6 Supplements Older Athletes Should Know About

6 Supplements Older Athletes Should Know About

As we age, what we eat becomes more and more important. Especially if we continue to train hard. Sports nutrition, staying well-nourished to fuel and recover from hard workouts is key to the process of staying in shape as we get older. We reached out to some of the top minds in fitness to get to the bottom of some of the most common supplements taking by older athletes and fitness aficionados. We reached out to 5 fitness experts to get their opinions on these popular supplements:

1. Whey Protein


Whey protein has been viewed as the gold standard in terms of protein supplements. It was popularized in the 1990’s. It is absorbed faster than other forms of protein. Claims have been made stating that whey can accelerate fat loss, however this is unproven and it is speculated that just increased consumption of protein actually aids in fat loss. Whey itself does not damage the liver or kidney, but there is evidence that it can exacerbate damage, if present. It is not recommended for those that have compromised liver or kidneys. For healthy individuals .6-1g/lb body weight is recommended. I am not a big fan of whey because it comes from milk. Milk proteins are an irritant to the intestinal tract and can exacerbate other concerns. There is the potential of allergic reactions, due to it being a milk product. In addition, the bitter taste of whey is usually masked with flavorings, which are usually artificial. – Dr. Scott Schreiber, Board Certified Rehabilitation Specialist

Whey Protein is one of my regular staple supplements. It can be taken any time of day to supplement your daily protein intake, but I recommend taking about 20 to 40 grams of whey protein isolate post workout in particular (along with carbs) as a very bio-available, easily absorbed, complete protein source. Some people may have a sensitivity to dairy and will find that whey protein causes bloating or indigestion, in which case they may prefer a plant-based protein powder with pea, hemp and other vegetable protein sources. Keep in mind you can get plenty of protein from regular food sources, but this is a convenient way to get a well-digested complete protein. Also consider that as we get older our ability to process protein (amino acids) typically lessens, so we may benefit from increasing our protein intake. – Josh Hewett, Certified Personal Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Coach

2. BCAAs


BCAAs help with the maintenance, repair, and recovery of lean muscle in the body especially during bouts of extensive cardio and strength training. Take BCAAs post workout as your body will utilize them better. I have used it during fasting periods in the past for lean muscle maintenance. Depending on the brand, taking BCAAs can result in bloating and excess consumption can be disastrous to liver and kidneys. – Kareem Rawlins, Personal Trainer/Group Trainer/CPR Instructor

Branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are used to promote muscle synthesis. Very few people actually need to take additional BCAA’s as they are found in milk and eggs. Leucine assists in muscle protein synthesis. Isoleucine helps bring glucose into the cells. At this time, it is unknown what role valine plays in muscle protein synthesis. They are useful for people that have low protein intake. – Dr. Scott Schreiber

3. Fish Oil


Fish oil contains omega three fatty acids, which are an important part of the cell membrane. There are high concentrations of omega three fatty acid in the brain and nerves. Many Americans are deficient as the Standard American Diet consists of high levels of Omega-six fatty acids. Fish oils are becoming more and more contaminated with mercury, due to industrialized nations polluting the oceans. In addition, harvesting fish oil from farm raised fish is of low quality. Omega three fatty acids are very important for brain and nerve health. They are also anti-inflammatory. I recommend a plant source, either flax seeds or chia seeds. There are also omega-3 supplements that are extracted from seaweed. – Dr. Scott Schreiber

Every cell in the body has receptor sites for Omega 3 which makes it a pivotal supplement for optimal cell membrane health. Fish oil reduces inflammation in gut and increases serotonin in the brain – the happy neurotransmitter. Fish oil also helps to burn fat as fuel. It is hard to eat enough Omega 3 from Fish and other fat sources to obtain optimal daily intake. Dosage is safe around 1 gram for every 3% body fat = For example if you are 20% body fat you can take 6.6 grams per day. With food – take small amounts of fish oil frequently. If you are on a blood thinner you will need to advise your doctor. – Becky Franklin and Dan Jackson, Personal Trainers/Owners of Junction

Fish oil is a terrific supplement to ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acids (especially omega 3 fats) in your daily diet. Fish oil has a number of health benefits, including heart health, reducing inflammation, and supporting brain function. I consider EFA’s to be one of the “anti-aging” foods to consider as we get older. If you don’t get enough healthy fats in your diet from other sources (such as eating fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, etc) consider taking a high-quality, high-potency fish oil daily.”  – Josh Hewett

4. Creatine


Popularized in the 1980’s and 90’s, creatine releases energy in the form of phosphate groups to aid in cellular function.  This, in turn, causes strength increase after weight training.  Creatine supplementation has been shown to protect both the heart and nerves.  It is found in animal products, like meat and eggs.  Creatine supplementation can cause hyperhydration, which has been shown to increase muscle size.  Creatine must be taken with significant amounts of water and can lead to stomach cramping and diarrhea if not taken with enough water.  Recently, a small study creatine supplementation was helpful with depression. Creatine should be taken .3g/kg of body weight for 5-7days during the loading phase and 2.5 g days afterwards. – Dr. Scott Schreiber

5. Multivitamins


Multivitamins are a great adjunct to a healthy diet.  They do not replace a healthy diet, but can assist in supplying necessary vitamins and minerals that are needed when building muscle.  Many multivitamins are of poor quality and care must be taken to find a high quality vitamin.  Food does not contain the same nutrition as it did in the past.  This is due to over-farming, pollution, and chemicals present in our soil.  I recommend taking a multivitamin 2-3 times per day to account for any deficiencies. Vitamins need to be the active form and highly absorbable.  Minerals need to be chelated. – Dr. Scott Schreiber

Multivitamins serve as a source of minerals and nutrients vital to every day living. If you are eating well and consuming fruits, vegetables, fiber, water, as well as proteins and fats, it’s not necessary to supplement with a multivitamin. The best way to get your nutrients is through food. Go according to the recommended dosage on the bottle; some athletes/bodybuilders take more than one serving per day. There are no side effects that I have heard of; generally as mentioned before, anything consumed in excess is not necessary. – Kareem Rawlins

Multivitamins will fill in the “gaps” left out by other supplements. B-vitamins can be substituted. They are controversial based on whether it’s worth it to take them. Just ensure you have high quality. – Alicia Bell, Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer



  1. I am a 71 yr old active pickleball tournament player. I’ve had nagging groin, shoulders, IT band, issues. As a vegetarian (close to vegan) I’m wondering if my protein intake could be a cause…or at least aid in recovery. Could protein shakes or powers provide benefit??? Thanks!! Howard

    1. Thanks for reaching out! Protein does in fact help prevent inflammation and speeds recovery so protein intake is important. Vegan protein likely would not be as effective as meat due to its lesser nutritional content, but it would definitely be a benefit if you’re at a protein deficit. Other great sources of vegan protein include tofu, lentils and chickpeas.

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