Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance

Dietary supplements are defined as a product taken orally that contains a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet. Dietary ingredients may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids and substances (enzyme, organ tissue, glandular and metabolities). Dietary supplements may also be extracts or concentrates from plants or foods. Nutritional supplements are generally categorised into three groups, supporting muscle mass growth, supporting weight loss and fat burning and enhancing performance and endurance. According to Pramukova, Szabadosova and Soltesova (2011), effective supplements for enhancing performance and endurance are sports drinks with the ideal content and balance of carbohydrates and minerals, creatine, caffeine, essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids. Recent studies have shown a sustained positive effect of B-alanine (non essential amino acid) (Pramukova, Szabadosova and Soltesova, 2011). In this study it was reported that athletes experienced improved recovery and adaptation to training after the intake of drinks containing protein and B-alanine and carbohydrates, rather than after protein or carbohydrate drinks alone.

Pramukova, B., Szabadosova, V. & Soltesova, A. 2011. Current knowledge about sports nutrition. Australiasian Medical Journal, 4, 3, 107-110.

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