When it comes to supplements (all of them, not just the sports nutrition ones), you TRULY don’t know what’s in them without a little bit of help.
So, I’m gonna do just that today.
Let me tell you there are a million and one companies telling you how awesome their BEST supplements are, except 9 times outta ten they are just making it up and finding mediocre science to back it up.
So all I’m going to cover in today’s post is HOW to find the supplements that fit in the good category.
I know I talk negatively about supplements A LOT, but that being said I love the supplements that I use and I definitely get to enjoy the benefits that come from them.
To be comfortable using the ones I currently have though took a lot of research, and continuing research.
So, I want to take all the guess work, bogus claims and uncertainty out of finding a supplement.
If you follow my advice and considerations below I’ll help you sound more knowledgeable than those GNC or Vitamin Shoppe clerks.
Plus, here’s my Complete Supplement Checklist
Download it and use it whenever you are considering purchasing a new supplement.
IF you are reading this looking for information on protein bars and protein powders then you will want to check out my post specifically on purchasing protein because they fit into a different category than your run of the mill vitamins and supplements.
First and Foremost
You don’t need supplements to make results a reality.
Now, if your doctor says to take something that’s a completely different story.
But most people are just fine without them.
I know I have talked about it over and over, but the truth is most of my clients don’t use anything other than a protein supplement.
Anyway, moving on for those of you that insist!
Supplement Manufacturers Regulate Themselves
No matter what claim is made on the box, bottle or package just remember there is NO supplement that is regulated by the FDA, if it is regulated by the FDA then it is now a drug and not a supplement.
The FDA tells supplement manufacturers that they DON’T have to run ANY tests on their products and that it is up to the manufacturer to make sure the supplement is safe for public use before it hits the store shelves.
And when major problems begin to pop up (reported injuries, illnesses, bad manufacturing practices, or false claims) then the MANUFACTURER must report these issues to the FDA… no problems with that, right??
If the problem is large enough, then they can step in and take the product off the market.
Essentially the FDA has said “meh, you guys take care of it…” to the supplement companies.
Again, this doesn’t mean there aren’t many supplement manufacturers out there that go the extra mile to make sure their products are great and completely tested.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: There is no FDA regulated supplement, so be careful when considering any claim made by a supplement manufacturer.
Check the Label
When you are purchasing supplements you need to take a look at the label in order to find out a few things.
I know this sounds like a bone head thing to say when purchasing supplements, of course you check the labels!
But do you know what you should be looking for??
Because when you check out the label you should be looking for the USP certified stamp, the product is GMP certified, a warning label and, obviously, the quantity (because you don’t want too much or too little of whatever you’re buying).
Here is what the USP stamp looks like.
USP is the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, they are a nonprofit organization that tests dietary supplements.
If you see that label above on your supplement you can breathe a small sigh of relief because at the very least whatever you seen on the label has been tested by these guys and they agree.
Still doesn’t mean the supplement is good it just means it has what the label says it has.
Next is the GMP certification you should be looking for. This required by law through the FDA, so it’s not like the company is going out of their way to meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
The current Good Manufacturing Practices rules are there to make sure supplement manufacturers process products in a consistent manner and meet quality standards.
And even though it’s required by law still make sure that label is there, somewhere, anywhere. If it’s not, probably not a good supplement to purchase…
Always read the warning label and if anything sticks out to you make sure to let your doctor know about the supplement.
Again if there is NO warning label then be skeptical, all supplements can be inherently dangerous and should have SOME form of warning label on them.
Supplements That Should NEVER be Purchased
Yes, there are actually supplements that should never be purchased.
Generally speaking, you should just straight up stay away from weight loss and performance enhancing supplements.
And these are actually some of the worst supplements the FDA has to deal with because many people will get sick from taking them.
And I’m not talking an upset tummy, I’m talking liver and kidney failure illness…
Not to mention these tend to be the supplements that contain ingredients from prescription meds, a definite no no when putting a supplement on the market.
Here’s what a senior regulatory manager at the FDA had to say about these “weight loss supplements”
“We’ve also found weight-loss products marketed as supplements that contain dangerous concoctions of hidden ingredients including active ingredients contained in approved seizure medications, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants,”
And yeah, your buddy probably did lose weight from taking the latest version of Hydroxycut, but at what cost?
Be Careful of Bogus Claims
“Unlike drugs, supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases. That means supplements should not make claims, such as “reduces pain” or “treats heart disease.” Claims like these can only legitimately be made for drugs, not dietary supplements.”
This is another quote directly from the FDA supplement articles.
So, definitely watch out for any false statements such as “better than (insert a prescription drug),” or “has no side effects.”
And even if the supplement masquerades as a “natural” supplement it can still be VERY harmful if used incorrectly.
Wrapping it up
When it comes down to it there’s a lot to consider when purchasing any supplement.
So this week I have also created the Complete Supplement Checklist.
You can use this anytime you are looking at purchasing supplements, this is the checklist I use when I am looking into any new supplements and this takes the questioning out of buying a supplement.
This is the best way to not get duped by another bogus claim or lame supplement company promise.
Alright, hopefully I helped arm you this week with steps to making better purchases when it comes to supplements.
The best thing is to NEVER impulse buy a supplement, and if the claims they are making sound TOO GOOD to be true then they probably are…
Just remember not all supplements are bad… just most are. So, these are the tools and resources that I use to find good and beneficial supplements.
And keep in mind that no supplement will magically give you results, so take your time, read carefully and NEVER impulse buy a supplement.