The most popular ingredients found in pre-workout
supplements in the Sports Nutrition category.
By Richard Wang, MPH
Arguably the most popular
ingredient because the
body readily converts it to
nitric oxide (NO), which in
theory allows for better
blood circulation. 1
An amino acid that
combines with the
amino acid histidine in
muscle cells to form
carnosine. Carnosine is a
for muscle strength and
is found concentrated in
the brain and muscle
According to a study at Adams State College,
effects of beta-alanine and a placebo were
compared between two sports: wrestling and
American football. The subjects taking beta-alanine
saw positive results. Wrestlers experienced
increased lean mass weight by 1.1 lb and American
football groups more than doubled their weight
gain of lean muscle mass. 2
Modified amino acid known as trimethylglycine. It’s
effective for boosting muscle strength and power and
reduces LDL levels in athletes. A study proved Twelve
recreationally active men with a minimum of 3 months of
resistance training including back squat and bench press
participated in the study. A crossover design was utilized
and subjects were randomly assigned to either Betaine or
Subjects performed an
acute exercise test (AET)
consisting of maximal
vertical jumps, isometric
bench press, isometric
squat, and a box lift test
before and after 14 days
of supplementation with
either betaine or
BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS
Include the three amino
acids leucine, isoleucine,
and valine. BCAAs are the
fundamental blocks for
nurishing muscle tissue
during weight lifting.
acids are essential amino
acids that stimulate
muscle synthesis and
contribute to the amino
acid pool for building
A powerful stimulant that increases alertness by binding to
receptors in the brain. This keeps nerve activity up and
decreases fatigue response. It produces increased
wakefulness, faster and clearer flow of thought, increased
focus, and better general body coordination 5
A combo of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid. It
increases energy levels by removing ammonia from the
body—a process that delays fatigue and improves recovery.
Citrulline malate is sold as a performance-enhancing
athletic dietary supplement, which was shown to reduce
muscle fatigue in a preliminary clinical trial. 6
Provides muscles with
the quick energy they
need during workouts. It
also pulls more water
into the muscles for a
greater pump, which
turns on processes that
lead to greater longterm muscle growth.
Who Uses It?
There have been over 300 studies on creatine and
the consensus is that it does help with athletic
performance. Creatine supplements are used by
athletes, bodybuilder, wrestlers, sprinters, and
other who wish to gain muscle mass, typically
consuming 2 to 3 times the amount that could be
obtained from a very-high protein diet.
ginsensosides and have
shown to have a
remarkable effect on
recovery. Notably, RG1
has shown in preclinicals to increase
glycogen delivery to
An amino acid that helps to increase muscle endurance and
strength. It can increase blood flow to muscles by
enhancing nitric oxide production. Taurine also draws water
into your muscles for larger muscle appearance. A study of
mice hereditarily unable to transport taurine suggests that
it is needed for proper maintenance and functioning
of skeletal muscles. 9
An amino acid that boosts
energy, mood, and mental
focus by producing
boost your intensity during
workouts. According to
studies, Tyrosine shows
improvements in cognitive
and physical performance.10
J, Müller O, Schopohl J, von Werder K (1988). "Arginine stimulates growth hormone secretion by suppressing
endogenous somatostatin secretion". J Clin Endocrinol Metab 67 (6): 1186–9.doi:10.1210/jcem-67-6-1186. PMID 2903866.
Kern, Tracey Robinson (July 31, 2009). "Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on performance and body
composition in collegiate wrestlers and American football players". Journal of the International Society of Sports
Jenna M., "The Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Performance and Muscle Mechanisms" (2011). Master's
Theses. Paper 109.
Y, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K, Sato J, Bajotto G, Kitaura Y, & Shimomura YJ. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol.. 2011.vol. 57. Pg
S (1995). "Caffeine: Psychological Effects, Use and Abuse". Orthomolecular Psychiatry 10 (3): 202–211.
D, Mattei JP, Ghattas B, Confort-Gouny S, Le Guern ME, Cozzone PJ (Aug 2002). "Citrulline/malate promotes
aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle". Br J Sports Med 36 (4): 282–
9. doi:10.1136/bjsm.36.4.282. PMC 1724533. PMID 12145119.
RC, Söderlund K, Hultman E. Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine
supplementation. Clin Sci (Lond). (1992)"Creatine - Sources in the Diet". Examine.com. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
Warskulat, U. Flogel, C. Jacoby, H.-G. Hartwig, M. Thewissen, M. W. Merx, A. Molojavyi, B. Heller-Stilb, J. Schrader and
D. Haussinger (2004). "Taurine transporter knockout depletes muscle taurine levels and results in severe skeletal muscle
impairment but leaves cardiac function uncompromised". The FASEB Journal18 (3): 03–0496fje. doi:10.1096/fj.030496fje.PMID 14734644.
LW, Wang CZ, Yuan CS (June 2011). "Ginsenosides from American ginseng: chemical and pharmacological
diversity".Phytochemistry 72 (8): 689–99.doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.02.012. PMC 3103855.PMID 21396670.
JB, Wientjes CJ, Vullinghs HF, Cloin PA, Langefeld JJ (1999). "Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and
reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course". Brain Res. Bull. 48 (2): 203–
9. doi:10.1016/S0361-9230(98)00163-4.PMID 10230711.
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