Protein Supplementation in Sport: Source, Timing, and Intended Benefits

Curr Nutr Rep. 2019 Dec;8(4):382-396. doi: 10.1007/s13668-019-00293-1.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide background on the present literature regarding the utility and effectiveness of protein supplements, including protein source and nutrient timing.

Recent findings: In the setting of adequate dietary protein consumption, research suggests some benefit particularly in sport or exercise activities. Protein supplements command a multi-billion-dollar market with prevalent use in sports. Many individuals, including athletes, do not consume optimal dietary protein on a daily basis. High-protein diets are remarkably safe in healthy subjects, especially in the short term. Some objective outcomes are physiologic and may not translate to clinically relevant outcomes. Athletes should, however, consider long-term implications when consuming high quantities of protein in dietary or supplement form.

Keywords: Endurance training; Protein; Protein requirements; Protein sources and timing; Protein supplementation; Resistance training; Sports.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance
  • Body Composition
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dietary Proteins* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nutrients / administration & dosage
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Sports* / physiology


  • Dietary Proteins