Types of Common Supplements


Dietary supplements are the micronutrients that most athletes take, either for known deficiencies or as to insure proper body’s nutritional status. They are typically taken throughout the entire training year, although some are phased in and out depending on an athlete’s needs and deficiency states.
Popular supplements in this category are:Only Choose Supplements You Trust

  • Multivitamins/Minerals
  • Antioxidants
  • Iron / Magnesium / Calcium / Zink
  • B-complex
  • Vitamin D
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • CoQ10
  • Probiotics
  • Fiber

Although Multivitamin/Mineral is a convenient way to get additional nutrients, there are few things have to be considered. Multiples can come with or without Iron. When determining whether or not to choose multivitamin that contains iron, it is best to consider whether you is at risk of developing any type of Iron deficiency. Calcium, which is often included in multivitamins, can inhibit the absorption of Iron. Iron and Copper compete because they use the same transporter in the body. If you need to ensure adequate Iron stores, it is best to choose an individual Iron supplement and a multivitamin without Iron. The Iron should be taken separately from the multivitamin to insure the best chance for absorption and together with vitamin C as vitamin C enhances Iron absorption. Other nutrients that inhibit Iron absorption are: tannic acid (found in tea and wine), phytic acid (found in grains), and bran.


Herbal supplements, sometimes called botanicals, aren’t new. They are made from ground plants and contain all of the specific essential nutrients naturally contained within those plants. Herbal Supplements provide all the benefits of the whole herb minus the plant fibre, and contain a guaranteed potency of the active ingredient for maximum benefit. Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The story goes back to 60,000 years, when humans valued herbs as medicine (pollen grains of eight medicinal plants were found on a grave in Iran). Since prehistoric times, shamans or medicine men and women of Eurasia and the Americas acquired a tremendous knowledge of medicinal plants. Up until the 18th century, the professions of doctor and botanist were closely linked. The first modern botanic gardens, which were founded in 16th century Italy, were medicinal plant gardens attached to medical faculties or schools. There are a huge number of medicinal plants. A list of over 20,000 medicinal plants has been published and very likely a much larger number of plants have been used medicinally. Some popular supplements in this category are:

  • Curcumin
  • Milk Thistle
  • Astragalus
  • Ashwagandha
  • Echinacea
  • Rhodiola
  • Green Tea
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Ginseng
  • Ginger
  • Licorice
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Black Cohosh

In parts of Europe, especially in Germany, herbal medicine (or phytomedicine) is much more popular than in North America. The already well-established medicinal plant trade of Europe is increasing at an annual rate of about 20%. Canada and the US have been much less receptive to herbal medicines. This is because lack of proper scientific evaluation, limited regulation, absence of quality control, limited education of many herbal practitioners, and the presence of snake-oil salesmen have all combined to give herbal medicine a bad reputation. However, in response to public demand for a alternative medicine, this situation is changing.


Sport supplements can be used to enhance performance and adaptation in the nutrient timing windows before, during, and after training or competition. These supplements generally provide an additional and more convenient way to supply nutrients. Supplements in this category are: 

  • Preworkout Beverages
  • During-Workout Beverages
  • Postworkout Beverages
  • Electrolytes
  • Whey and Casein Protein
  • Plant derived Protein
  • Bars, Gels, Gummy Chews

You push your body hard  and it’s important to give it everything it needs so it can push back. But, with all the advertisements about supplements and sports nutrition that supposedly increase endurance, it can be difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. Some supplements are a complete waste of money, some can actually decrease performance, yet there are supplements with proven benefits. Don’t be discouraged. There is one thing you can be sure of, the right sports supplements combined with proper nutrition will give you an extra edge when training and skilled and experienced nutritionist can be a great help.


An ergogenic aid is a nutritional, physical, mechanical, physiological, or pharmacological intervention that can improve the capacity of physical and mental performance, especially eliminating fatigue symptoms. Companies selling ergogenic aids often target athletes of different sports, with some focusing on strength and power sports while others on improving aerobic endurance. Ergogenic aids are typically the most confusing class of supplements for athletes. Because they are not included in the nutrients that sustain life (carbohydrate, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals), they are typically thought only as performance enhancing and for specific use related to a sport and not for health.
Ergogenic aids fall into several categories:

Mechanical Aids
Any physical object that affects performance qualifies as a mechanical aid.

  • Computers – Used to analyze VO2 max, technique, test results etc.
  • Video recorders – Used to analyze technique
  • Heart Rate Monitors
  • Weights
  • Parachutes
  • Downhill running
  • Uphill running
  • Treadmills
  • Weighted vests
  • Timing equipment
  • Nasal Strips
  • Elastic cords
  • Sports clothing, footwear and equipment

Psychological Aids
Techniques that support the athlete’s mental state are psychological aids.

  • Hypnosis
  • Cheering
  • Music
  • Yoga
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Imagery techniques
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Motivational techniques

Nutritional Aids
Nutritional ergogenic aids consist of organic substances that are used with the purpose of enhancing sports performance. They can include anything from manipulations of the fluid, carbohydrate, fat, and protein content in a diet, to nutrient or food supplements in the form of tablets, liquids, bars, or powders.

  • Carbohydrate Loading
  • Sport Drinks
  • Caffeine intake
  • Use of Amino Acids, Creatine, Glutamine
  • Alcohol
  • Products that may enhance energy production to improve strength, speed, power, or endurance (such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, fluid, vitamins, minerals, herbal products)
  • Products that may enhance performance by changing body composition (such as protein, food replacement bars/shakes, chromium, green tea)
  • Products that may enhance recovery (such as fluids, carbohydrates, protein,  vitamins, minerals, herbal products, essential oils)

Physiological Aids
Any physical manipulation performed on a body and used with the purpose of enhancing sports performance and recovery is considered a physiological aid. Physiological aids are widely available and can be a good alternative to drug supplementation. This category include legal and illegal methods.

  • Physiotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Bio-energetic testing
  • Sauna
  • Ice Baths / Belts / Jackets
  • Massage
  • Spine and joints manipulation
  • Altitude training
  • Oxygen – is essential for the production of energy by aerobic processes. The greater the body’s capacity to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise, the greater the ability to maintain aerobic activity without fatigue. If a person can improve their capacity to utilize oxygen they are likely to improve their performance in endurance


  • Blood doping
  • EPO (erythropoietin) is a hormone that stimulates red blood cell production
  • rEPO (recombinant erythropoietin) is cloned through genetic engineering

Pharmacological Aids
These include performance enhancing drugs, mostly illegal. They have been used by sports competitors for many years. This type of aid can be very effective but also very dangerous, leading to unexpected health complications and even death.

  • High dose nutrient supplements (vitamins and minerals)
  • Caffeine tablets


  • Amphetamines (stimulate the central nervous system to increase arousal levels. Increase blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow to the active muscles)
  • Beta Blockers (reduce blood pressure and heart rate thereby reducing tension, but can lead to heart failure)
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH) (stimulates bone growth and increased lean body mass give artificial increased strength / power outputs)
  • Anabolic Steroids (one group of hormonal drugs. They are taken to allow for an increase in training time and intensity and to reduce the recovery time required between training sessions. Also give artificial increased strength / power outputs and increase lean body mass, but reduce natural secretions of gonadotrophins (hormones are central to the complex endocrine system that regulates normal growth, sexual development, and reproductive function). Females acquire masculine features such as facial and body hair and deep voices
  • For full list please Click here


Modern technology allows us to manipulate human genes to make them more powerful and more efficient than average genes. This form of performance enhancement is seen by both World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as being illegal. Laboratories in various countries are continuously working to devise new substances which cannot be tested by current drug tests.

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If you want to improve your sports performance, use products that have been proven safe. They are legal, healthy, and they work. To gain a more competitive edge, nothing works better than proper nutrient intake, training, correct technique, recovery, and knowledge and support of coaches and supporting teams of health professionals.


This website is intended to provide information and is not intended to replace medical advice.
For more information or consultation please contact:
Tatiana Armero  t.647-500-0053  or email
© The Vigor Zone 2011