Natural Athletic Performance Enhancers

Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Healthy Living, Natural Health, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Weight Loss

Natural Athletic Performance Enhancers

Whether you are an Olympic contestant or a weekend warrior, athletes continually seek out any advantage to enhance their competitive performance. The list of sports performance enhancers is long and ever growing in the hope of gaining an edge over another competitor. Any advancement may make the difference in the outcome of a competition. The aim of natural athletic performance enhancers is to energize an athlete before and during a workout, increase muscular endurance and mental focus, while instilling calmness of the mind for better reflexes and timing. The following suggestions are categorized as ergogenic aids, which simply means, any substance that improves an athlete’s strength, speed or endurance.


Creatine has established itself as a priority for enhancing athletic performance. This well documented supplement plays an important role in the production of energy in the body as well as the stored energy which is used by the muscles known as phosphocreatine. Through a conversion process creatine becomes the valuable energy source of phosphocreatine. The goal in taking supplemental creatine is to enhance a build-up of phosphocreatine in the muscles which can then be called upon when intense and high bursts of energy are needed.

Hydroxymethyl Butyrate (HMB)

Another great substance is HMB coveted as a sports performance supplement for its ability to increase strength and muscle mass. HMB occurs naturally when the amino acid Leucine breaks down in our body. The issue has been the damaging effect of muscles during athletic training. The aim of supplemental HMB is to inhibit muscle damage induced by the increased breakdown of Leucine. Controlled studies reported HMB improved muscle growth and enhanced strength in direct proportions to intake during weight training.


Colostrum has gained popularity among professional athletics due to their enhanced performance capabilities. Colostrum is a substance produced by the mothers within a couple of days after birth. Colostrum contains amazing growth factors (IGF-1) that may enhance performance and muscle development. Double blind studies reported an increase of lean muscle mass in men and women during aerobic and resistance exercise. In addition improvements in sprinting, rowing, vertical jump and in an exercise to exhaustion test.

Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG)

OKG is manufactured from two amino acids ornithine and glutamine which appear to have anabolic effects (build muscle). Slightly different but beneficial, these two amino acids also have anti-catobolic effects, (blocking the effect of muscle breakdown). Understandably OKG has been extensively promoted as a sports supplement for building muscle.

Medium Chained Triglycerides (MCTs)

Medium chained triglycerides are fats with a unique chemical structure for easy digestibility. MCTs are processed similarly to carbohydrates offering an alternative to the consumption of large quantities of carbohydrates prior to intense physical training. These fats provide a concentrated source of easily accessible energy.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine is a major component of our cell membranes. Power athletes seek out this supplement for its reported muscle building qualities due to its ability to slow the release of cortisol. Since the hormone cortisol promotes muscle breakdown following intense exercise and PS has demonstrated to slow down its release, athletes believe PS will help them to advance more quickly in their efforts to build muscle more rapidly.

Trimethylglycine (TMG)

Trimethylglycine is a natural compound within the body however, during the process of metabolism undertakes a transformation into another substance called dimethylglycine (DMG). As an athletic performance enhancer, DMG has been used extensively in Russia; however, TMG is much less expensive and may have the same benefits as DMG as it converts into DMG in the body.

BCAA’s (Branched chain amino acids)

Muscle composition is particularly high in BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine). Intense strength training and endurance exercise use greater quantities of BCAA’s than less strenuous activities. Also, high altitude sports such as mountaineering and skiing require additional levels of BCAA’s to maintain performance and delay fatigue due to metabolic changes occurring at elevated altitudes.

Peppermint Odor

A series of athletic task performances were executed where peppermint odor was administered, resulting in an increased running speed, hand grip strength and reps of push-ups. Peppermint odor significantly reduced perceived physical workload; in effort and frustration and participants rated their vigor high and fatigue lower.


Methoxyisoflavone is a hormonally active substance steroid, enhancing muscle mass without causing testosterone like (androgenic) effects.

Coenzyme Q 10

Based on the role coenzyme Q 10 plays in producing energy at a cellular level, this natural substance is proposed as an athletic performance enhancer. Co Q 10 converts calories to ATP, the usable form of energy to do physical work.


As a muscle endurance aid, caffeine appears to prolong the endurance time to muscle fatigue. For example, a Tour de France rider may drink as many as five cups of coffee
before a race and continue throughout the competition. However there is a legal limit on the amount of caffeine consumed in competitive sports.

Alanine (Carnosine)

High levels of L-carnosine are found in our skeletal muscle tissue. It is hypothesized that by ingesting a supplement of the amino acid Alanine, it would then induce carnosine levels in the muscles enhancing sports performance.


Antioxidants in the form of flavonoids reduce pain and inflammation associated with oxidative stress (free radical damage) brought on by overexertion during exercise.


Arginine is a popular amino acid taken individually or in combination with other amino acids for its ergogenic effects. Arginine is often used for male sterility and impotence.

Chromium Picolinate

The mineral chromium is often referred to as a “fat burner” assisting the body by converting stored fat into energy and the utilization of glucose in our bodies.


Citrulline is marketed as a supplement for enhancing sports performance based on its complementary relation to Creatine. Enthusiastic reports support citrulline for enhancing aerobic exercise capacity, coupled by increased energy and performance.
Ciwujia Ciwujia is actually Eleutherococcus, a species related to ginseng, however according to some scientists, performs almost identically, notably aiding aerobic capacity and endurance.


DHEA is popular among athletes seeking an increase of muscle tissue growth. Similar to Phosphatidylserine, it may inhibit the body’s response to cortisol aiding muscle mass and sports performance.


With all the marketing claims out there, let’s not loose sight of the importance of a well balanced diet of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts, seeds, sprouts and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Gamma Oryzanol

Gamma Oryzanol is a component of rice bran oil. Interest as a sports enhancer developed when studies suggested gamma oryzanol may increase endorphin release and aid muscle growth.


One of the many roles of inosine in our body is the part it plays in making ATP. Solely based on this fact, inosine has been proposed as an energy boosting supplement.


Most athletes would not be iron deficient, however women who may be on the low side of normal did benefit from iron supplements in the area of energy, endurance and speed.


Policosanol is derived from sugarcane. A study for evaluation as a performance enhancer demonstrated increased muscle strength, endurance, stamina and improved reaction time.


Pyruvate acid is another substance involved in the use and production of energy. Pyruvate became popular when evidence suggested it may improve exercise performance and body composition.


Ribose is vital for the manufacturing of ATP, the body’s main form of energy. This carbohydrate has shown promise for improved endurance capacity and relieving pain in muscles.


Suma is referred to as Brazilian Ginseng being regarded by Russian Olympic athletes for enhancing sports performance and in the Untied States as a general strengthener of the body, as well as a treatment for fatigue, anxiety, impotence and immune support.

Thyroid Support

To maintain optimum energy and an increased metabolic rate, a supplement containing full thyroid support or at bare minimum an iodine source such as kelp is necessary for general health and performance.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is an abundant source of the amino acids BCAA’s. However comparison studies indicate that the less expensive Casein was equally beneficial at promoting muscle growth.

Caution: Androstenedione, Boron and Vanadium are common supplements taken by athletes where studies suggest erring on the side of caution based on serious safety concerns and a lack of beneficial evidence.

Copyright © 2017 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.


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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.

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