The 6 Best Supplements for Rugby Players

Make sure you take a read of all of our Nutrition articles so you can gather as much information. as possible on how to optimise your food intake. We are big advocates of taking a food first approach but that does not mean that supplements don’t have a place in the rugby players diet.

The use of nutritional supplements is a daily occurrence in professional rugby. Due to the high physical demands of the sport, there are numerous nutritional supplements that can be used to support recovery, immunity and performance.

But which are the most used and most effective supplements for rugby players?

Here we present a few of the most effective nutritional supplements for rugby players…

Whey Protein

Protein is essential for rugby players in order to promote recovery, muscle growth and repair and there is no other protein source that can compare with whey protein powder in terms quality, cost and convenience. Aim for 1.5-2 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight daily.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate increases the explosive energy stores in our muscles, increasing strength and power, both of which are essential attributes for rugby players. No performance supplement has been researched as heavily as creatine monohydrate and studies have shown that rugby players would benefit from supplementing with five grams of creatine daily. You can read more about Creatine in our in-depth article.

Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine is another very well researched supplement. Products such as beta-alanine and sodium citrate are supplements used to buffer the falling pH, that is experienced during high intensity exercise and rugby matches. Beta Alanine works well with creatine and gives you the ability perform at a higher intensity for a longer period of time. Supplement with five grams of beta alanine daily and you should start to feel the benefits within two weeks. Beta alanine has been shown to delay fatigue, improve anaerobic performance, improve exercise capacity and augment the effects of training.


ZMA is a patented zinc and magnesium formula with added vitamin B6. These two essential minerals support a number of functions in the body including muscle function and normal testosterone production. Healthy testosterone levels are key for rugby players to ensure optimum performance and recovery. ZMA should be used before bed to promote recovery (it can also induce some pretty interesting dreams too).


BCAAs or branched chain amino acids are the three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids, and in particularly leucine play a vital role in muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) and recovery. BCAAs are a great addition to your water during training or a match and also a great option for those looking to lose fat.

Multivitamins & Probiotics

Staying strong and well starts from the inside… A daily multivitamin can be a very effective way of allowing you to train hard, recover and stay healthy throughout stages of heavy training or the winter months. PAS Nutrition have produced a superb product called “Defence” – formulated to be the most comprehensive well-being and immunity product currently available

Defence’s high dose probiotics increase the good bacteria in the gut , which is the body’s first line of defence. Recent research has shown probiotics to be useful in reducing the incidence of catching flu viruses. Caricilli AM et al (2014). Intestinal barrier: A gentlemen’s agreement between microbiota and immunity.

It’s high dose antioxidant complex will neutralise free radicals produced during hard training, resulting in better recovery. Taghiyar et al (2013). The Effect of Vitamin C and E Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Oxidative Stress in Female Athletes: A Clinical Trial

Vitamin D is the must take product for all athletes, helping to maintain testosterone levels and supplementation is essential during winter months when Vitamin D intake from sunlight is virtually non exist. Pilz et al (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Dahlquist et al (2015). Plausible ergogenic effects of vitamin D on athletic performance and recovery. Holick et al (1996) Vitamin D and bone health..

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin found in plants or produced from intestinal bacteria. It plays an essential role in bone health and is involved in blood clotting. Kidd et al (2010). Vitamins D and K as pleiotropic nutrients: clinical importance to the skeletal and cardiovascular systems and preliminary evidence for synergy.

One key message is to ensure all supplements and medications you take are batch tested, registered safe and inform sport approved.

Find out how in our guide to checking your supplements


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