Commercially marketed supplements for bodybuilding athletes

Sports Med. 1993 Feb;15(2):90-103. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199315020-00003.


We conducted a survey of 624 commercially available supplements targeted towards bodybuilding athletes. Over 800 performance claims were made for these supplements. Supplements include amino acids, boron, carnitine, choline, chromium, dibencozide, ferulic acid, gamma oryzanol, medium chain triglycerides, weight gain powders, Smilax compounds and yohimbine. Many performance claims advertised were not supported by published research studies. In some instances, we found no research to validate the claims; in other cases, research findings were extrapolated to inappropriate applications. For example, biological functions of some non-essential compounds were interpreted as performance claims for the supplements. Claims for others were based on their ability to enhance hormonal release or activity. We suggest that more research be conducted on this group of athletes and their nutritional needs. Furthermore, the effectiveness and safety of supplements merit further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Weight Lifting*