Sports Supplements: Which Are Most Effective?

The fitness industry earns a large part of its income through sports supplements. In this article, we’ll look at what supplements are actually useful and which ones probably only serve the purpose of losing money.
Sports Supplements: Which Are Most Effective?

Last update: 05 March, 2020

Nowadays, sports supplements are one of the biggest generators of income for the fitness industry. Many athletes in their desire to up their performance or aesthetics use them. They don’t always know how they work, but they’re comforted by the assurance that they’ll end their exercise-related frustrations.

However, many of these substances don’t have any objective other than taking advantage of the consumer. In this article, we’ll look at sports supplements and examine which ones are actually recommendable, and which are not.

Sports supplements

Sports supplements are those substances that people consume in order to improve their performance though it’s not necessary to do so. They’re chemical compounds that the human body can take advantage of in order to increase physical capacity that’ll improve performance.

One classic example of this type of supplement is whey protein. These are just like any other proteins that you consume every day. The special thing about these is simply that they’ve been isolated and filtered to become a powder so that you can mix them with milk or water. Producers filtrate this protein from the whey of milk, which is where it gets its name.

Sports supplements and economic interests

Sports supplements are responsible for a very robust industry. The entire industry is based on the insecurities of its customers who want to buy substances to improve their performance or aesthetics in the least amount of time possible.

Many people erroneously think of these supplements as “shortcuts”. However, their use, independently of the scientific evidence behind it, usually gives useless results.

A man examining a protein shake.

Because of this, it’s important that everyone who is interested in perfecting their performance through supplements tries to stay informed about how they act and the evidence behind their use. This way you’ll not only avoid throwing away money, but you’ll also prevent putting your own health at risk unnecessarily.

The sports supplements that are most recommended by us are the ones that have the greatest amount of scientific evidence behind them. This means that they’ve been tested by experts and are proven effective. Experts saw improvements in performance with those who consumed them more than those who consumed a placebo.

Whey protein

Whey protein is one of the supplements that have the most evidence to back up its use. This is because, after a training session, your muscles are fatigued and they need protein to repair the damaged fibers from your workout routine.

This supplement lets you increase the daily amount of protein. A great way to get to the two grams per kilo of weight that professionals recommend is to have it as a protein shake. That way, it’ll help you recover from those workout sessions.

Creatine: sports supplements

Lots of scientists are studying creatine lately. People take it in the form of a monohydrate, and their muscles combine with the phosphorus to form phosphocreatine.

Phosphocreatine is one of the main combustible principles that the muscle uses in order to get energy. It improves your resistance in anaerobic training and lets the muscles recover better after each training session.

A woman at a gym drinking a supplement shake.


Caffeine is a stimulant for both the nervous system and muscles. Many people use it as a sports supplement before their training. It improves your level of alertness and reduces the feeling of sleepiness. This is the way that caffeine can improve your performance.

In addition to this, it has a stimulating effect directly on your muscular contracts and reduces the appearance of fatigue. However, you should be cautious when taking it as there are cases in which the consumption of too much caffeine has been fatal.

Other sports supplements

In this part, we’ll include glutamine, Tribulus Terrestris, and ornithine. Many scientists logically think that these substances can help with your performance. However, lately, there have been several studies that show that they don’t give any significant benefit, and might even be dangerous in large quantities.

Finally, others such as arginine, L-citrulline, or those related amino-acids might be beneficial in certain situations. That said, scientists are waiting for more evidence to confirm and recommend its use.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Kerksick CM, Wilborn CD, Roberts MD, Smith-Ryan A, Kleiner SM, Jäger R, et al. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr [Internet]. 2018 Aug 1 [cited 2019 Sep 15];15(1):38. Available from:
  • Valenzuela PL, Morales JS, Emanuele E, Pareja-Galeano H, Lucia A. Supplements with purported effects on muscle mass and strength. Eur J Nutr [Internet]. 2019 Jan 2 [cited 2019 Sep 15]; Available from:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.