Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Nutritional Physiological Phenomena -- physiology; Sports


The use of ergogenic aids is widespread, with users ranging from recreational to professional athletes. Perhaps the Olympics has received more publicity regarding the use of ergogenic aids than any other athletic event.

It is widely understood that anabolic steroids and other drugs can be very dangerous. As a result, more and more athletes are seeking safer alternative methods in order to enhance athletic performance. With this attitude, a number of athletes are purchasing protein, multi vitamin/mineral, and carbohydrate supplements as well as other ergogenic aids in the belief that these supplements will improve their athletic performance. However, some of these supplements are questionable in safety and effectiveness.

It is not right to assume that the RDA for nutrients is adequate for optimal performance. It should be realized that the RDA is meant for a population and not an individual.

The use of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamin/mineral supplements should be based on individual requirements. One must look at which nutrients they are deficient in and correct these deficiencies. Any increase in performance is probably attributed to a correction in deficiency rather than an ergogenic effect.

Intake of these nutrients was found to be higher than the RDA for athletes. Vitamin/mineral supplements will always list their nutrient sources and have an expiration date and full address on their bottles. Studies have also shown that chromium picolinate, vanadyl sulfate, and creatine monohydrate may well be the only proven and effective ergogenic aids.

The user must thoroughly review the literature as well as his/her dietary needs before considering the use of any ergogenic aids. Athletes are on a constant search for ergogenic aids which can improve performance. It is easy to be deceived by manufacturers claiming that their products can enhance their performance. Finally, there is no ergogenic aid that will be of value without hard work, proper diet, and rest.