by Matt Weik
Everyone hears of people around them taking some sort of supplement. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s not. While there are some supplements out there that are all hype, many of them actually serve a purpose and are extremely helpful. Maybe it’s a multivitamin to fill in micronutrient gaps in their nutrition? Maybe it’s a fat burner to help someone drop a few pounds? Or maybe it’s a protein powder to help someone bulk up and add some quality lean muscle mass to their physique? No matter how you shake it, the supplement industry is here to stay and is nothing to shake a stick at. We are talking about a $34B+ industry with no signs of slowing down in sight. But there may be some things you have never known about your supplements.
In this article, I want to talk about some things that you may have never known about your supplements that could change the potency and your individual results from the supplements you are taking as well as some behind the scenes information that you may find interesting.
Shake your supplement powders before use
Different ingredients have different molecular weights. Naturally, from moving the containers around and with settling, the heavier ingredients will naturally start moving to the bottom of the tub. This could be one of the things you may have never known about your supplements such as your pre-workout powder that could drastically alter the effect you feel from the product. If a stimulant settles to the bottom, that will make the final dosages of your tub to be super concentrated with things like stimulants and could cause a negative effect by essentially taking a super high dosage when that isn’t want you wanted/needed.
To solve this issue, first, take the scoop out of the product, seal the top back on, and then give the tub a good shake to ensure all the ingredients get thoroughly mixed. Then go ahead and scoop out your serving of the product for use.
Sugar alcohols can make you poop (a lot)
How many times have you seen the following ingredients in a product such as a protein bar and never knew exactly what they were – xylitol, erythritol, maltitol, or sorbitol? These are very commonly used sugar alcohols that when added to a product do not count as actual “sugar” on nutrition or supplement facts. They get classified as sugar alcohols underneath. So, while the label reads 0g of sugar, underneath you may see something like 15g of sugar alcohols.
When it comes down to it, sugar alcohols do not raise blood sugar like sweeteners like pure table sugar (sucrose) does. Many would look at this as an artificial sweetener is a better option. Unfortunately, this is another common thing you may have never known about your supplements in that while there is no actual sugar in a product, the sugar alcohols could have some negative effects such as bloating, gas, digestion issues, and diarrhea when consumed in high dosages. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should try to avoid sugar alcohols as it may worsen the condition.
Most raw materials are coming from China
One of the things you may have never known about your supplements is that many of the raw materials are sourced from China and not here in the United States. Some of you may not be a fan of that while others simply don’t care, but most people have no idea where the ingredients in a product are coming from.
Obviously, some ingredients come from here in the US as there are a few amazing sourcing companies, but much of what you see today will be coming from overseas.
Big Pharma companies own some supplement companies
There are many people who are extremely anti-pharmaceutical everything. They don’t agree with their practices, their pricing, and their products that seemingly have worse side effects than whatever illness they may currently have. For that reason, many people avoid doing business with these huge companies altogether. However, something you may have never known about your supplements is that some of these pharmaceutical companies actually own some of the supplements you may be taking.
For instance, Pfizer owns brands like Emergen-C and Centrum while Bayer owns One-A-Day. Also, before they went out of business, EAS was owned by Abbott.
Supplements CAN interact with medications
Following up from #4 and tying in nicely is despite what you may think “natural” means, just because it has it printed in bold letters on your label doesn’t mean that your supplement isn’t going to interact with any medication you may be taking. This is a misconception and something you may have never known about your supplements.
If you are on any type of medication, it would be wise to speak to your doctor before introducing any supplement to your regimen to ensure there will be no interactions between your medication and the supplement. For instance, if you are diabetic and take insulin, utilizing a supplement that works to stabilize blood sugar without speaking to your doctor could have some adverse health effects if the combination of insulin and the supplement causes your blood sugar to drop extremely low. Be careful about taking any type of supplement along with medications. Always get clearance from your doctor FIRST.
Just because someone takes or promotes a supplement doesn’t mean it will actually work for you
I’m going to kill two birds with one stone here. That celebrity promoting a supplement (I don’t care what brand it is), more than likely never used the brand prior to becoming an ambassador for them and to this day probably still doesn’t use the products. Why do they do it? It’s simple – MONEY. If you had a number thrown at you that was followed up by several zeros, you’d probably be enticed to do the same. But just because someone endorses a product doesn’t mean it’s good.
In the same sense, if a friend or family member is using a supplement and gets great results, it does not necessarily mean you will see the same results. We are all individuals and our body reacts differently to different ingredients found in products/supplements. I could take a fat burner that helped get me completely shredded and you want in on the action so you take the same product but nothing happens at all. You see this happen all the time.
While supplements aren’t miracle drugs and you need to put in the work, some ingredients simply have no effect on certain people. That’s why supplements such as pre-workouts, fat burners, testosterone boosters, and many others are very individualized and can yield different results for different people. For instance, there are creatine monohydrate non-responders. Monohydrate does nothing for them so they need to use a different form such as an HCl to see any type of benefit. It’s one of the things you may have never known about your supplements.