A-Z of Sports Nutrition Ingredients


A-Z of Sports Nutrition Ingredients


Acetyl- L-Carnitine. Acetyl-L-Carntine is used in fat-loss formulas as it helps to move fatty acids into the mitochondria where they can be used for fuel.

Arginine. Precursor to nitric oxide but less effective than either citrulline or agmatine due to the fact arginine is less bioavailable and is limited in its ability to increase nitric oxide by the enzyme required to convert it into nitric oxide.

Agmatine Sulfate. Agmatine is a metabolite of arginine which acts very differently to it. Mainly used in sports supplements to increase nitric oxide levels leading to improved muscle endurance and pumps, agmatine also has research supporting its ability to improve resistance to pain.

Alpha Lipoic Acid. Commonly shortened to ALA, Alpha Lipoic Acid can help lower blood glucose levels and acts as an antioxidant.

Arachidonic Acid. A type of fatty acid shown in research to boost muscle and strength gains notably. Arachidonic acid is considered one of the premier natural muscle building supplements. As well as building muscle and burning fat, arachidonic acid supplementation can enhance muscle pumps if taken preworkout.

Avena Sativa. Marketed as a testosterone booster, avena sativa is just the common oat. While it can have some useful health benefits the research in relation to boosting testosterone is decidedly mixed.



Berberine. Berberine, commonly found in Glucose Disposal Agents (GDAs) has been compared to the diabetes medication Metformin for its ability to lower blood sugar and control insulin. 

Betaine HCL. Commonly used as a digestive aid. Not to be mistaken with Trimethylglycine (sometimes confusingly referred to as betaine).


Beta Alanine. Helps buffer acid levels allowing for greater muscle endurance. Research shows beta-alanine can also reduce fatigue and increase cardiovascular performance.


Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). The collective name for three essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). Shown to boost muscle growth and recovery from exercise. Popularly supplemented during workouts by athletes.


Bioperine. (Black Pepper Extract) enhances the absorption of ingredients which are ingested with it




Caffeine anhydrous. Arguably caffeine is the ultimate pre-workout and nootropic as it increases mental and physical energy.


Calcium Caseinate. A form of milk protein which is very slow releasing but often linked to gastric disturbances, casein protein is usually preferred in the form of micellar casein by most individuals.


Carnitine. An anti-aging compound shown to help burn fat in those who are deficient in carnitine. The basic l-carnitine form is less popular than Acetyl-L-Carnitine (noted as being a nootropic) or L-Carnitine L-Tartrate which has been shown to boost performance and magnify the effects of the body’s own testosterone levels.


Citrulline. An amino acid which can increase nitric oxide levels markedly leading to greater vascularity, muscle pumps and better muscle endurance. Citrulline Malate has the addition of a Malic Acid.


Chromium. Chromium is an element that can boost metabolism, regulate blood glucose levels and reduce appetite. It is commonly put in fat-burners to help people to lose weight.


Chrysin. Chrysin is an ideal supplement to take if you are using supplements that increase testosterone. It prevents the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). A type of fatty acid which has been shown in research to improve body composition by favourably altering the ratio of lean mass to fat mass.


Creatine Monohydrate. Very popular supplement which helps improve strength and power by enabling your body to more efficiently recycle ATP levels. Arguably the most research proven compound in sports nutrition.

Creatine Nitrate. Creatine Nitrate combines creatine (see above) with nitrates which have their own positive impact on performance such as improving anaerobic and aerobic endurance as well as reducing fatigue and increasing power output. Creatine Nitrate combines the benefits of creatine and nitrate in one.


Creatinol-O-Phosphate. Although it has a similar name to creatine, creatinol-o-phosphate is an entirely different compound with different effects. It is seen to be both cardioprotective and performance enhancing. Creatinol-O-Phosphate when combined with creatine will have a greater effect than either taken alone.



DAA. D-Aspartic Acid is considered a testosterone boosting supplement however results in studies are mixed, showing most promise in infertile or elderly men - not young athletes who are likely at the high end of healthy range naturally. Any increase in testosterone has also been reported to be acute (not long lasting). 

Dandelion – Dandelion is a common product added into supplements as it makes a great diuretic (can help an individual to lose water weight).


Dextrose – A fast acting sugar seen in post-workout drinks.



Echinacea – Herbal extract which has a long history of use as a tonic to help boost the immune system.


Ecdysterone – A plant sterol extensively studied in the Soviet Union for remarkable effects on building muscle and strength.


Essential fatty acids – EFAs for short, are great for giving you boosts of energy. These are particularly useful for people who are on a low-fat diet as they can increase your energy throughout the day.



Fenugreek. The seeds of fenugreek have medicinal properties including antidiabetic agent, antibacterial, hepatoprotective (liver protective) and reducing cholesterol. This is due to the intrinsic dietary fibre content.


Fish Oils. Fish oils have long been used as they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Omega’s play an important role in brain function, growth and development and also inflammation. Fish oil supplements are effective for people who don’t consume fish.

Fructose is a natural sugar that is present in fruits, fruit juices and some vegetables.



Ginkgo Biloba – Gingko biloba is a herb that helps people to increase their concentration. Normally added into nootropics or pre-workouts, this can help you to focus your attention to your workout or your studies.


Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body and is the building blocks for growth, repair and the maintenance of joint cartilage. Supplements are derived from shells of shellfish or from vegetable sources.


Glutamine. Glutamine is the body’s most abundant amino acid and gets depleted quickly by training. Low levels are attributed to impede muscle gains. Glutamine is critical for immunity, recovery and also for gut health.


Glucoronolactone. An ingredient commonly added to energy drinks to increase alertness and mental energy.


Green Tea Extract. Green tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis family of plants. They are a rich source of polyphenols (namely EGCG: epigallocatechin gallate) and antioxidants. They help to reduce oxidative stress in the body to protect against free radical damage.



Hemp Protein. Hemp protein is made by grinding pressed hemp seeds into a powder. It is a high-quality vegan protein which contains all nine of the essential amino acids.


HMB. This is an abbreviation of Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate. HMB is an active metabolite of the BCAA Leucine which is key for muscle building and repair.



Iron is a mineral that’s main purpose is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout the body so that it can produce energy.



Karbolyn. Karbolyn is a fast absorbing carbohydrate that makes it a very easy glycogen loading fuel source; perfect for preworkout or intra workout carbohydrate energy.



Laxogenin. Laxogenin is a plant steroid gaining popularity as a natural muscle builder for its anabolic effects.Laxogenin seems to increase muscle protein synthesis while decreasing protein breakdown, all without being directly hormonal itself and therefore not requiring PCT or on-cycle support. 

Lipoic Acid. Lipoic Acid is an insulin like substance that when combined with creatine can increase strength gains in the gym.


L- Leucine. L-Leucine is an essential amino acid, and can be found in red meat or dairy. It is the most anabolic of the BCAAs and this is why levels in supplements are always higher.


L-Isoleucine. L-Isoleucine is one of the essential amino acids and classed into the BCAAs. L-Isoleucine is broken down for energy within the muscle tissue.


L-Valine. L-valine is a BCAA that has stimulant activity and can help to promote muscle growth and tissue repair.



Maca is a root herb that contains glucosinolates and polyphenols that contains essential vitamins and minerals. It can help to improve mood in anxious people, and improve learning and memory.


Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral used for proper muscle function and cell communication. It is important in many processes including nerve function, blood sugar levels, making protein and maintaining DNA which is why individuals with low magnesium intake are at risk of low health parameters.


Maltodextrin. A polysaccharide that is used as a food additive to stabilize, sweeten and thicken foods. It then acts as a carbohydrate source. It is made from corn, rice, potato starch or wheat.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). MCTs are triglycerides with two or three fatty acids. Typical MCTs are palm kernel oil and coconut oil. MCTs provide energy, but do not get absorbed or stored easily which may be why they are used in ketogenic diets and weight loss diets.


Micellar Casein is a type of protein used as “the bedtime protein”. This is because it provides the body with sustained release of amino acids and protein through the slow-releasing effects.  


Milk thistle – This is one of the most popular supplements on the market and is extremely useful for liver health. For individuals using AAs, prohormones or SARMS, milk thistle is an essential nutrient to take.



Niacin. Niacin is an essential B Vitamin (vitamin B3) that provides energy as it is a co-factor in energy metabolism. It is also an exceptional vasodilator, so it is often used in pump formulas, and that tingling feeling you feel in your face is attributed to niacin flush.


N-Acetyl-L-tyrosine. This is an advanced form of L-tyrosine as it is water soluble. It increases dopamine and adrenaline release for improved exercise tolerance and motivation.


Norvaline. Norvaline extends nitric oxide boosting effects by stunting the activity of the arginase enzyme (that converts N.O into urea).



Octopamine. Octopamine is an organic chemical that is related to norepinephrine, and therefore has been used in medicine as a drug to get the body into fight or flight mode


OKG. OKG is short for Ornithine Ketoglutarate. OKG is used as a supplement to improve wound healing.



Palatinose is a disaccharide carbohydrate made of glucose and fructose. It has a low glycemic index profile whilst still providing all the energy of carbohydrates.


Phosphatidic Acid. Phosphatidic Acid is a phospholipid which has been shown to increase lean body mass and strength in doses as little as 700mg/day. 


Potassium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that is crucial for balancing fluid levels and helps maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure.


Protein Supplements. Protein supplements are an easy way to get additional protein into the diet. This can help to supplement a training regime to build or maintain muscle mass, or it can increase protein intake in vegetarian and vegan diets. Protein supplements include protein powders, bars and baked goods, and RTD protein shakes.



Quantum is Hydrapharm’s ultimate protein powder. It is an all-in-one supplement that delivers high quality protein with added BCAAs, Creatine, Creatinol-O-Phosphate, HMB and Trimethylglycine. These potent ergogenics mean this supplement is capable for improving performance for anyone who takes it.



Resveratrol is part of the polyphenol compounds. It is commonly found in red skin grapes (and wine) and provides lots of antioxidants that protect the body against free radical damage.

Rhodiola. Rhodiola is a herb that is used to help combat physical and mental fatigue and markers of stress. This also makes it a great neuroprotectant.

Ribose is a type of sugar that is made by the body and improves athletic performance by boosting energy.



Saw Palmetto. Saw palmetto is a herb that is used as an anti-estrogenic.


Selenium. Selenium is responsible for the conversion of iodine to thryogloulin which is responsible for converting the inactive thyroid hormone into the active thyroid hormone (T4 to T3). Deficiencies in selenium can impair thyroid function, and likewise elevated levels can cause selenotoxicity.


Sesamin. Sesamin is a lignin in plants that gets converted by intestinal microbiota to a more useful lignin in humans that has protective effects against hormone related diseases. It can also inhibit vitamin E metabolism which increases circulating levels of certain tocopherols and thereby enhancing their effects.


Soy Protein – Soy protein is a commonly used protein powder for vegans and vegetarians. It is made from soy beans which have been pulsed and made into a powder.

Stevia. Stevia is a sweetener made from the Stevia plant that is used as a non-calorific sugar substitute.



Taurine. Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which the body can make on its own. Levels get depleted when the body is stressed. Taurine is useful to boost mental clarity and reduce stress as it passes through the blood-brain barrier.

Theacrine. Theacine is a clinically proven focus and energy enhancing ingredient that improves vitality and motivation. It is not a stimulant which is why it is stacked with other stimulant ingredients.


Tribulus contains saponins which are known to help boost the male libido.


Trimethylglycine. TMG is a derivative of the amino acid glycine. It helps the body to break down homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine can lead to neurological problems and cardiovascular disease. TMG is naturally made by the body. TMG can reduce cortisol and even increase oxygenation of muscles.


TUDCA. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is a bile salt that can be found naturally occurring in the body. Many studies have presented strong evidence for TUDCA reducing liver enzymes and increasing hepatocyte regeneration. It is thought that TUDCA mediates hepatoxicity by preventing cell death.



Vanadyl Sulfate. Vanadyl can make your muscles look and feel harder by increasing blood flow. In high doses it can be slightly toxic, however old supplements commonly used this in pump formulas.

Vitamin B

  • B1 – Thiamine is important in the regulation of carbohydrates (particularly starch and sugars) and also plays a role in keeping the nervous system healthy.
  • B2 – Riboflavin helps to regulate the health of the thyroid glands which makes it crucial for metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohdyrates.
  • B3 – Niacin provides energy as it is a co-factor in energy metabolism. It is also an exceptional vasodilator, so it is often used in pump formulas, and that tingling feeling you feel in your face is attributed to niacin flush.
  • B5 – Pantothenic Acid is essential in energy production in the body which can increase the potential amount of exercise that is done.
  • B6 – Pyridoxine is used for the conversion of niacin as well as being important in protein metabolism; an essential factor when recovering from exercise.
  • B7 – Biotin plays a crucial role in cell growth and nutrient metabolism. It is often added to hair, skin and nail products due to this.
  • B9 – Folic acid is critical in the creation of all cells in the body, particular importance before and during pregnancy.
  • B12 – Cyanocobalamin assists in fat metabolism and amino acid metabolism. It has also been shown to help protect nerve cells which makes it essential for optimal brain health.

Vitamin C. Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C, which means it must come from the diet. It is required for the biosynthesis of collagen and certain neurotransmitters, but is also an important antioxidant which is why it is added to cold and flu products to help with immunity.


Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for calcium metabolism and its efficiency along with being very important for immune system health and nerve functioning. Vitamin D is absorbed through sunlight


Vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of the bodies key antioxidants that helps to reduce/combat free radical damage which is essential for maintaining the health and structure of all cells.



Waxy Maize Starch. Waxy Maize starch is a carbohydrate that can be absorbed quicker by the body because of its high molecular weight and lower osmolarity. This makes WMS an ideal supplement to consume post workout for that quick influx of carbohydrates.

Whey Protein Concentrate. WPC is a byproduct of cheese production which is naturally lower in fats and carbohydrates but still retains the protein content. It is a common supplement for athletes to use due to how convenient it is and the numerous flavours that it can come in.


Whey Protein Isolate. Whey protein isolate goes through an extra filtration process which means that it usually has less fats, carbohydrates and lactose than whey protein concentrate. This makes it a preference for people with digestive problems. 



Zinc. Zinc is a critical trace element that is important in normal thyroid health and is crucial for hormone health, particularly in men by supporting normal testosterone levels.


Zingerone. Zingerone is present in the ginger plant when it is cooked or heated and so converts gingerol to zingerone. Zingerone has potent anti-inflammatory, antilipolytic and antidiabetic properties which is why ginger is often used in medicinal purposes.