Dietary Supplements and Sport Performance - A Comprehensive Review

  • Julij Šelb University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik
  • Helena Lenasi*


Comprehensive articles on dietary supplements and their impact of on sport performance which would enable professional and recreational sportsmen evidence based information are sparse.

Therefore, we investigated eight different dietary supplements, commonly used among recreative and endurance sportsmen according to available literature were analyzed, namely: Antioxidants, B-alanine, Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), Caffeine, Carbohydrates, Creatine, Nitric oxide /nitrates, and proteins. Their mechanisms of action was shortly presented along with their potential beneficial and harmful side effects and safety.

i.) Antioxidants: Sufficient amount of antioxidants is available in a balanced diet ii.) B-alanine: Supplementation is likely to be beneficial in high-intensity exercises. iii.) BCAAs: No review articles in English were available iv.) Caffeine: Caffeine supplementation is beneficial in endurance exercises v.) Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate supplementation is probably beneficial in exercises of durations longer than one hour vi.) Creatine: Creatine supplementation is effective in high intensity, short-lasting exercises, while it does not seem to have any ergogenic effect in aerobic exercises. vii.) Nitric oxide/nitrates: Nitrate supplementation has a small but meaningful performance enhancing effect, most apparent in situations of insufficient perfusion (hypoxia…). viii.) Proteins: Protein supplementation, in combination with resistance exercise, most likely has beneficial effects on lean body mass and muscle strength.

Studies on the long term safety of the above supplements are mostly lacking.

Most of the revised dietary supplements, if used for intended exercise regime, provide some sort of sport performance enhancement. On the other hand, the studies about the safety of the long term supplementation are mostly lacking.

Apr 3, 2018
How to Cite
ŠELB, Julij; LENASI*, Helena. Dietary Supplements and Sport Performance - A Comprehensive Review. Southeastern European Medical Journal, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 33-45, apr. 2018. ISSN 2459-9484. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 june 2019. doi: