Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Feb;94(2):651-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00755.2002. Epub 2002 Oct 25.


The purpose of this study was to quantify which dietary supplements augment lean mass and strength gains during resistance training. Peer-reviewed studies between the years 1967 and 2001 were included in the analysis if they met a predetermined set of experimental criteria, among which were at least 3-wk duration and resistance-training 2 or more times a week. Lean mass and strength were normalized for meta-analysis by conversion to percent change per week and by calculating the effect size for each variable. Of the 250 supplements examined, only 6 had more than 2 studies that met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Creatine and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) were found to significantly increase net lean mass gains of 0.36 and 0.28%/wk and strength gains of 1.09 and 1.40%/wk (P < 0.05), respectively. Chromium, dehydroepiandrosterone, androstenedione, and protein did not significantly affect lean gain or strength. In conclusion, two supplements, creatine and HMB, have data supporting their use to augment lean mass and strength gains with resistance training.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Androstenedione / pharmacology
  • Body Composition* / drug effects
  • Chromium / pharmacology
  • Creatine / pharmacology
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Proteins / pharmacology
  • Valerates / pharmacology
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Proteins
  • Valerates
  • Chromium
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Creatine