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Top 12 Supplements for Cycling (Based on Science)

Top 12 Supplements for Cycling (Based on Science)

Cycling is a very popular sport because health awareness and environmental issues are getting more attention. For all people who want to enhance their cycling performance, supplements make the difference and help cyclists cover longer distances, speed up, and recover faster. But there are so many supplements to choose from that it often takes consumers time to catch up. In this blog, we present the scientifically proven to be safe and effective to enhance the performance of cyclists on the bike.

Top 12 Supplements for Cycling (Based on Science)

12 Best Supplements for Cycling

For Increasing Performance

Research has shown that caffeine, sodium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, beta-alanine, and beetroot are the best performance-enhancing supplements to improve cycling performance. These best supplements for cycling could offer performing cyclists a notable boost in the right forms and dosages.

  1. Caffeine
  2. BCAA
  3. Sodium Phosphate
  4. Sodium Bicarbonate
  5. Beta-Alanine
  6. Nitrates (Beetroot)
  7. Creatine

1. Caffeine

Caffeine supplements for cycling performance target the central nervous system to limit fatigue and promote feelings of alertness. Studies by Guest et al. (2021) suggest that 3-6 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body mass is beneficial for cycling performance. A 76KG rider would be 228mg - 456mg

Within this dosage, caffeine supplements for cycling performance during endurance events can be beneficial, particularly during intense above-threshold cycling efforts. Note that more than this optimal dosage provides no further performance benefit and may result in undesirable side effects including jitters, anxiety and insomnia.



For many cyclists, BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) supplements for cycling are a must-have, but are they truly worth it? Leucine in particular from BCAAs promotes the synthesis of muscle proteins and may stop muscles from breaking down during exercise (Matsumoto et al. 2018). The study's findings indicate that while BCAA supplements for cyclists improve time trial performance in inexperienced riders, most proficient athletes who get enough protein from their diets probably won't see much of a performance improvement. The optimal dosages are yet to be established, but existing studies (Blomstrand et al. 2011) suggest a daily BCAA intake of at least 200mg per kilogram of body weight.

3. Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate supplements cycling can increase phosphate levels in the body which may enhance the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary molecular energy supply of cells. This can augment buffering capacity and skeletal muscle energy metabolism during high-intensity exercise. Sodium phosphate supplementation has been suggested to improve performance during cycling; in a time-trial performance study, supplementation resulted in a 5–10% improvement in time-trial performance, reports a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

Sodium Phosphate

The standard dose, split into smaller doses and administered for three to six days before an event, is around 50 mg/kg of body weight/day, suggesting a new study by Dr. Louise Burke. If not taken correctly, side effects could include gastric disturbances and electrolyte disturbances, but these are generally mild and may be prevented with correct dosing and adequate water.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate

Supplements with sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, are frequent ergogenic aids cyclists use to prevent fatigue during strenuous exercise. Science teaches us that they offset the acidosis (protons) generated by the working muscles, delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. 300 mg/kg of body weight ingested 60 minutes before exercise showed a significant improvement in peak cycling power, as studied by Patterson et al. (2019). Approximately 22.5 grams for a 75 kg cyclist.

For longer endurance rides, benefits may be minimal and limited to one to two minutes of high-intensity effort. Bloating and gastric discomfort are some side effects that may occur, especially with higher doses.

5. Beta-Alanine

Supplementing with beta-alanine is a common ergogenic tool used by cyclists who want to increase their performance during high-intensity workouts. They raise the amounts of carnosine in the muscles, a chemical that lessens the acidity brought on by exercise. Performance can be enhanced and the start of muscular fatigue can be postponed by this buffering action. Research such as that conducted by Saunders et al. (2017) indicates that 3-5% more peak power output can be achieved in cycling races lasting one to ten minutes when beta-alanine supplements for cycling is taken.

Cyclists must take a daily dose of 3.2–6.4 grams for several weeks during a loading phase, and then 1.6–3.2 grams for maintenance in order to reap these benefits [Saunders et al., 2017]. It is notable that beta-alanine, especially in the loading period, may elicit a mild tingling sensation on the skin.

6. Nitrates (Beetroot)

Cycling enthusiasts use nitrate supplements, typically made from beetroot juice, since they may improve performance. The synthesis of nitric oxide is important to their scientific basis. Nitric oxide, a vasodilator that opens blood arteries, is produced when nitrates are consumed. This may increase the effectiveness of exercise by improving oxygen and blood flow to the working muscles. According to a study by Bailey et al. (2015), cyclists who consumed beetroot juice concentrate—which has about 400 mg of nitrate—performed 2.8% better in time trials over a 4-kilometer course.

Higher dosages are required for trained athletes, with 400–800 mg of nitrate per day appearing to be the ideal range [Cermak et al., 2012]. However, the advantages of these supplements for cycling might be greatest during high-intensity workouts up to 10 km in length, with less of an impact during longer endurance rides.

7. Creatine

There are some cyclists who take creatine supplements to enhance cycling performance. Creatine is an intramuscular substance in muscle cells that assist in generating energy during exercise. Taking supplements to increase the levels of creatine in the body. Scientific evidence proves that supplementing with creatine replenishes ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the chief fuel source for high-intensity exercise performance.

Volek et al. (2004) have proved that cycling performance, such as sprint capacity and maximal peak power output, improves when taking creatine supplements for cyclin. Casey et al. (2017) stated that the best results achieved when cyclists undertake a daily loading phase, of 5 grams per week, followed by the correct maintenance dose of 3-5 grams per day.

For Cycling Recovery

After a tough ride, your body craves the nutrients to rebuild and recover. Let us explore some key post-cycling recovery supplements that can aid this process:

  1. Turmeric (Curcumin)
  2. Omega-3s
  3. Glutamine
  4. Protein Powder
  5. Collagen

8. Turmeric (Curcumin)

Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can be beneficial for cycling recovery. This supplement works by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, which helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Studies suggest a daily intake of 150-1,500 mg of turmeric supplements for cycling can significantly improve post-cycling recovery and reduce muscle soreness. Specifically, research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicates that curcumin ingestion before exercise can attenuate acute inflammation.

At the same time, post-exercise intake helps reduce muscle damage and facilitates faster recovery. The optimal dose, as recommended by Dr. David Nieman, is around 500 mg of curcumin taken twice daily, particularly when combined with piperine from black pepper, which enhances curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%.

9. Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in fish oil supplements have anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit athletic performance and recovery. A study by Mickleborough (2015) found that omega-3 supplementation of 3g/day for six weeks improved exercise performance and reduced muscle soreness in trained cyclists.

Another review by Ochi and Tsuchiya (2018) concluded that omega-3 doses of 2-5g/day may reduce exercise-induced inflammation and muscle damage. The optimal dose is around 3-4g EPA+DHA per day, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic (Gotter, 2022). While generally safe, potential downsides of high omega-3 doses include fishy burps, loose stools, and increased bleeding risk (Gotter, 2022).


If you need a high-quality omega-3 supplement for cycling, then STAAR LABS OMEGA-3 Fish Oil is your secret weapon for recovery. This meticulously crafted formula packs a powerful 1000mg of fish oil, featuring a balanced 400mg EPA and 300mg DHA ratio. This potent supplements for cycling fuels your recovery, reduces inflammation, and gets you back on the saddle feeling fresher and ready to dominate your next ride.

10. Glutamine

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that plays important roles in protein synthesis, immune function, and intestinal health. Glutamine levels can deplete during intense exercise, potentially impairing recovery and performance. A 2020 review by Lenders et al. found that glutamine supplementation (0.3-0.6g/kg/day) can reduce muscle damage and accelerate recovery in endurance athletes like cyclists. The authors recommend 0.3g/kg immediately after training and 0.2g/kg daily on non-training days.

Another study by Legault et al. (2011) reported that 0.9g/kg of glutamine taken immediately after a cycling time trial improved subsequent 4km and 20km time trial performance versus placebo. Potential downsides of high glutamine supplements for cycling intake include digestive distress, though doses below 0.6g/kg are generally well-tolerated.

11. Protein Powder

Regarding cycling recovery, protein supplements for cycling are highly beneficial, as research shows they can boost glycogen resynthesis and enhance muscle repair (Moore et al., 2014). A study by Lunn et al. (2012) found that cyclists who consumed 20g of whey protein immediately after an intense ride had 33% greater glycogen resynthesis rates than a placebo over the 4 hours post-exercise.

Experts recommend consuming 20-40g of a high-quality, complete protein like whey, milk, or soy within 2 hours after cycling to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis and recovery (Phillips & Van Loon, 2011). The optimal dose appears to be 0.25-0.3g protein/kg body mass (Thomas et al., 2016).

12. Collagen

The role of collagen supplements in cycling performance remains to be determined. Collagen is a protein crucial for connective tissues like cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Supplements aim to increase collagen synthesis, potentially aiding recovery and injury prevention. Studies like the one by Lopez et al. (2018) found no significant improvement in knee pain for cyclists taking collagen peptides compared to a placebo.


However, other studies on athletes in general have shown promise. Optimal dosages are also under investigation, but some research suggests that a 5-10 grams daily intake might be beneficial [Lukaszczyk et al., 2020].

Boosting Cyclists' Performance with STAAR LABS Supplements

The key to getting the most out of supplements for cycling is to select premium items from reliable manufacturers. At STAAR LABS, we identify the importance of maximizing performance and recovery as well as the dietary needs of cyclists.

Boosting Cyclists' Performance with STAAR LABS Supplements

For this reason, we have created a range of high-quality cycling supplements designed to give riders an advantage over their competitors. Our innovative recipes employ only the best, independently tested components and are supported by the most recent scientific research. To find out more about STAAR LABS' cycling supplements and how they can help you advance your training, visit our website.


1. Should cyclists take nutritional supplements?

Certain nutritional supplements can fuel your body with essential nutrients to reach peak performance. Along with a balanced diet, cyclists can gain strength, endurance, and determination when choosing the right nutritional supplements.

2. What should cyclists consider before taking supplements?

If you are considering using supplements for cycling, there are a few things to consider:

  • Are you maintaining a proper diet based on the intensity of your athletic activities?
  • Are you getting the proper hydration and nutrients from your food?
  • Have you engaged in enough physical activity to truly improve your performance?

3. What should cyclists consider when choosing supplements for long-distance cycling?

When picking supplements for cycling, it is essential to consider the practical aspects of that specific one.

  • Consider how well it travels and lasts in a jersey pocket.
  • Choose a supplement or food that is easy to open and eat while cycling.
  • Have you tested the nutrition you plan to use before your ride?
  • Think about the space the nutrition will occupy in your pocket or bike storage.
  • Consider if you need extra nutrition storage or a bottle holder on your bike.
  • Check if supplements for cycling or food are available at aid stations during the event.
  • If you lose nutrition, like dropping a bottle during training, think about nearby shops or cafes along your route.
  • Have you considered your hydration and electrolyte needs?

Guest, N.S., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Nelson, M.T. et al (2022). Access date: 2024-05-20.

Blomstrand, E., Esselius, I., & Karlsson, H. K. (2011). Access date: 2024-05-20.

Patterson, S. D., Dyck, D. J., Justiz, V. W., Mahannah, K. S., & Beckwith, R. (2019). Access date: 2024-05-20.

Saunders, B., Hobson, A., Harris, C., & Sunderland, C. (2017). Access date: 2024-05-20.

Bailey, S. J., Fulford, J., Vanhatalo, A., Winyard, P. G., Jones, A. M., & Van Guelpen, C. (2015). Access date: 2024-05-20.

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