Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements used by individuals interested in physical fitness come in different forms including capsules, tablets, bars, and liquids. Most of these products consist of ingredients in varying amounts and combinations. The most common ingredients include protein, amino acids, caffeine, and creatine. According to statistics, the retail sales of the category of physical fitness supplements totaled 13.8% of 42 billion dollars’ total sales for nutrition products and dietary supplements in 2018.2 Among the most commonly used supplements include antioxidants, beetroot juice, and creatine. All three supplements have their impacts on the body physiologically, and potential health benefits and hazards.

One of the most widely used supplements for physical fitness is antioxidants. Physiologically, antioxidants significantly impact the body by destroying free radicals hence protecting the structural integrity of tissues and cells.3  According to research, antioxidant supplements such as enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and vitamins E and C are effective in reducing the formation of free radicals, thereby reducing fatigue and damage on the skeletal muscle and promoting recovery.1 Antioxidants have the health benefits of reducing risks of oxidative stress, production of free radicals, and other conditions. However, they can be problematic when taken in larger amounts. They may decrease the benefits of physical activities and increase the risks of certain birth defects and cancer.

Beetroot juice is another supplement that is highly effective for physical fitness. Physiologically, beetroot juice boosts energy production, dilates blood vessels, and decreases the use of oxygen in the body. According to clinical trials, beetroot juice helps in improving performance and endurance to a variety of extents among cyclists, swimmers, and rowers.2 The impacts of this supplement seem more pronounced on active non-athletes who like recreation. Beetroot juice has potential health benefits and hazards. It is a good source of organic nitrate which helps in enhancing athletic performance and exercise in different ways mainly through its conversion to nitric oxide.1 Nitric acid is a significant vasodilator that helps in increasing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skeletal muscle and blood flow.

The last critical supplement is creatine. Creatine is among the most widely used and thoroughly studies dietary supplements that help in enhancing sports performance and exercise. Physiologically, creatine helps in generating ATP which supplies energy to the muscles especially during short-term events.1 Creatine helps in improving muscle performance by enhancing the storage of glycogen in skeletal muscles, depressing adenine nucleotides degradation, increasing phosphocreatine re-synthesis, and generating ATP during intense exercise. Research in both sports and laboratory settings suggests that short-term supplementation of creatine significantly leads to an increase in power and strength.3 It also increases strength in work that involves soccer and sprinting performance. The health benefits of creatine include improving performance and greater muscle strength. However, creatine can lead to weight gain since it stimulates protein synthesis in the muscles and increases water retention.

In sum, all three supplements are significant to enhancing physical fitness. Antioxidants protect the integrity of tissues and cells by reducing the production of free radicals. Beetroot juice boosts energy production and decreases the use of oxygen in the body. Creatine helps the body in generating ATP which supplies energy to the muscles. I would recommend these supplements since they have significant health benefits during exercise and fitness and with fewer health hazards.




  1. Dwyer J, Coates P, Smith M. Dietary supplements: Regulatory challenges and research resources. Nutrients. 2018;10(1):41. doi:10.3390/nu10010041
  2. Garthe I, Maughan RJ. Athletes and supplements: Prevalence and perspectives. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2018;28(2):126-138. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0429
  3. Rawson ES, Miles MP, Larson-Meyer DE. Dietary supplements for health, adaptation, and recovery in athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2018;28(2):188-199. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0340




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