rine’s potential to enhance physical performance.

Little to no evidence to support efficacy and/or safety

Arginine Arginine is known as a conditionally essentialamino acid which has been linked with the ability to in-crease exercise performance, increase growth hor-mone production, support immune function, increasetraining tolerance and promote accretion of fat-freemass [273, 636]. Several studies have sought to exam-ine the ergogenic potential of arginine using both en-durance and resistance exercise models with largelymixed results. For example, Greer and investigators [637]examined the ability of arginine + alpha-ketoglutarate andreported that the combination did not significantly impactmuscle endurance and significantly reduced the numberof chin-ups completed. Similar outcomes were found byAguiar et al. [638] in older women whereby arginine sup-plementation failed to impact muscle performance.Sunderland et al. [639] supplemented 18 endurance-trained cyclists for 28 days with either arginine (12 g/day)or corn starch and concluded that arginine did not impactVO2Max or ventilatory threshold. In accordance, severalother studies have failed to positively report on the abilityof arginine to operate as an ergogenic aid [278, 640–644].Alternatively, a few studies have provided evidence of er-gogenic potential for arginine. For example, Campbell andresearchers [271] supplemented 35 resistance-trainedmales in a double-blind fashion with arginine (2 g) +alpha-ketoglutarate (2 g) or a placebo and concludedthat maximal upper-body strength and wingate peakpower were significantly increased after supplementation.

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Similarly, Bailey and colleagues [645] concluded that acutearginine supplementation reduced the oxygen cost ofmoderate-intensity exercise and increased tolerance tohigh-intensity training. Moreover, Pahlavani et al.[646] supplemented male athletes with arginine in adouble-blind fashion and concluded that arginine sup-plementation significantly increased sport perform-ance. As it stands, most of the published literaturethat has examined the ability of arginine to operate inan ergogenic fashion has failed to report positive out-comes. While more research is certainly indicated,consumers should exercise caution when using arginine toenhance exercise performance.

Carnitine Carnitine is produced endogenously by theliver and kidneys and plays a pivotal role in lipid metabol-ism. Consequently, many are led to believe that carnitineingestion will increase the concentration of endogenouscarnitine, thereby increasing lipid metabolism anddecrease adipose reserves. To date, the majority of the datacontinues to suggest that carnitine supplementation doesnot markedly affect muscle carnitine content [647–649],fat metabolism [648, 650, 651], exercise performance[648, 649, 652, 653], or weight loss in overweight[650, 654], obese [651, 655, 656] or trained subjects[657]. For example, Burrus and investigators [658] had tencyclists ingest combinations of carbohydrate and carnitinewhile completing a 40-min ride at 65% VO2peak beforecompleting an exhaustion ride at 85% VO2Peak. No differ-ences in power outputs or times to exhaustion were foundwith cycling at 85% VO2Peak. Of note, studies have sug-gested that co-ingesting carnitine with carbohydrate canlead to significant increases in intramuscular carnitine[659, 660]. Later, Wall and colleagues [661] reported thatendurance exercise performance was improved andimprovements in fuel selection appeared to occur.While interesting, more research is needed regardingchanges in performance before further recommenda-tions can be made.

Glutamine As outlined above, a strong theoreticalframework exists for glutamine’s ability to help an individ-ual tolerate stress, particularly when relying on animalstudies. A close examination into the available humanresearch on glutamine makes it more challenging tocharacterize glutamine’s potential. Theoretically, glutam-ine supplementation during training should enhance gainsin strength and muscle mass, but evidence in this respecthas not been consistent. Glutamine supplementation hasbeen shown to improve glycogen stores which could goon to impact certain types of exercise performance [331]and two recent studies suggest that glutamine provisionmay help support recovery from damaging resistanceexercise. In this respect, Street and colleagues [662]

concluded that adding glutamine (0.3 g/kg) to a carbohy-drate drink significantly improved muscle soreness andforce production, but did not impact changes in creatinekinase, when compared to carbohydrate only ingestion. Asimilar outcome was found by Legault and colleagues[337] who reported that glutamine supplementation sig-nificantly lowered perceived soreness levels and led to im-proved recovery of force production after a damagingbout of eccentric muscle contractions. From an ergogenicperspective, limited research is available, but Antonio etal. [334] reported that 0.3 g/kg glutamine ingestion didnot impact the number of repetitions completed with theleg press or bench press exercises. Consequently, minimalresearch is available to support glutamine’s ability to oper-ate as an ergogenic aid.

Inosine Inosine is a building block for DNA and RNAthat is found in muscle. Inosine possesses important rolesthat may enhance training and/or exercise performance[663]. Although there is some theoretical rationale, avail-able studies indicate that inosine supplementation has noapparent effect on aerobic or anaerobic exercise perform-ance [664–666].

Medium chain triglycerides Medium chain triglycerides(MCT’s) are shorter chain fatty acids known to readilyenter the mitochondria and be converted to energythrough beta-oxidation [667]. Studies are mixed as towhether MCT’s are ergogenic and can serve as an effectivesource of fat during exercise [667–671]. A 2001 studyfound that 60 g/day of MCT oil for 2 weeks did improverunning performance [672]. Additionally, Van Zyl andcolleagues [671] reported that while MCTs negativelyinfluenced cycling time trial performance when ingestedalone in comparison to carbohydrate ingestion, perform-ance was improved when MCTs were combined withcarbohydrate. Using a similar exercise model, Goedecke etal. [668] also reported that MCT administration through-out a two-hour moderate intensity cycle ride resulted in asimilar performance in completing a 40-km time trial bytrained cyclists. A similar outcome was also reported byVistisen et al. [673]. Beyond equivocal findings, Goedeckeet al. [674] and Jeukendrup et al. [667] both reported ergo-lytic outcomes of MCT administration on sprint perform-ance in trained cyclists and cycling time trial performance,respectively, while the incidence of gastrointestinal com-plaints increased in both studies. These findings have beenconfirmed by others that MCT oils are not sufficient toinduce positive training adaptations and may cause gastricdistress [675, 676]. Consequently, it does not appear likelythat MCT favorably impacts acute exercise performanceand no evidence exists that training adaptations may bepositively impacted either, while multiple studies have

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reported that MCT ingestion may cause gastrointestinalupset and decrease exercise performance.

Ribose Ribose is a 5-carbon carbohydrate that is involvedin the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) andother adenine nucleotides. Clinical studies have shownthat ribose supplementation can increase exercise capacityin heart patients [677–681] leading to the development oftheories that it can operate as ergogenic aid for athletes.Of the available research, most fail to show an ergogenicvalue for ribose supplementation on exercise capacity inhealthy untrained or trained populations [682–684]. A2006 study [685] investigated the effects of supplementingwith either ribose or dextrose over 8 weeks on rowing per-formance and concluded that ribose was outperformed bythe dextrose control [685]. Kreider and associates [684]and Kerksick and colleagues [686] investigated ribose sup-plementation on measures of anaerobic capacity in trainedcyclists and concluded ribose had no positive impact onperformance. In 2017, Seifert and investigators [687] had26 healthy subjects supplement with either 10 g of riboseor 10 g of dextrose for 5 days while completing a singlebout of interval exercise and a two-minute power outputtest. When splitting the participants into high vs. low oxy-gen uptake levels, the people with low peak VO2 experi-enced significant increases in mean and peak poweroutput along with reductions in ratings of perceived exer-tion and creatine kinase. No such changes were reportedin individuals with high peak VO2. As it stands, clinicalfindings provide support while studies in healthy, trainedpopulations generally fail to report a positive outcome forribose supplementation. Healthy individuals with lowerfitness levels may afford some benefit.

Supplements to promote general healthIn addition to the supplements previously described, sev-eral nutrients have been suggested to help athletes stayhealthy during intense training. For example, the Ameri-can Medical Association has recommended that allAmericans ingest a daily low-dose multivitamin in orderto ensure that people get a sufficient level of vitaminsand minerals in their diet [688, 689]. Although dailyvitamin and mineral supplementation has not beenfound to improve exercise capacity in athletes, it maymake sense to take a daily vitamin supplement for healthreasons. Vitamin D is often recommended to athletes,especially those participating in indoor sports or incloudy geographies [690]. Although direct evidence link-ing vitamin D with performance is equivocal, it is clearthat vitamin D has a role in regulating immune function,cardiovascular health, and growth and repair. Dosingshould be dependent upon baseline levels, which can bemeasured by any physician [691]. Glucosamine and chon-droitin have been reported to slow cartilage degeneration

and reduce the degree of joint pain in active individualswhich may help athletes postpone and/or prevent jointproblems [692, 693]. Meanwhile, other ingredients includ-ing undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) may be helpfulas well although more research is needed involving ath-letic applications [694, 695]. Supplemental vitamin C, glu-tamine, echinacea, quercetin, and zinc have been reportedto enhance immune function [125, 696–699]. However,consuming carbohydrate during prolonged strenuous ex-ercise attenuates rises in stress hormones and appears tolimit the degree of exercise-induced immune depression[699]. Similarly, although additional research is necessary,vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, alpha-lipoic acid andother antioxidants may help restore overwhelmed antioxi-dant defenses exhibited by athletes [700]. One counteringargument against higher doses is the potential for these tointerfere with adaptive responses to training [699]. Finally,the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) andeicosapantaenoic acid (EPA), in supplemental form, arenow endorsed by the American Heart Association forheart health in certain individuals stemming from initialscientific statements made in 2002 [701]. This sup-portive supplement position stems from: 1) an inabil-ity to consume cardio-protective amounts by dietalone; and, 2) the mercury contamination sometimespresent in whole-food sources of DHA and EPAfound in fatty fish. For general health, dosing recom-mendations range from 3000 mg-5000 mg daily ofdeep, cold water fish [702]. Consequently, prudentuse of these types of nutrients at various times duringtraining may help athletes stay healthy and/or toleratetraining to a greater degree.High intensity exercise can compromise an athlete’s

immune health. Infection risk and exercise workload followa J-Shape curve with moderate intensity exercise reducingthe infection risk, and high intensity exercise actually in-creasing the risk of infection [703]. Immune suppression inathletes further worsens by the psychological stress, foreigntravel, disturbed sleep, environmental extremes, exposureto large crowds or an increase exposure to pathogens dueto elevated breathing during exercise or competition.Athletes have several nutritional options to reduce the riskand symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, includ-ing probiotics and baker’s yeast beta-glucan. Beta-glucan isa natural gluco polysaccharide derived from the cell wallsof highly purified yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and hasbeen shown to significantly decrease upper-respiratorytract infection symptoms in men and women participatingin the Carlsbad marathon [704]. Probiotics, often referredto as “friendly” or “good” bacteria, are live microorganismswhich when administered in adequate amounts confer ahealth benefit on the host. An estimated 70% of our im-mune system is located in your digestive system indicatingthe importance of a balanced gut microflora on immune

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health. Probiotics have been shown to reduce the number,duration and severity of upper-respiratory tract infectionsand gastrointestinal distress in the general population andin athletes, certain strains of probiotics have been shown tosignificantly reduce the number of upper-respiratory tractinfection episodes a well as their severity [705]. Healthbenefits of probiotics are strain specific and dosedependent, and some strains have failed to show benefi-cial effects in athletes [706]. Also, consuming carbohy-drate during prolonged strenuous exercise attenuatesrises in stress hormones and appears to limit the degreeof exercise-induced immune depression [699].

ConclusionSeveral factors operate as cornerstones to enhance athleticperformance and optimize training adaptations includingthe consumption of a balanced, nutrient and energy densediet, prudent training, and obtaining adequate rest. Use ofa limited number of nutritional supplements that researchhas supported to improve energy availability (e.g., sportsdrinks, carbohydrate, creatine, caffeine, β-alanine, etc.)and/or promote recovery (carbohydrate, protein, essentialamino acids, etc.) can provide additional benefit in certaininstances. Dietitians and sport nutritionists should stay upto date on current research regarding the role of nutritionon exercise so they can provide honest and accurate infor-mation to their students, clients, and/or athletes about therole of nutrition and dietary supplements on performanceand training. Furthermore, these professionals shouldactively participate in exercise nutrition research, writeunbiased scholarly reviews for journals and lay publica-tions, and help disseminate the latest research findings tothe public. Through these actions, consumers and otherprofessionals can make informed decisions aboutappropriate methods of exercise, dieting, and/or whethervarious nutritional supplements can affect health, per-formance, and/or training. In all situations, individuals areexpected and ethically obligated to disclose any commer-cial or financial conflicts of interest during such promul-gations. Finally, companies selling nutritional supplementsor promoting exercise, diet or supplementation protocolsshould develop scientifically based products, conduct re-search on their products, and honestly market the resultsof studies so consumers can make informed decisions.

Abbreviations1RM: One-repetition maximum; ACSM: American College of Sports Medicine;AER: Adverse Event Reporting; AMA: American Medical Association;ARA: Arachidonic acid; ATP: Adenosine – 5′ – Triphosphate; BCAA: Branched-chain amino acids; cGMP: Good Manufacturing Practices; CHO: Carbohydrate;CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid; CO2: Carbon dioxide; COX: Cyclooxygenase;DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid; DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone;DMAA: Dimethylamylamine; DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid; DPG: Diphosphoglycerate;DRI: Daily Reference Intake; DSHEA: Dietary Supplement Health Education Act;DXA: Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; EAA: Essential amino acids;EPA: Eicosapantaenoic acid; FDA: Food and Drug Administration; FDCA: Food,Drug, and Cosmetic Act; FHA: Functional hypothalamic oligomenorrhea/

amenorrhea; FTC: Federal Trade Commission; g: Grams; g/hour: Grams per hour;g/kg: Grams of a certain nutrient per kilogram (usually kilograms of body mass);g/kg/day: Grams of a certain nutrient per kilogram per day (usually per kilogramof body mass); GDF-8: Growth differentiation factor-8; GES: Glucose-electrolytesolutions; GH: Growth hormone; GHRP: Growth hormone releasing peptides;GPC: Glycerophosphocholine; GRAS: Generally Recognized as Safe; HDL: Highdensity lipoprotein; HMB: β-hydroxy- β-methylbutyrate; IGF-1: Insulin-linegrowth factor 1; ISSN: International Society of Sports Nutrition; JISSN: Journal ofthe International Society of Sports Nutrition; Kcals: Kilocalories; Kcals/day: Kilocalories per day; Kcals/kg/day: Kilocalories per kilogram per day (usuallyper kilogram of body mass); kg: Kilogram(s); L/hour: Liters per hour; LBM: Leanbody mass; LEA: Low energy availability; MCT: Medium-chain triglycerides;Mg: Milligrams; mL: Millilitres; MLB: Major League Baseball; mmol: Millimoles;MPS: Muscle protein synthesis; MRP: Meal replacement powders;mTOR: Mammalian target of rapamycin; NaPO4: Sodium phosphate;NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association; NDI: New DietaryIngredient; NFL: National Football League; NHL: National Hockey League;NHP: Natural Health Product; NLEA: Nutrition Labeling and EducationAct; NOS: Nitric oxide synthase; NSF: National Sanitation Foundation;OKG: Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate; PA: Phosphatidic acid; PDR: Physician’s DeskReference; PGC-1-α: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gammacoactivator 1-alpha; PRO: Protein; RDA: Recommended daily allowance;RNA: Ribonucleic acid; ROTC: Reserve Officers’ Training Corps; RTD: Readyto drink; U.S.: United States; UC-II: Undenatured type II collagen; VO2Max: Maximalvolume of oxygen consumption; ZMA: Zinc magnesium aspartate; α-KG: Alpha-ketoglutarate; μg/d: Micrograms per day

AcknowledgementsPreparation of these documents require the help of many individuals. Forstarters, the authors would like to acknowledge all of the authors from the2010 publication: Lem Taylor, Bill Campbell, Anthony Almada, Conrad Earnest,Doug Kalman, Brian Leutholtz, Hector Lopez, Ron Mendel, Marie Spano, DarrynWilloughby, Tim Ziegenfuss and Joey Antonio. In particular, the authors areindebted to the assistance provided by Jonathan Manfre, Esq who assisted withcritical edits to many parts related to regulation and to Darryn Willoughby whooffered valuable additions to sections of manuscript. The authors would like tothank all the research participants, graduate students, and researchers thatcontributed to the body of research cited in this comprehensive review. Finally,we would like to thank the late Mel Williams who inspired many of the authorsto pursue research evaluating the role of nutrition on exercise andperformance. Any discussion provided for any given supplement is notintended to be nor should it be construed as any form of endorsem*ntby any of the authors, the ISSN or the respective universities, corporations orentities that each author is affiliated. Individuals interested in trying some ofthese nutritional recommendations should do so only after consulting withtheir personal physician.

Authors’ contributionsRBK and CMK contributed most of the content and served as senior editorson the paper; CDW and MDR provided substantial support in revising anddrafting several sections. RC, SMK, MBC, JND, EG, MG, RJ, LML, ASR, and RWall contributed to the development of selected parts of the manuscript. Allauthors reviewed and approved the final draft of this manuscript. RBK is thecorresponding author.

Ethics approval and consent to participateThis paper was reviewed by the International Society of Sports Nutrition ResearchCommittee and represents the official position of the Society.

Consent for publicationNot applicable.

Competing interestsAuthors of this paper have not received any financial remuneration forpreparing or reviewing this paper. All authors report the following competinginterests: CMK consults with and receives external funding from companieswho sell supplemental protein, has received remuneration from companies fordelivering scientific presentations at conferences and writes online, print andother media on topics related to exercise, nutrition and protein for relatedcompanies. Has served as an expert witness and provided testimonies relatedto exercise, supplementation and nutrition. CDW has received external funding

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from supplement companies to do research, served on multiple advisoryboards for supplement companies, and has served as a consultant, advisor, andspokesperson for various nutrition companies. MDR has received academic andindustry funding related to dietary supplements, served as a non-paid consult-ant for industry and received honoraria for speaking about topics discussed inthis paper. He currently has no patents, stock or ownership in any companiesdoing business on topics discussed in this paper. RC is the attorney for numer-ous companies in the dietary supplement industry and has received paymentfor consultancy and the writing of lay articles discussing nutritional sup-plements. SMK has served as a paid consultant for industry; has receivedhonoraria for speaking at conferences and writing lay articles about topics dis-cussed in this paper; receives royalties from the sale of several exercise and nu-trition related books; and, receives commission and has stock in companies thatsell products produced from several ingredients discussed in this paper.JND has no conflicts of interest to report. MBC has received academic andindustry funding related to dietary supplements, served as a consultant forindustry and received honoraria for speaking about topics discussed in thispaper. EG has no conflicts of interest to report. MG has received externalfunding and nutritional product from companies who sell protein supplementsand has received remuneration from companies for presenting scientific basednutritional supplement and exercise research at professional conferences. RJ hasreceived grants to evaluate the efficacy and safety of dietary and foodingredients, serves on scientific advisory boards, and has served as anexpert witness, legal and scientific consultant. LML has received academic andindustry funding related to dietary supplements and honoraria from speakingengagements on the topic and has received payment for consultancy and thewriting of lay articles discussing nutritional supplements. ASR has receivedgrants to evaluate the efficacy of dietary supplements, serves as a scientificadvisor for sports nutrition companies, and received remuneration fromcompanies for presenting evidenced-based nutritional supplement andexercise research at professional conferences. RW has received industryfunds for consultancy and employment related to dietary supplementdevelopment and marketing and currently works as the Chief ScienceOfficer for Dymatize Nutrition. RBK has received externally-funded grantsfrom industry to conduct research on dietary supplements and has served as ascientific and legal consultant.

Publisher’s NoteSpringer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims inpublished maps and institutional affiliations.

Author details1Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory, School of Health Sciences,Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, USA. 2Exercise & Sport ScienceDepartment, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Belton, TX, USA. 3School ofKinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA. 4Department of Exerciseand Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. 5HighPerformance Nutrition LLC, Mercer Island, WA, USA. 6Increnovo, LLC,Milwaukee, WI, USA. 7Collins Gann McCloskey and Barry PLLC, Mineola, NY,USA. 8Department of Health and Medical Sciences, Swinburne University ofTechnology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. 9University of Texas MedicalBranch, Galveston, TX, USA. 10Exercise & Sports Nutrition Lab, Human ClinicalResearch Facility, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.11Department of Human Performance & Sport Business, University of MountUnion, Alliance, OH, USA. 12Dymatize Nutrition, LLC, Dallas, TX, USA.13Department of Health and Human Performance, Nova SoutheasternUniversity, Davie, FL, USA.

Received: 1 June 2018 Accepted: 17 July 2018

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What does ISSN stand for in nutrition? ›

What does ISSN-SNS stand for? Sports Nutrition Specialist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Is Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reputable? ›

The JISSN is the most trusted resource in the world of sports supplements and nutrition and is the Official Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

What is the ISSN recommends that athletes or individuals engaging in exercise should consume _______ of protein per day? ›

It is recommended that athletes involved in moderate amounts of intense training consume 1 - 1.5 grams/kg/day of protein (50 - 225 grams/day for a 50 - 150 kg athlete) while athletes involved in high volume intense training consume 1.5 - 2.0 grams/kg/day of protein (75 - 300 grams/day for a 50 - 150 kg athlete) [34].

Is journal of exercise and nutrition peer reviewed? ›

The Journal of Exercise and Nutrition (JEN) is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that aims to enhance basic and applied research in multiple areas of exercise and nutrition from clinical to athletic populations.

Is ISSN an issue number? ›

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to uniquely identify a serial publication (periodical), such as a magazine. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing between serials with the same title.

What is the difference between ISBN and ISSN? ›

ISBN is an acronym for International Standard Book Number. It's a number which is unique to each book title. ISSN is International Standard Serial Number, and in the same way as the ISBN, is unique for each serial title. Serials, or periodicals, include scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers.

What is the reputable nutrition website? › is powered by USDA Science and offers credible information to help you make healthful eating choices.

Is nutrition reviews a good journal? ›

Nutrition Reviews is a highly cited, monthly, international, peer-reviewed journal that specializes in the publication of authoritative and critical literature reviews on current and emerging topics in nutrition science, food science, clinical nutrition, and nutrition policy.

What is the best source of energy to feel your body and brain? ›

Fueling up with fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can provide more steady energy. Here are some additional ways to put your best brain forward.

What type of athlete needs the most protein? ›

Athletes seeking to gain muscle mass and strength are likely to consume higher amounts of dietary protein than their endurance-trained counterparts. The main belief behind the large quantities of dietary protein consumption in resistance-trained athletes is that it is needed to generate more muscle protein.

What happens to excess protein in the body? ›

You can't build muscle without the exercise to go with it. The body can't store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat. Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body.

What is the ISSN nutrition? ›

Our mission: The International Society of Sports Nutrition is the only non-profit academic society dedicated to promoting the science and application of evidence-based sports nutrition and supplementation. The ISSN is the world's leader in providing science-based sports nutrition and supplement information.

How reliable is this peer-reviewed journal? ›

Generally, peer reviewed journal articles are considered to be authoritative, though in some fields information can become dated quickly (e.g. health sciences), so it's important to note the date of publication.

What is peer review in nutrition? ›

Peer review is a rigorous evaluation process in which experts in a particular field assess the quality, validity, and originality of research papers before they are published. It involves the impartial assessment of manuscripts by independent researchers who are knowledgeable about the subject matter.

What is the ISSN stand for? ›

Similarly, an ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number. A serial is the term used to describe journals, newspapers, magazines and other publications that are continually published.

What is the ISSN for foods? ›

Foods (ISSN 2304-8158) is an international, peer-reviewed scientific open access journal that provides an advanced forum for studies related to all aspects of food research, with major emphasis on the “science of food”.

What is the ISSN of food science and nutrition? ›

ISSN 2048-7177 (Online) | Food science & nutrition | The ISSN Portal.

What is the ISSN for current nutrition reports? ›

About: Current Nutrition Reports is an academic journal published by Springer Science+Business Media. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Medicine & Clinical nutrition. It has an ISSN identifier of 2161-3311.

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