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EXSC 317: Nutrition, Health & Human Performance: Overview

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Nutritional Supplement Project

Each student must select one performance enhancing or weight-loss nutritional supplement, from the list provided, and give a class PowerPoint presentation on this chosen supplement.

  1. Active Ingredients & Marketing Claims
    • Determine the active ingredient in your nutritional supplement and identify the most popular marketing claims. 
    • Search using Google, Wikipedia, etc. to find out what the active ingredients and claims are and start developing keywords from the information you find.
  2. PubMed Hits & Preliminary Reference List
    • Record the searches you perform within PubMed (as well as other databases you use) with the combination of keywords used, and the number of results you get back.
    • Keep track of your references in a Preliminary Reference List. Aim for 10+ references.
  3. Cellular Mechanism of Active Ingredient
    • Find a picture, schematic, figure, or graph (or make your own) that shows the steps or details of how your ingredient could cause something related to your primary marketing claim, typically a cellular or physiological process or mechanism. You could have already come across this in the literature you've been collecting and reading. Be sure to cite your source!
  4. Expert Author
    • Identify an author/researcher who has written extensively on your topic. Look through all of the articles you've used throughout your research to see if there are any common names.
  5. Scientific Support (or lack thereof)
    • Find evidence and scientific support that the supplement does what it claims to do (or not), being sure to include the purpose, methods, results/data (including figures and/or tables) and the conclusion of 2 different research studies. 
    • Find the potential risk and side effects of using the supplement.
  6. Tie Marketing Claims and Scientific Support Together
    • IF NECESSARY: Explain how the marketing claims for this supplement tie into the scientific support for its active ingredient.
  7. Presentation
    • Bring it all together in a presentation that will highlight everything you've learned throughout this project.
    • This will include your best advice regarding the use of your supplement based on the available research.

You must choose an ergogenic or weight loss supplement and build a scientific presentation around it.  Specifically, you will discuss some background information (i.e. target population, popularity, costs, how long has it been on the market, etc.), active ingredients, marketing claims, documented biological mechanism(s) of action, scientific support or refute of supplement, documented side effects, and your overall advice on the supplement.  While many of these supplements may have multiple actions, including health and psychosocial benefits, your presentation must focus on the effect(s) of athletic performance and/or weight loss.  Do not spend much time on your supplement’s health improvements in diabetes, blood cholesterol, etc.