7 Proven Basketball Supplements (For Each Position)

By reading this article, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions. Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision. In our articles we use only unbiased information backed by science and our sources include only high-authority health and diet institutes and websites. In this article, we used the data from two sources; NCBI (US National Library of Medicine), and Examine (Independent analysis for supplements and nutrition).

supplements for basketball playersLearning about basketball over the last twenty years, I have concluded that nutrition and supplements are often neglected subjects of discussion. A lot of it is known, but little is said, and it’s a shame to see so many players not progressing because of the inadequate nutrition.

Today, the proper nutrition is easy to achieve with a bit of effort. Only if don’t eat enough of different and healthy foods, then we should turn to supplements.

There was much controversy around supplements in the last 30 years, but it has also led to a lot of research being done. And then these studies have led to the fact that today we mostly know which supplements do work, and which don’t.

Supplements make life better

Supplements are individual substances in the form of tablets or powder that we take because our body can’t produce enough of them or we can’t get them enough from food.

It’s the same as any food we put in our bodies but in different form and color. It doesn’t mean it can be an (often) replacement for meals, but sometimes supplements can serve for that purpose too (Whey Protein).

Different supplements are made of various vitamins, minerals, plants, milk, and help with all kinds of health problems, from psychological to physiological issues.

Supplements can also have a positive effect on losing or gaining weight and can protect immunity from seasonal diseases.

Some of the hyped-up supplements on the market include whey protein, glutamine, creatine, glucose, weight gainers, multivitamins, etc., and today you’re going to find out which of them actually work.

Will supplements make you a better basketball player?

No supplement will make you a better player without practice and gym work. But if you’ve got one of those two covered and you’re already eating healthy, supplements could make things even better for you.

Maybe you’re deficient in vitamins or minerals, and that’s the thing that’s stopping you from taking to jump a bit higher, to run a quick fast break, or to sour to do hoop like there’s no tomorrow. If you’re you’re working hard but not progressing, there’s a strong possibility that there is some deficiency.

post-game meal

Don’t think of supplements as a substitute for food

Do you need supplements?

No, you don’t actually ”need” any supplements, if you’re eating a balanced diet.

Are you eating a balanced diet? If not sure, go check out our last article where you’ll find out everything about proper diet and nutrition for basketball players.

In that case, I would only suggest that you take one capsule of Vitamin D3 with a meal during winter months, especially if you live in sunless areas. It will keep your bone health and calcium absorption in check.

Also, if eating bluefish is just not your thing – get the Omega 3 Fish Oil. According to studies, Omega-3 deficiency causes 96,000 US deaths per year.

Except that it will nutrient your heart and keep it working properly, your joints are going to thank you.

7 supplements for basketball players backed by science

1.) Blueberry – memory, focus

Why should you use it?
Some molecules found in dark berries are also found in the brain. They protect it and power its work. Blueberries are responsible for the activation of a growth factor (NGF) that helps other neurons to raise and eventually communicate better with other neurons.

The studies have shown that blueberries are a safe and effective supplement and can make your brain work better. It means they’ll improve your memory and focus, which in basketball we care much about. After all, basketball is a thinking game.

It could also do wonders for you if you’re having trouble at the free throw line or if you’re having a hard time remembering what play the coach draw.

How to use it?
If you eat fresh blueberries, take between 70 – 130 g per day. If you’re using a supplement, blueberry anthocyanins, it is best to take between 400 – 900 mg per day.

2.) Creatine – strength, sprints

Why should you use it?
Creatine is a substance that body just can’t produce enough. It helps with muscle growth and strength. Creatine also provides extra energy and keeps the liver in check.

It can be a great solution for those struggling in the 4th quarter.

Even though we also get it through food (red meat), there were suspicions about whether creatine is healthy or not. Luckily, those doubts are now gone, and creatine is marked safe and effective.

It’s mostly popular with weightlifters and bodybuilders, but today most of the professional athletes use it. Creatine monohydrate is cheap, and almost anyone could benefit from it.

How to use it?
Start with 20g a day for seven days and then switch to 5 g per day. No need to complicate this. I use this one by MP Essentials, but there’s really not much difference between manufacturers.

3.) Glucosamine – joint health

Why should you use it?
Since many things can cause joint pain, no supplement can instantly make it better. But if any supplement has been researched enough, this is the one.

People with knee problems usually use it, and its primary task is to relax joints and repair the cells damaged by daily activities. Glucosamine is good, and although it’s not for everyone, it’s smart to give it a try if you feel any knee pain or any joint pain.

How to use it?
Avoid glucosamine hydrochloride. Supplement with glucosamine sulfate, take 500 mg, one-two times per day, after a meal.

4.) Whey Protein – muscles (Probably 90% of the NBA drink protein shake)

Why should you use it?
Just like creatine, whey protein is also associated with weight training because it keeps muscles in check, and you’ll hardly lose some if using it.

But whey protein is much more than that. This fast absorbing protein can be used whenever you miss a protein-based meal. Whenever you don’t eat enough meat, fish or dairy product, it’s recommendable to use it.

That means you can drink it in the morning, afternoon or the evenings, before or after a practice/game, as long as it doesn’t do wrong to your stomach.

There are plenty of different tastes of whey protein today and it’s hard not to find something you like. I like making pancakes with whey protein. It instantly turns them into something healthy.

If you have an Alexa device (if you don’t, get it NOW, it’s awesome!), you can enable the Workout Recipes Skill by Optimum Nutrition, and you’ll have access to plenty awesome and healthy recipes with Whey Protein.

How to use it?
It’s best to mix it with water or milk in a shaker. You can add as much water or milk as long as you like the taste. But remember! More milk = more calories.

Take 1-3 large scoops (20-25 g) per day, depending on the rest of the daily protein intake. Consider that your daily protein intake should be somewhere between 0,8 – 1,2 g of protein per 1 pound of body weight.

When you train hard, it’s hard to enter all those proteins just from food. That’s why it is important to find the best price to quality ratio whey powder. For me, it’s the Whey Protein from Optimum Nutrition. The taste is amazing, and I’m mixing it with everything. A 5-pound package is around $50 on Amazon, and it should be enough for at least two months.

5.) Yohimbine – fat loss

Why should you use it?
You maybe never heard for yohimbine, but it’s one of the few supplements for fat loss that had the results in human research. Yohimbine makes body cells more sensitive to losing fat.

What we like the most about it is that it works effectively for young folks. Also, studies say there’s a possibility it can affect burning fat cells in the so-called stubborn fat area because the receptors for it are placed around the muscles that are usually placed under stubborn fat area. It depends on a person where that area is, but it’s usually what they call love handles.

It’s useful, but it also affects the heart, as it elevates heart rate, so if you’re having any problems with the heart, forget about it. And for those basketball players who don’t have heart problems but do have an extra pound or ten they could lose, yohimbine is the real deal.

How to use it?
Take anywhere between 3 – 8 mg (300 – 800 mcg), twice a day.

6.) Fish Oil – stress, joint health

Why should you use it?
Fish oil is a widely spread supplement among basketball players and contains omega-3 fatty acids that help with relieving joint pain. Also, it keeps cortisol levels in check, but if you eat enough bluefish (at least twice a week), you can freely forget about this.

If not, this supplement will help you. Omega-3 acids are also contained in almonds and nuts, but none of those foods contains it enough. Basketball players often have problems with joints and use fish oil in much higher amounts than regular people.

How to use it?
Take between 2,000 – 2,500 mg per day, divided into a few doses, after a meal if it’s possible. There’s not much difference between Omega-3 supplement brands so choose one that suits your budget.

7.) Magnesium – sleep quality, nerves

Why should you use it?
This essential mineral does wonders for those basketball players whose lousy sleep acts on their game.

Magnesium also improves nerve function and regulates blood pressure. It’s part of hundreds of chemical processes in the body and essentially builds every muscles cell as well as many others.

It can be found in beans, nuts, some green leafy vegetables, etc. I use it in combination with zinc and, except for better sleep, I also see the improvement in fatigue over the day.

How to use it?
Take 200 – 400 mg of elemental magnesium, once a day, during any part of the day, recommendable after a meal. You can use it in the form of tabs or powder, and 3-month supply for both is pretty affordable.

Recommended supplements for guards, forwards, and centers

Point Guard

The average body weight: 175 lbs

Moves (this can vary depending on a type of player):

  • Moves mostly with the ball
  • Compensates the height disadvantage with quickness
  • Often needs to throw a strong and quick pass
  • Often first on defense when defending the fast break

The best supplements a point guard could use:

  1. Fish oil – More moving means more stress on joints that can be treated with fish oil (omega-3’s)
  2. Blueberries – A point guard needs to think a lot and be focused because he’s running the game and he’s often the leader of the team. Blueberries will most certainly help with focus and memory.
Shooting Guard

The average body weight: 190 lbs

Moves (this can vary depending on a type of player):

  • 1 on 1 game
  • Attacks the rim
  • Often has the highest number of attempted shots in a game
  • Often first in fast break

The best supplements a shooting guard could use:

  1. Creatine – Shooting guard needs strength in those final seconds after he continually shoots and attacks the rim during the game.
  2. Whey protein – Only if you don’t eat enough meat, fish or dairy foods. Protein intake must be the priority.
Small Forward

The average body weight: 210 lbs

Moves (this can vary depending on a type of player):

  • A lot of movement without the ball
  • Often the hardest worker on the court
  • Often moves to another position during the game
  • Solid rebounder and a good passer

The best supplements a small forward could use:

  1. Whey protein – Sometimes it’s hard to eat all those proteins through food. Luckily we know the right ”whey”.
  2. Blueberries
Power Forward

The average body weight: 230 lbs

Moves (this can vary depending on a type of player):

  • Great rebounders
  • Often the strongest men on the team (much gym work)
  • Defense is usually their primary task
  • They often fight in the paint

Best supplements a power forward could use:

  1. Whey protein
  2. Fish Oil
  3. Creatine

The average body weight: 230+

Moves (this can vary depending on a type of player):

  • Must be a top-class rebounder
  • They fight in the paint more than power forwards
  • Often slow because of the body constitution
  • Bad free throw shooters

The best supplements a center could use:

  1. Whey protein
  2. Glucosamine – Centers carry a lot of weight, and their joints are getting ruined in duels
  3. Yohimbine – for weight regulation in combination with proper nutrition

Wrapping up

Since I can’t stress enough about how important balanced diet really is, I’ll just repeat it. Supplements should not be a replacement for full meals. They should be used for supplementing, which implies implementing them into a daily meal plan along with food.

Basketball players could profit from it regarding game improvement, physical capacity, and mental health. Athletes, in general, could benefit from supplements even more than regular people because they spend energy (calories) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) much faster through training and competitions.