Supplementation for footballers

Supplementary support is a popular practice among footballers. Recently, researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Nutrition, Canada Dietitians and the American College of Sports Medicine have divided oral supplements into three categories of sports articles (such as sports drinks, chocolate bars, electrolytes), dietary supplements (iron, calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 acids) ) and specific dietary supplements (creatine, caffeine, sodium bicarbonate, beta-alanine and nitrates). Taking into consideration the specificity of football, the following article presents the justification for the consumption of some supplements and the protocol of their use.

  1. Beta-alanine
  2. Creatine
  3. Nitrates
  4. Caffeine
  5. Practical recommendations in selected food supplements


  1. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine supplementation has become a common practice among athletes of various types of competition. Its action is based on increasing the intramuscular carnosine content, which leads to an increase in muscle buffering capacity. It delays muscle fatigue and facilitates regeneration during repetitive, high intensity exercise. Muscles are unable to synthesize two precursors for l-histidine and beta-alanine, therefore the concentration of intracellular carnosine depends to a large extent on the intake of these amino acids.

The position of the International Society for Sports Nutrition states that daily supplementation (4-6 g / day) significantly increases the concentration of carnosine in the muscles. Supplementing beta-alanine now seems safe for healthy people. The only side effect of supplementation can be paresthesia (tingling). To reduce paresthesia, divide the dose into portions or enter formulas prolonged release. Daily supplementation (4-6 g / day) for at least two to four weeks may improve results.

In conclusion, scientific data indicates that athletes can not only use beta-alanine supplementation to increase athletic performance. It can also be used as a training aid to increase the high-intensity training cycle and reduce indicators of perceived fatigue, which may allow for greater overload and higher adaptation compared to the training itself.


  1. Creatine

Creatine is an endogenous compound synthesized from arginine, glycine and methionine and is mainly (95%) stored in skeletal muscle, where it can be found in free form or bound to phosphate (phosphocreatine). The most known physiological effect of creatine is the role of maintaining intracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Immediately transmits its phosphate molecule from adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to ATP, and thus helps to cover the muscle’s energy demand and enables a longer-lasting effort – maintaining the highest output power. It contributes to the increase of muscle mass, strength and speed as well as increasing the so-called muscle buffering capacity – which means that it has the ability to neutralize muscle acidification during training. Creatine monohydrate is the most-used form of creatine. It is believed,that prolonged use of creatine does not bring adverse health effects, at least when consuming the most popular forms of creatine.


  1. Nitrates

The consumption of nitrates leads to an increase in the concentration of nitrite in plasma, and hence – increased production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has several metabolic and vascular effects that contribute to greater exercise performance. In the context of athletes, it can modulate skeletal muscle function through regulation of blood flow, muscle contraction, glucose homeostasis, calcium and mitochondrial respiration. As a result, it reduces the use of oxygen, improves efficiency, increases the tolerance of effort and delays the emergence of fatigue. Nitrates are available in the form of beetroot shots, gels and chocolate bars.

Eating foods rich in nitrates such as spinach, lettuce and rocket can also be an alternative to complementing them. Although the use of nitrates has become popular in football, few studies have examined the effectiveness of nitrates, especially with regard to football results. According to Thompson’s study et al. Reception beet juice, 70 ml per day (about 6.4 mmol nitrates) in relation to the placebo for five days by the male sports team, it improved the distance covered and accelerated the cognitive response. In another study, supplementation improved the total work done during intermittent training as well as the response time.


  1. Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most popular dietary supplements, and its operation has been documented by many analyzes. It has an ergogenic effect, affects strength, efficiency and may increase muscle glycogen regeneration during the recovery phase. Caffeine supplementation is beneficial in intermittent sports such as football. Froskett and colleagues have shown that consumption of 6 mg / kg of caffeine for 60 minutes stimulates the activity of footballers, can improve accuracy, and also translates into the performance of players.



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