Nutritional ergogenic aids have been in use for a long time to enhance exercise and sports performance. Dietary components that exhibit ergogenic activity are numerous and their consumption is common and popular among athletes. They often come under scrutiny by legal authorities for their claimed benefits and safety concerns. Amino acid derivatives are propagated as being effective aids to enhance physical and mental performance in many ways, even though studies have pointed out that individuals who are deficient are more likely to benefit from dietary supplementation of amino acid derivatives than normal humans. In this review, some of the most common and widely used amino acids derivatives in sports and athletics namely creatine, tyrosine, carnitine, HMB, and taurine have been discussed for their effects on exercise performance, mental activity as well as body strength and composition. Creatine, carnitine, HMB, and taurine are reported to delay the onset of fatigue, improve exercise performance, and body strength. HMB helps in increasing fat-free mass and reduce exercise induced muscle injury. Taurine has been found to reduce oxidative stress during exercise and also act as an antihypertensive agent. Although, studies have not been able to find any favorable effect of tyrosine administration on exercise performance, it has been proved to be very effective in fighting stress, improving mood and cognitive performance particularly in sleep-deprived subjects. While available data from published studies and findings are equivocal about the efficacy of creatine, tyrosine, and HMB, more comprehensive researches on carnitine and taurine are necessary to provide evidence for the theoretical basis of their ergogenic role in nutritional modification and supplementation.
Keywords: HMB; Keywords Nutritional ergogenic aids; amino acid derivatives; carnitine; creatine; taurine; tyrosine.