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Whilst everything a rugby player needs can be gained from a balanced diet – the English rugby team recommends a ‘food first’ diet – the use of nutritional supplements is common throughout the sport due to the high physical demands.

Rugby players need to pay particular attention to enough of the right foods to help build muscle mass and strength and protein is essential for the accumulation of new muscle and repair of damaged tissues. Rugby players need more protein than the average athlete so eat plenty of high protein foods such as lean meat, fish, dairy, eggs and whey protein.

Do rugby players use supplements?

Whilst everything a rugby player needs can be gained from a balanced diet – the English rugby team recommends a ‘food first’ diet - the use of nutritional supplements is common throughout the sport due to the high physical demands.

There are a variety of different nutritional supplements that can be used to support recovery, immunity and performance.

What supplements should a rugby player take? 


Everyone, not just athletes, should consider adding a daily multivitamin to their balanced health regimen. Rugby will require intense, frequent training, and to stay at the top of your game you need to ensure that your body has as many vitamins and nutrients as it needs to support your performance. Adding a daily multivitamin can ensure that your body is getting what it needs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D works alongside calcium in the body to support bone health – crucial for a contact sport like rugby. It comes naturally from exposure to sunlight – however, in the winter months, this can be hard to come by and you might find that your levels wane at this point of the year. Adding a supplement will ensure that your body has as much vitamin D as it needs to support the health of your bones.


This is a legal nutritional aid for sports performance, making it ideal for amateur and professional rugby players alike. Creatine is found naturally in seafood and red meat, and is a great supplement in supporting muscle health.


Collagen is a protein found naturally in our own bodies – it supports skin and nail health, as well as joint health and bone health. It helps to add structure and strength to skin and organs, as well as to bones, tendons and ligaments. This makes it a particularly great supplement to add to your diet for recovery after training.


Turmeric is a spice, and has been used for many years in traditional medicinal practices. It contains many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, due to an active ingredient called curcumin – this can help both with joint support and balancing inflammation in the body.


Zinc is a vital mineral that is involved in over 300 reactions in the body. It helps to support cognitive function, as well as vision health, both of which will be of great benefit to rugby players when they’re out on the field. Zinc isn’t produced or stored in the body, so must be consumed from our diet – so, zinc supplements might help to ensure that you’re getting what you need.


Magnesium helps to relax the muscles after a workout. It speeds muscle recovery by helping to support muscle function, maintain electrolyte balance and reduce fatigue. Magnesium can be found in legumes, leafy vegetables, whole grains, and fortified cereals, but can also be added to your diet via a daily supplement. Magnesium is best taken after a workout, or before bed, as it has been known to support sleep quality.  Find out more about best supplements for muscle recovery.


Ashwagandha is a traditional ayurvedic herb known to increase energy and support the stress response. It also increases testosterone levels to help support muscle building and better reaction time, so adding an ashwagandha supplement could be useful in increasing muscle mass and strength for rugby players who want to build muscle and maintain power during the game.

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