Anthropometry and the Response to Dietary Supplementation in Exercise

Review of the Anthropometric Methods Employed to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Popular Dietary Supplements to Alter Body Composition


A high proportion of athletes consume dietary supplements in the belief that they will enhance performance or alter body composition. Therefore, research into dietary supplements should accurately evaluate alterations in body composition, specifically muscle and fat mass (FM). A number of factors need to be considered in the selection of anthropometric methodologies to evaluate body composition changes due to dietary supplementation. These factors include measurement details (reliability, validity, accuracy and sensitivity), ethical factors such as invasiveness, statistical effect size and practical considerations such as time, cost and equipment availability. Researchers should first consider the statistical effect size of the supplement under study. Does previous research indicate a marked effect of the supplement on body composition? If so, then a less sensitive methodology can be utilised. Where previous research indicates only a small or negligible effect on body composition, the more sensitive anthropometric methodologies should be employed. The validity and reliability of the anthropometric technique is important. However, there is a lack of research into the reliability and validity of various anthropometric methodologies when assessed in conjunction with dietary supplementation. Examination of recent research into the most popular dietary supplements including creatine monohydrate, β-hydroxy-β-methyl butyrate (HMB), chromium picolinate, Tribulus Terrestris, ephedrine and l-carnitine, reveals utilisation of a wide variety of anthropometric methodologies with no particular methodology associated with detecting significant effects on body composition. Ephedrine, when combined with caffeine, and creatine are amongst the few dietary supplements consistently reported to alter body composition. Changes in hydration status can lead to confounding errors when assessing body composition and researchers should aim to minimise or control alterations in hydration status. Future research is needed in the area of anthropometry and dietary supplementation, particularly investigating the validity and reliability of various anthropometric techniques to detect change in body composition as a result of dietary supplementation. A greater availability of this information would assist researchers to choose appropriate anthropometric methodology to assess the effects of dietary supplements on muscle and FM.


Body Composition Hydration Status Creatine Supplementation Creatine Monohydrate Chromium Picolinate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Air displacement plethysmography


Percentage body fat


Bioelectrical impedance analysis


Body mass


Bone mineral content


Bone mineral density


Body mass index




Computed tomography


Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry


Fat-free mass


Fat mass


β-Hydroxy-β-methyl butyrate


Lean body mass


Magnetic resonance imaging


Near-infrared interactance


Total body water

W:H ratio

Waist to hip ratio


  1. Ahmun RP, Tong RJ, Grimshaw PN. J Strength Cond Res. 2005;19:92–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Amato P, Morales AJ, Yen SS. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2000;55:M260–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, Earnest C. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000;10:208–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Arciero PJ, Hannibal NS 3rd, Nindl BC, Gentile CL, Hamed J, Vukovich MD. Metab. 2001;50:1429–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Astrup A, Buemann B, Christensen NJ, Toubro S, Thorbek G, Victor OJ, Quaade F. Metab. 1992;41:686–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baier S, Johannsen D, Abumrad N, Rathmacher JA, Nissen S, Flakoll P. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009;33:71–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baylis A, Cameron-Smith D, Burke LM. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001;11:365–83.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Becque MD, Lochmann JD, Melrose DR. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32:654–8.Google Scholar
  9. Bemben MG, Bemben DA, Loftiss DD, Knehans AW. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2001;33:1667–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bennett T, Bathalon G, Armstrong D 3rd, Martin B, Coll R, Beck R, Barkdull T, O’Brien K, Deuster PA. Mil Med. 2001;166:996–1002.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Boozer CN, Nasser JA, Heymsfield SB, Wang V, Chen G, Solomon JL. Int J Obes. 2001;25:316–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boozer CN, Daley PA, Homel P, Solomon JL, Blanchard D, Nasser JA, Strauss R, Meredith T. Int J Obes. 2002;26:593–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bouchard R, Weber AR, Geiger JD. Clin J Sport Med. 2002;12:209–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Branch JD. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003;13:198–226.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Brass EP. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(suppl):618S–23S.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Breum L, Pedersen JK, Ahlstrøm F, Frimodt-Møller J. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1994;18:99–103.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Brose A, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003;58:11–19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Davidson KS, Candow DG, Farthing J, Smith-Palmer T. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001;11:349–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Davey SL, Cyr-Campbell D, Anderson RA, Evans WJ. J Appl Physiol. 1999;86:29–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Anderson RA, Davey SL, Hinton J, Evans WJ. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002;12:125–35.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Chilibeck PD, Stride D, Farthing JP, Burke DG. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004;36:1781–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chilibeck PD, Magnus C, Anderson M. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007;32:1052–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Chrusch MJ, Chilibeck PD, Chad KE, Davison KS, Burke DG. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:2111–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Clancy SP, Clarkson PM, DeCheke ME, Nosaka K, Freedson PS, Cunningham JJ, Valentine B. Int J Sport Nutr. 1994;4:142–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Coffey CS, Steiner D, Baker BA, Allison DB. Int J Obes. 2004;28:1411–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cornish SM, Candow DG, Jantz NT, Chilibeck PD, Little JP, Forbes S, Abeysekara S, Zello GA. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2009;19:79–96.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Crawford V, Scheckenbach R, Preuss HG. Diabetes Obes Metab. 1999;1:331–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Hayes A. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007a;39:1960–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Stathis CG, Carey MF, Hayes A. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007b;39:298–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Dawson B, Vladich T, Blanksby BA. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16:485–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Eliot KA, Knehans AW, Bemben DA, Witten MS, Carter J, Bemben MG. J Health Nutr Aging. 2008;12:208–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ferguson TB, Syrotuik DG. J Strength Cond Res. 2006;20:939–46.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Flakoll P, Sharp R, Baier S, Levenhagen D, Carr C, Nissen S. Nutr. 2004;20:445–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Fornetti WC, Pivarnik JM, Foley JM, Fiechtner JJ. J Appl Physiol. 1999;87:1114–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Gallagher PM, Carrithers JA, Godard MP, Schulze KE, Trappe SW. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32:2109–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Glaister M, Lockey RA, Abraham CS, Staerck A, Goodwin JE, McInnes G. J Strength Cond Res. 2006;20:273–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Gotshalk LA, Kraemer WJ, Mendonca MA, Vingren JL, Kenny AM, Spiering BA, Hatfield DL, Fragala MS, Volek JS. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008;102:223–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Grant KE, Chandler RM, Castle AL, Ivy JL. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997;29:992–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Greenway FL, Bray GA. Endocr Pract. 2004;14:697–703.Google Scholar
  40. Haller CA, Duan M, Benowitz NL, Jacob P. J Anal Toxicol. 2004;28:145–51.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Hallmark MA, Reynolds TH, DeSouza CA, Dotson CO, Anderson RA, Rogers MA. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;28:139–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Hioki C, Yoshimoto K, Yoshida T. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2004;31:614–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hoffman J, Ratamess N, Kang J, Mangine G, Faigenbaum A, Stout J. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006;16:430–46.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Huso ME, Hampl JS, Johnston CS, Swan PD. J Appl Physiol. 2002;93:2018–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Jówko E, Ostaszewski P, Jank M, Sacharuk J, Zieniewicz A, Wilczak J, Nissen S. Nutr. 2001;17:558–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kilduff LP, Vidakovic P, Cooney G, Twycross-Lewis R, Amuna P, Parker M, Paul L, Pitsiladis Y-P. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34:1176–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kilduff LP, Lewis S, Kingsley MIC, Owen NJ, Dietzig RE. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:378–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Kraemer WJ, Hatfield DL, Volek JS, Fragala MS, Vingren JL, Anderson JM, Spiering BA, Thomas GA, Ho JY, Quann EE, Izquierdo M, Häkkinen K, Maresh CM. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41:1111–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kreider RB, Ferreira M, Wilson M, Almada AL. Int J Sports Med. 1999;20:503–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kreider RB, Ferreira M, Greenwood M, Wilson M, Grindstaff P, Plisk S, Reinardy J, Cantler E, Almada AL. J Exerc Physiol Online 2000;3:48–59.Google Scholar
  51. Kristiansen M, Levy-Milne R, Barr S, Flint A. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005;15:195–210.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Kutz MR, Gunter MJ. J Strength Cond Res. 2003;17:817–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Lamboley CR, Royer D, Dionne IJ. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007;17:56–69.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Lehmkuhl M, Malone M, Justice B, Trone G, Pistilli E, Vinci D, Haff EE, Kilgore JL, Haff GG. J Strength Cond Res. 2003;17:425–38.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Livolsi JM, Adams GM, Laguna PL. J Strength Cond Res. 2001;15:161–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Lofgren IE, Herron KL, West KL, Zern TL, Brownbill RA, Ilich JZ, Koo SI, Fernandez ML. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24:486–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Lohman TG, Harris M, Teixeira PJ, Weiss L. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2000;904:45–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lopez RM, Casa DJ, McDermott BP, Ganio MS, Armstrong LE, Maresh CM. J Ath Train. 2009;44:215–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lukaski HC, Bolonchuk WW, Siders WA, Milne DB. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;63:954–65.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Lukaski HC, Siders WA, Penland JG. Nutr. 2007;23:187–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mendes RR, Pires I, Oliveira A, Tirapegui J. J Nutr Biochem. 2004;15:473–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Molnár D, Török K, Erhardt E, Jeges S. Int J Obes. 2000;24:1573–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nelson ME, Fiatarone MA, Layne JE, Trice I, Economos CD, Fielding RA, Ma R, Pierson RN, Evans WJ. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;63:678–86.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Norton K, Olds T. Anthropometrica. Sydney: UNSW Press; 1996.Google Scholar
  65. O’Connor DM, Crowe MJ. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:419–23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Panton LB, Rathmacher JA, Baier S, Nissen S. Nutr. 2000;16:734–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pasquali R, Baraldi G, Cesari MP, Melchionda N, Zamboni M, Stefanini C, Raitano A. Int J Obes. 1985;9:93–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Pasquali R, Casimirri F, Melchionda N, Grossi G, Bortoluzzi L, Morselli-Labate AM, Stephanini C Raitano A. Clin Sci (Lond.). 1992;82:85–92.Google Scholar
  69. Pistone G, Marino AD, Leotta C, Dell’Arte S, Finocchiaro G, Malaguarnera M. Drugs Aging. 2003;20:761–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ransone J, Neighbors K, Lefavi R, Chromiak J. J Strength Cond Res. 2003;17:34–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, Weatherby RP, Meir RA, Marshall-Gradisnik SM. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:348–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Rowlands DS, Thomson JS. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23:836–46.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Saunders MJ, Blevins JE, Broeder CE. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:885–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Silva AJ, Machado Reis V, Guidetti L, Bessone Alves F, Mota P, Freitas J, Baldari C. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2007;47:58–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Slater G, Jenkins D, Logan P, Lee H, Vukovich M, Rathmacher JA, Hahn AG. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001;11:384–96.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009;6:6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Syrotuik DG, Game AB, Gillies EM, Bell GJ. Can J Appl Physiol. 2001;26:527–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tarnopolsky MA, Parise G, Yardley NJ, Ballantyne CS, Olatinji S, Phillips SM. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:2044–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Thomson JS, Watson PE, Rowlands DS. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23:827–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Van Loon LJ, Oosterlaar AM, Hartgens F, Hesselink MK, Snow RJ, Wagenmakers AJ. Clin Sci (Lond.). 2003;104:153–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Van Marken Lichtenbelt WD, Hartgens F, Vollaard NBJ, Ebbing S, Kuipers H. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004;36:490–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Villani RG, Gannon J, Self M, Rich PA. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000;10:199–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Vincent JB. Sports Med. 2003;33:213–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Volek JS, Mazzetti SA, Farquhar WB, Barnes BR, Gómez AL, Kraemer WJ. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:1101–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Volek JS, Ratamess NA, Rubin MR, Gómez AL, French DN, McGuigan MM, Scheett TP, Sharman MJ, Häkkinen K, Kraemer WJ. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004;91:628–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Volpe SL, Huang H-W, Larpadisorn K, Lesser II. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20:293–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. Vukovich MD, Peeters BM. J Exerc Physiol. 2003;6:115–22.Google Scholar
  88. Vukovich MD, Stubbs NB, Bohlken RM. J Nutr. 2001;131:2049–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Walker LS, Bemben MG, Bemben DA, Knehans AW. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:1730–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Wang Z, Shen W, Withers RT, Heymsfield SB. In:,Heymsfield SB, Lohman TG, Wang Z, Going SB, editors. Human body composition. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 2005. p. 163–176.Google Scholar
  91. Warber JP, Tharion WJ, Patton JF, Champagne CM, Mitotti P, Lieberman HR. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16:500–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. Wilder N, Gilders R, Hagerman F, Deivert RG. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16:343–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Willoughby DS, Rosene J. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:1674–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wutzke KD, Lorenz H. Metab. 2004;53:1002–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Sport and Exercise ScienceJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations