Date of Completion

Spring 5-11-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Steven Zinn

Honors Major

Animal Science


The body is exposed to excessive stress during high intensity exercise. There has been much research conducted about the effectiveness of certain supplements in limiting stress due to exercise. Cortisol is a permissive hormone that is secreted in response to stress, so cortisol concentrations can be used as a method of evaluating stress. This paper summarizes research conducted on various supplements and their effect on reducing stress during high intensity exercise. Focus is on cortisol concentrations in participants before and after completion of exercise when given various supplements. The most common supplements were determined to be amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants, and carbohydrates. All supplements were shown to attenuate cortisol concentrations through various processes and under certain situations. Amino acids supplements prevent muscle from being catabolized during exercise, thus promoting muscle growth and decreasing cortisol concentration. Electrolyte supplements replace minerals and charges lost in sweat, reducing stress on the body during exercise. Antioxidants limit oxidative stress due to free radicals. Carbohydrates can repress immune response during exercise and decrease cortisol concentration if given in large enough dosages.