By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Coffee & Health
Sports performance

N Vicente-Salar, 2022. Nutritional Ergogenic Aids in Combat Sports: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Volume 14 (13).

Nutritional Ergogenic Aids in Combat Sports: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

N Vicente-Salar, 2022
Volume 14 (13)
June 29, 2022


Nutritional ergogenic aids (NEAs) are substances included within the group of sports supplements. Although they are widely consumed by athletes, evidence-based analysis is required to support training outcomes or competitive performance in specific disciplines. Combat sports have a predominant use of anaerobic metabolism as a source of energy, reaching peak exertion or sustained effort for very short periods of time. In this context, the use of certain NEAs could help athletes to improve their performance in those specific combat skills (i.e., the number of attacks, throws and hits; jump height; and grip strength, among others) as well as in general physical aspects (time to exhaustion [TTE], power, fatigue perception, heart rate, use of anaerobic metabolism, etc.). Medline/PubMed, Scopus and EBSCO were searched from their inception to May 2022 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Out of 677 articles found, 55 met the predefined inclusion criteria. Among all the studied NEAs, caffeine (5–10 mg/kg) showed strong evidence for its use in combat sports to enhance the use of glycolytic pathways for energy production during high-intensity actions due to a greater production of and tolerance to blood lactate levels. In this regard, abilities including the number of attacks, reaction time, handgrip strength, power and TTE, among others, were improved. Buffering supplements such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate and beta-alanine may have a promising role in high and intermittent exertion during combat, but more studies are needed in grappling combat sports to confirm their efficacy during sustained isometric exertion. Other NEAs, including creatine, beetroot juice or glycerol, need further investigation to strengthen the evidence for performance enhancement in combat sports. Caffeine is the only NEA that has shown strong evidence for performance enhancement in combat sports.

More research

All research