Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements are a popular class of dietary supplements which are purported to improve exercise performance. However, the composition of these products varies substantially between formulations, thus making comparisons challenging. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify a common ingredient profile of top-selling pre-workout supplements and to compare ingredient dosages to established efficacious values. The top 100 commercially available pre-workout products were analyzed for listed ingredients and amounts, if available, from the supplement facts panel. The mean ± SD number of ingredients per supplement (n = 100) was 18.4 ± 9.7 with 8.1 ± 9.9 of these ingredients included in a proprietary blend at undisclosed quantities. Relative prevalence and average amounts of the top ingredients amounted to: Beta-alanine (87%; 2.0 ± 0.8 g), Caffeine (86%; 254.0 ± 79.5 mg), Citrulline (71%; 4.0 ± 2.5 g), Tyrosine (63%; 348.0 ± 305.7 mg), Taurine (51%; 1.3 ± 0.6 g), and Creatine (49%; 2.1 ± 1.0 g). Nearly half (44.3%) of all ingredients were included as part of a proprietary blend with undisclosed amounts of each ingredient. The average amount of beta-alanine per serving size was below the recommended efficacious dose. The average caffeine content was near the low end for an effective relative dose for a 70 kg individual (3⁻6 mg·kg-1 of bodyweight).
Keywords: beta-alanine; caffeine; citrulline; creatine; energy; ergogenic aid; power; pre-workout; strength; supplement.