With all the hype in the world of fitness supplements, also referred to as sports nutrition, it comes as no surprise that the #1 question we receive from our customers is simply: “Does it work?”
Every body is different in the way that it responds to any given nutritional supplement, but understanding which supplements are supported by reputable clinical studies and precisely how they may benefit you as a consumer is a great place to start.
Here are the top 8 sports nutrition supplements that made our list.
ZMA® is a unique mineral support formula that combines Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B-6 – nutrients that elite athletes and everyday exercisers alike can benefit from.
Zinc, a trace mineral that supports carbohydrate, fat, and energy metabolism, is also involved in protein formation and plays a key role in the synthesis of testosterone.*
Magnesium, also a trace mineral involved in cell and protein formation, is an essential component of the muscle enzyme creatine and plays an important role in muscle contractions.*
Vitamin B-6, also known as Pyridoxine, is a coenzyme necessary for proper hormone function as well as the processing amino acids and protein.*
NOS is a potent pre-workout formula that contains arginine — a conditionally essential amino acid that plays a role in stimulating nitric oxide (NOS) production.* During and after workouts, NOS supplements can help support circulation and the delivery of critical aminos and carbohydrates to active cells – especially when combined with your pre- and post-workout shakes.* Arginine also plays a role in the formation of creatine.*
Among all of the sports nutrition supplements that made our list, creatine may be the least surprising, and with good cause; it’s supported by over 10 years of clinical testing and is likely the most studied sports nutrition supplement of all time.
An acidic compound found naturally in the body and consumed through dietary sources like red meat and fish, the majority of the body’s creatine stores are located within the skeletal muscles. Creatine supplementshelp promote exercise performance by increasing strength and powder, volumizing cells, and helping muscles recover following intense exercise.*
You don’t have to exercise to reap the energy boosting benefits of caffeine, but its popularity among fitness nuts both on its own and as a key ingredient in pre-workout formulas goes beyond energy alone.*
A neuromuscular stimulator, caffeine works with the body’s normal metabolic function to increase levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine — two compounds that support the process of heat production called thermogenesis.* Caffeine also provides dual effects by magnifying energy for both the body and the mind.* As any fitness professional will tell you, the link between the mind/body and exercise performance cannot be denied.
Glutamine, perhaps the most popular amino acid supplement among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, is the most highly concentrated amino acid in skeletal muscle. The body uses glutamine as cellular fuel, releasing it from muscle cells during exercise and allowing it to act as an energy precursor.* Additionally, l-glutamine supplements may promote the replenishment of the body’s glycogen stores after exercise when combined with carbohydrates, and it also supports the proper functioning of the GI tract by serving as a primary source of fuel for intestinal cells.*
Protein supplements can be derived from a number of sources, but dairy-based whey protein has remained on top for just about as long as sports nutrition itself. Created as a by-product of cheese production, the milk proteins found in whey protein supplements have a high digestibility rate, hitting the bloodstream quickly in comparison to other proteins.
Athletes who participate in intense training regimens have been shown to require increased protein intake to maintain muscle mass, and a study reported that older individuals who are engaged in resistance training programs may be able to gain more muscle and strength by increasing their protein intake.*
Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine form the group of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders. BCAA’s comprise a large percentage of the amino acid composition in muscle tissue, and they help support muscle nitrogen and protein metabolism within muscle tissue.* BCAAs are biochemically unique since they are the only known amino acids metabolized directly in the muscle cell as opposed to the liver, providing a source of nitrogen.*
Carnitine, though frequently classified as an amino acid, is actually a conditionally essential nitrogen-containing compound found in the mitochondria of cells. About 95% of the body’s carnitine is located in skeletal and cardiac muscle. L-Carnitine supplements assist in fat metabolism by making fatty acids available for muscle tissue, and they also promote muscular energy and support exercise recovery.* Since carnitine occurs naturally in high levels in red meats and other animal products, vegetarians in particular may benefit from the use of carnitine nutritional supplements.