The Truth About Supplements

The supplement industry is a huge market with $11.5 billion dollars in sales for 2012 in the U.S. alone.  Everyone is looking to get bigger, stronger, faster, and leaner.  Either through shortcuts or just solid tried and true products.  There are many legitimate products out there with independent studies to back up the claims these companies make.  Then there are blatant scams out there with wild claims that you can gain outrageous amounts of muscle or drops pounds of fat in very short periods of time.

supplements

Supplements that work

Let’s look at supplements that are safe and proven to work by several studies. First off a multi-vitamin should be at the top of everyone’s list.  Do you need multi-vitamins?  No, you don’t have to have them but they do serve a purpose if you deficient with a certain vitamin or mineral.  It’s more of a catch all just in case your diet is lacking something that your body needs.  These can be essential in promoting muscle recovery and well being.

Fish oil is an amazing supplement that should be taken by everyone.  It’s biggest advantage is heart health, it has been a shown to raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower triglycerides in people with high triglycerides.  It also has been shown to delay Alzheimer ‘s disease and maintain healthy cognitive function.  Fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation which can help with muscle soreness (DOMS).  There are numerous other health benefits that have been found with fish oil and it will require it’s own article at a later date.

Creatine monohydrate is a performance enhancing nutritional supplement that can increase exercise capacity and lean muscle mass through strength training. Studies have been shown that groups taking creatine have gained more muscle mass and strength compared to control groups not taking creatine but were performing the same training program as the group taking the creatine.  Muscles retain more water thus making the muscles look bigger and more full.

Whey protein is a simple way to increase protein intake through a shake instead of eating a bigger meal.  Whey protein is not necessary if you are already getting enough protein in your diet from other sources.  The shakes are great for post workout recovery and a quick meal replacement for when you are too busy to prepare a regular meal.

These are the staple supplements that we recommend.  They are not the only supplements that have been shown to work as there are many out there that can assist you in gaining more strength and muscle, such as BCAAs, casein, glutamine, nitric oxide, etc.   Good fat burners are caffeine, green tea extract, and yohimbine.  We will go more in depth soon on fat burners.

The Scam

Anyone can a setup company and start making supplements.  All you need is time and some initial capital, not very much really, to start making the capsules and bottling the pills. You could be selling on Amazon and other websites in no time.  It’s simple because supplement companies are not regulated by the FDA as long as the ingredients used in the product are all natural ingredients.  Anything synthetic or chemically altered must be approved as a drug through the FDA.

There are many supplements claiming you can drop 10lbs in 30 days or put on 10lbs of muscle in a month or two.  If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.  How can we identify these supplements even if they don’t make a wild claim?  These supplement companies hide behind their labels by listing only a few ingredients then listing their “fat burning blend” or “muscle building blend”.  What’s in the blend?  Anything they want to be in there.  It could be a mix of green tea and some other bullshit, who knows.

The one message to take away from all this is do your homework.  Research the ingredients listed and find out what they do.  Examine.com is an excellent website for analyzing nutritional supplement ingredients.  Some supplement companies rely on poor studies to backup the ingredients of their products.  Typically they find a correlation with an ingredient and a health benefit then try to push it has the next miracle supplement.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

I’m linking below a part of a video from a documentary that gives a really accurate account of what is taking place in the supplement industry.  If you haven’t seen the documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger I recommend you looking it up on youtube.  I believe all the parts of the movie are posted on there.  It analyzes America’s fixation with steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.