Let's Talk About Supplements
By: Dani Ondreka & Kaylie Ricks
Did you know the supplement industry is worth over $122 billion (and growing!)
Pre-workout itself encompasses $20 billion of those funds.
But what does this even mean?
It means these companies have a lot of skin in the game, and they’re highly motivated to continue to make money and grow their businesses.
Not to mention, dietary supplements (as well as general supplements) are not reviewed by the FDA. At all.
Not only that, when a supplement company releases a new product, they don’t even have to tell the FDA about it. Insert shocked face! The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 was the largest driver of this. Supplement companies and consumers wanted supplements, and fast, so they pushed to limit the amount of government interference in the supplement marketplace.
Because of that, the scales are tipped towards prioritizing consumer access over safety.
A 2018 study found that between 2007 and 2016, the FDA had identified 746 dietary supplements adulterated with pharmaceuticals, such as steroids or erectile dysfunction drugs, yet voluntary recalls were issued for only 48% of them, and the majority of these tainted supplements remained on the market.
And those are just the ones they knew about.
Are you still with us? Supplement companies are NOT REQUIRED to tell you what's in their product or the exact amounts of each ingredient. They could literally be lying to you. And that’s terrifying to us!
Even if you consider yourself to be a savvy consumer and look up every ingredient on the product’s label, there’s no guarantee any of it is correct. Because there are no rules.
So how do we find the good stuff?
There are a few third-party testing agencies that provide their seal to any product that meets their standards (this is typically verifying the ingredients, testing for purity and % of each ingredient).
The testing agencies are:
𝗡𝗦𝗙 (National Science Foundation - this is the main one you’ll see within the fitness industry)
𝗚𝗠𝗣 (Good Manufacturing Practice) and
Keep in mind, even if a product has one of these seals, it still doesn’t mean it’s 'good' for you. It just means the company isn’t lying on their label. It’s still up to you to be the judge of what you want to put in your body by double-checking the ingredients.
Pre-workout and BCAA’s aren’t considered necessary for the general population. So, unless you are a very high performing athlete (professional, competition or Olympic level), you’re not actually going to see a lot of change in your performance by taking these supplements.
As far as recovery products like BCAA’s and protein powders - most of the components are better absorbed and utilized when they come from real food, instead of a cheap substitute.
Bottom Line: A healthy diet with adequate amounts of healthy carbs, protein and water is sufficient to fuel the body for an average amount of exercise. Fitness supplements have little to no effect or benefit on the overall health and wellness of most exercisers.
We should always look to get all our macro and micronutrients from our diet FIRST.
Remember, there is no magic pill or powder that will help you reach your goals. Consistency and TIME are some of the best supplements you could ever use. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions? Did this post surprise you? We'd love to hear your biggest takeaways!