NUTR/PE 446 - Sports Nutrition and Weight Control

David L. Gee, PhD


Nutritional Ergogenic Aid Assignment

Nutritional ergogenic aids are substances derived from foods which are thought to increase potential for work output and therefore improve sports performance.  Examples of nutritional ergogenic aids include substances like carnitine, creatine, branched chain amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and specific herbs.  They are obtained directly from foods or as dietary supplements.  They do not include pharmacological agents that fall under drug laws (eg anabolic steroids, human growth hormone), physiological aids (eg blood doping, psychological aids (eg hypnosis), or mechanical aids (eg aerodynamic equipment). Ergogenic aids should be selected from the Ergogenic Aid Topic List on the top button bar.  Only one group will write a paper on a given topic each quarter.

Summary Paper (50 points)

You will sign up to study and present a research paper on a specific ergogenic aid in a group of 4 students. Your group must sign up for an ergogenic aid by Friday, April 6.  Your group's assignment is to write a concise summary and critical evaluation paper on a specific nutritional ergogenic aid.  Your paper should be 6 pages or less double spaced text (1 inch margins, 12 point font, not including reference list).   It is difficult to write a thorough paper on this topic in much less than 6 pages.  Your paper is required to include the following headings:

 1. Introduction
   Description of the ergogenic substance, where/what it is derived from, what claims are being made for this substance, how much does it cost to use this supplement on a monthly basis

 2. Theoretical Basis
   Describe the theoretical basis or mechanism of this ergogenic substance.

 3. Scientific Evidence
   Describe what scientific evidence exist supporting or not supporting the use of this ergogenic aid by summarizing the findings of four original/primary research papers published in professional peer-reviewed scientific journals.  An original/primary research paper describes a research study actually carried out by the investigators and NOT information describing other researcher's experiment.  Your summary should include a brief description of the methods (number and type of subjects, dosage and timing of supplement use, type of tests performed), results, and end with a summary sentence describing whether this article supports or refutes the claim of that supplement being an ergogenic aid.   Articles written for the lay public are not acceptable for this section of the paper.  To verify that you have read the actual article (and not just the abstract),  copies of the first page of the primary research articles must be attached to the cover page of your paper and turned in.

 4. Recommendations
   Based on your findings, and in particular the scientific evidence, what is your recommendation regarding the use of this nutritional ergogenic aid?  Include recommendations made by others who have also reviewed the effectiveness of your ergogenic aid (for example, the author of your textbook or review articles you have found).  Is it recommended for specific types of athletic events, at what dosage, and are there any health or legal concerns?

Your reference list and reference style will follow the style used in your textbook .  Point deductions will be made if this style is not adhered to.

Citations of Internet Web Pages should include title of the web page, source or author of the web page, date observed, and the internet address.  For example:

The Fight Against Flab.  Center for Science in the Public Interest.  March 1998. http://www/

Citations of web pages should be limited to commercial sites for which you are getting information about ergogenic claims and costs of supplements.  Although you might be reading peer-reviewed journals on-line, your citation should be of the printed version.

Papers must be typed.  University level writing is expected.  One point deduction will be made for each spelling error or obvious grammatical error for a maximum deduction of 10 points.  With potentially three people proof reading the paper, there is no excuse for sloppy writing.  Plagarism from web pages or other sources are not tolerated and will result in severe point deductions.  Avoid unnecessary quotations unless the exact wording of the author is critical.

Turn in your paper as an attached WORD (or .rtf) file mailed to  All papers will be screened for plagiarism using services provided by

Ergogenic Aid Project Effort (evaluation by team members)
One of the (unfortunate) problems sometimes encountered by students working on team projects is the failure of some team members to put in the effort expected by the team.  Welcome to the real world.  Ten points will be given based on each team members effort based on their evaluation by their team.  Prior to the due date (Monday, April 17), a preliminary (non-counting) score will be collected and reported.  This will serve as a mid-project assessment/warning and give students the opportunity to improve their effort prior to the completion of the project.

For some advice on effective teamwork, see link on top button bar on the course homepage.

Ergogenic Aid Evaluation Form