Basketball, the best supplements

Basketball, the best supplements

Basketball is quite intense and anyone who has played this sport knows that. Playing basketball is exhausting, either with friends or at a competition against an official team. But, why does this happen? Do we know what sport supplements should we use to delay the fatigue as much as possible?

Athlete drinking water

What are the needs of a basketball player?

Laltzel et al. (2018) analyzed the energy profile of professional junior players during a match simulation. Above all, they wanted to find out where did the players get the energy from. For what purpose?

Because if you know where does your body get energy from when you do a specific activity, you will know what is the best type of supplementation. Then, what would be the objective? To achieve the best performance!

The researchers found out that most of the energy came from the phosphagen metabolism. This system is capable of obtaining a lot of energy very quickly that will not last more than 10″ approximately.

In addition, the aerobic metabolism would provide a 29% of the energy as well. This is the energy system that our body uses when we are walking or sitting.

The metabolism of anaerobic or extra-mitochondrial glycolysis would provide around a 5% of the energy too.

What does this mean?

It means that basketball is a sport that demands energy very quickly. After that, we have periods of rest in order to resynthesize it (recovery).

You probably know this already at this point: basketball is an intermittent and high intensity sport.

Apart from where do we get the energy from, there are other factors when it comes to planning the nutrition and supplementation: Do you want to know more?

Then, keep reading because I am going to tell you more about the basic supplementation to improve your basketball performance 😉

Supplements for Basketball

Best Supplements for Basketball

The objective is to make the most of your performance on the parquet or on the concrete. Grab some pen and paper and visit our online store to purchase the best products for basketball.

1. Creatine Monohydrate

Without any doubt, creatine is a very useful supplement for basketball players.

Not only because it is the most studied supplement. In fact, the International Society of Sports Nutrition claims that “it is the most effective food supplement that is currently available for athletes. Particularly in terms of being able to improve the ability to maintain a high intensity during the workout. Moreover, it increases the body mass during periods of training” (Kerksick et al., 2018).

Creatine, more specifically its phosphorylated version available in the muscle tissue, is the source of energy we use to obtain a lot of energy quickly. Therefore, it allows us to do movements with a high neuromuscular demand: jumps, throws, strong passes or sprints.

It seems to be important for the sport performance, right?

In fact, it truly is. Our body has a limited capacity to produce energy from this system. Despite producing a lot of energy (4 times more than the aerobic system and 1.6 times more than the anaerobic system) its intensity does not last long.

Types of muscle energy

Figure I. Graphic representation of the 3 muscle energy systems, duration, produced ATP and sport performance.

When we finish an attack or a defense and we manage to walk for a few seconds, our body takes that time to phosphorylate creatine molecules. Then, we will be able to use them as energy. The “breaks” between movements will be useful to “recharge” some energy for the next effort.

ATP metabolism

Figure II. Graphic representation of the ATP metabolism and breakdown during exercise and breaks depending on the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of muscle creatine. (McGraw-Hill, s.f.).


In order to recharge the energy deposits we need creatine. To illustrate this point, imagine that you have the bricks, machinery and workers, but there is no place to build a house. All the things we have become useless.


Figure III. Diagram that shows the benefit of taking a placebo (at the left of the 0) or creatine (at the right of the 0), for the performance in repeated sprints and Wingate test. (Mielgo-Ayuso et al., 2019).

Mielgo-Ayuso et al. (2019) reviewed all the scientific literature available until that point. In the end, they concluded that creatine is an effective supplement to increase the anaerobic performance.

From HSN, we suggest basketball players to take Micronized Creatine Monohydrate by RawSeries. But, why this specific product and this type of creatine and not a different one? Because this supplement has been exclusively designed to improve the recovery between successive bursts of short term high intensity exercise. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is what basketball is all about.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is a methylxanthine, an alkaloid that is naturally present in coffee, tea, cocoa or yerba mate.

Almost everyone uses it to improve the sport performance, since its neurostimulating effect results in a better physical performance.

Do you want to learn more about its main advantages according to several studies?

In addition, caffeine can prolong high intensity physical exercise (Jackman et al., 1994).

Exercise time graphic

Figure IV. Column diagram that sows the time increase until exhaustion of each subject compared to the placebo. The bars that go up show the benefit of caffeine, while the ones that go down show negative results. “Mean” is the average (Jackman et al., 1994).

Moreover, it can increase the blood lactate levels. This marker is an indicator of our ability to tolerate more high intensity physical exercise before reaching a level of neuromuscular fatigue that does not allow us to continue (Cruz et al., 2015).

Blood lactate concentrations

Figure V. Blood lactate concentrations of the group that took caffeine (full squares) and the one that took a placebo (empty squares). (Cruz et al. 2015)

In fact, it can increase the oxygen consumption and reduce the CO2, improving the respiratory exchange ratio (RER). A sign that we are more efficient when it comes to using the air we breathe while we do exercise (Cruz et al., 2017).

Oxygen consumption

Figure VI. Oxygen consumption (top left), CO2 consumption (top right), Respiratory exchange ratio (bottom left). There is the group that took caffeine (full squares) and the one that took a placebo (empty squares). (Cruz et al. 2015)

Scientific Literature Review

Finally, a review of all the scientific literature (yup, that is right), concluded that: caffeine can effectively improve the sport performance, muscle strength and resistance, anaerobic performance, the height of vertical jump and short term high intensity exercise. This is all you need to improve if you are a basketball player (Grgic et al., 2018).

Placebo vs Caffeine

Figure VII. Diagram that shows the benefit of the placebo (at the left of the 0) or caffeine (at the right of the 0) for the aerobic resistance, muscle strength and resistance, anaerobic performance, height of the vertical jump, the speed of the exercise and performance during short term high intensity efforts (Grgic et al., 2018).

We have the best product for you and your team: Natural Caffeine by EssentialSeries. Each capsule provides 200mg of natural anhydrous caffeine, which will provide a plus of energy during your workouts and match, sharpening your focus. Moreover, you can also go for the Natural Caffeine Powder by RawSeries.

3. Joint protection

Let’s be clear, we all know that doing exercise increases the joint metabolism, the cartilage synthesis but specially its breakdown.

Basketball is not an exception. In fact, it one of the most harmful sports. Between a 0.07 and a 0.1% those who play basketball end up in injury. Most of them affect the lower body parts due to overuse and associated with joint instability (Taylor et al., 2015).

Basketball injuries

Figure VIII. Graphic that shows the most common injury diagnoses of basketball players according to exposure. For example, ligament sprain, concussion, muscle or tendon strain and others (Borowski et al., 2008).

Above all, the most important thing to prevent them is to have a healthy joints.

Joint Care is a product by EssentialSeries that has been specially designed to protect the joint cartilage health. Moreover, it prevents its breakdown and stimulates the collagen synthesis.

How? Thanks to a combination of anti-inflammatories (MSM, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic acid…) and elements that stimulate the collagen synthesis (marine collagen, vitamin C, glucosamine sulfate…). Without any doubt, it is the most complete product by HSN for this objective.

Glucosamine is particularly useful to prevent the joint damage that basketball players undergo due to overuse. In fact, it lowers the CTX-II, a marker that indicates the damage to the joint tissue (Nagaoka, 2009).

CTX ratio

Figure IX. Changes in the joint cartilage breakdown CTX-II marker after taking 1.5g/day (triangle) and 3g/day (square). The treatment lasted for 3 months and was discontinued for 3 more months (Nagaoka et al., 2009).

Joint Care is a useful supplement to strengthen the collagen density in the joints of athletes.

3. Whey Protein

One of the most interesting things after assessing the profile of basketball players is that they play at higher ranks if they have more body mass. Consequently, their performance is also much better (Ferioli et al., 2018).

But let’s not be mistaken here. Unlike what many people think, a pivot is no longer a statue under the basket. In fact, any pivot can play at any other position with absolute dexterity.

Basketball divisions body mass

Figure X. Anthropometric profile of basketball players from first, second, third and fourth division. (Ferioli et al., 2018).

They weigh more but not in terms of fat. On the contrary, it means that they have more muscle mass. This is not surprise either, because the muscle mass is necessary to maintain the physical performance. In general, this factor is related almost perfectly to the muscle strength. In turn, the muscle strength is the base to develop the remaining physical capacities.

Effect of comorbidities

Figure XI. Connection between muscle mass (Aasm) and muscle strength (IQS). The effect of comorbidities (A. Obesity, B. Arthritis, C. Asthma, D. Osteoporosis). The red line is for women and the blue line for men (Chen et al., 2013).

Contrary to popular belief, physical exercise reduces our muscle mass. In fact, it triggers the catabolism, breaking down the muscle protein to enhance its synthesis. Therefore, it increases the amount of amino acids that we eliminate from the muscle tissue.

Protein turnover

Figure XII. Protein turnover after the workout; 3 hours after the workout; 24 hours after the workout; and 48 hours after the workout (Ato & Fujita, 2017).

Then, why is people who do physical exercise stronger than those who don’t?

Because we know that physical exercise stimulates the muscle metabolism. So, if we take advantage of this “catabolic effect” to provide enough protein, our body will increase the protein content from the muscle tissue, making it grow.

Protein intake

Figure XIII. Response to the protein synthesis (Y axis) depending on the amount of post-workout protein intake (X axis) (Moore, 2019).

0.31g of protein per kg of body weight after the workout should be enough to stimulate the muscle protein synthesis to the fullest. At least as long as it has a good quality.

Now, this is when the Evowhey 2.0 by SportSeries comes into play. In fact, it is one of the best sources of whey protein available in the market currently.

Above all, it is the perfect product to stimulate the anabolism after the workout. In fact, it is the source with the highest bioavailable value in the market (Hoffman & Falvo, 2004).

Moreover, there are other choices from whey protein such as: Evolate 2.0 by SportSeries (blue rectangle) or our Milk Protein Concentrate 85% 2.0 by RawSeries (green rectangle).

Amino Acid Digestibility Score

Figure XIV. Amino acid digestibility score from different animal and vegetable protein sources (Wolfe, 2015).

How should you use the supplements for Basketball?

Did you find this article useful? What are you waiting to try it out? Oh, I forgot to tell you how! Grab a pen and paper or make a screenshot with your phone of my advice for all these supplements 😉

Recommended use of the basic supplement pack for basketball players:

  • Micronized Creatine Monohydrate: 0.1g/kg of body weight at any time of the day. Although Forbes & Candow (2018) give us a tip: it may be slightly better to take it after the workout.
  • Natural Caffeine: 3-6mg/kg of body weight, 48’ before the workout (between 30-90 minutes before, depending on your CYP1A2 genotype, which determines your metabolization rate).
  • Joint Care: if you are a big player and you do exercise at a high intensity, 3 servings a day would be an ideal dose. Leave at least 6-8 hours between servings. For example, you can take them with each one of the important meals of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • Evowhey 2.0 / Evolate 2.0: Between 0.32g-0.55g/kg of body weight (20-40g of Evowhey 2.0) usually after the workout.


Studies 1-8

  • 1. Ato, S., & Fujita, S. (2017). Regulation of muscle protein metabolism by nutrition and exercise. The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, 6, 119–124.
  • 2. Borowski, L. A., Yard, E. E., Fields, S. K., & Comstock, R. D. (2008). The epidemiology of US high school basketball injuries, 2005-2007. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 36(12), 2328–2335.
  • 3. Chen, L., Nelson, D. R., Zhao, Y., Cui, Z., & Johnston, J. A. (2013). Relationship between muscle mass and muscle strength, and the impact of comorbidities: a population-based, cross-sectional study of older adults in the United States. BMC Geriatrics, 13, 74.
  • 4. Cruz, R. S. de O., de Aguiar, R. A., Turnes, T., Guglielmo, L. G. A., Beneke, R., & Caputo, F. (2015). Caffeine Affects Time to Exhaustion and Substrate Oxidation during Cycling at Maximal Lactate Steady State. Nutrients, 7(7), 5254–5264.
  • 5. Ferioli, D., Rampinini, E., Bosio, A., La Torre, A., Azzolini, M., & Coutts, A. J. (2018). The physical profile of adult male basketball players: Differences between competitive levels and playing positions. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(22), 2567–2574.
  • 6. Forbes, S., & Candow, D. (2018). Timing of Creatine Supplementation and Resistance Training: A Brief Review. 1.
  • 7. Grgic, J., Grgic, I., Pickering, C., Schoenfeld, B. J., Bishop, D. J., & Pedisic, Z. (2019). Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance? an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses. British Journal of Sports Medicine.
  • 8. Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein – Which is Best? Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 3(3), 118–130.

Studies 9-15

  • 9. Jackman, M., Wendling, P., Friars, D., & Graham, T. (1994). Caffeine Ingestion and High Intensity Intermittent Exercise. Clinical Science, 87, 64.1-64.
  • 10. Kerksick, C. M., Wilborn, C. D., Roberts, M. D., Smith-Ryan, A., Kleiner, S. M., Jäger, R., … Kreider, R. B. (2018). ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 38.
  • 11. Latzel, R., Hoos, O., Stier, S., Kaufmann, S., Fresz, V., Reim, D., & Beneke, R. (2018). Energetic Profile of the Basketball Exercise Simulation Test in Junior Elite Players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 13(6), 810–815.
  • 12. Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Calleja-Gonzalez, J., Marques-Jimenez, D., Caballero-Garcia, A., Cordova, A., & Fernandez-Lazaro, D. (2019). Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Athletic Performance in Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 11(4).
  • 13. Moore, D. R. (2019). Maximizing Post-exercise Anabolism: The Case for Relative Protein Intakes. Frontiers in Nutrition, 6, 147.
  • 14. Wolfe, R. R. (2015). Update on protein intake: importance of milk proteins for health status of the elderly. Nutrition Reviews, 73 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 41–47.
  • 15. Yoshimura, M., Sakamoto, K., Tsuruta, A., Yamamoto, T., Ishida, K., Yamaguchi, H., & Nagaoka, I. (2009). Evaluation of the effect of glucosamine administration on biomarkers for cartilage and bone metabolism in soccer players. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 24(4), 487–494.
The Best Supplements for Basketball Review

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About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
He is a specialist in metabolic physiopathology training and in the biomolecular effects of food and physical exercise.
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