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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #98, What is supplement maker abuse?
September 15, 2012
September 15, 2012
In this newsletter . . .
What is Supplement Maker Abuse?
I subscribe to the ConsumerLab newsletter. ConsumerLab is an independent testing facility run by doctors and scientists for the purpose of checking up on dietary supplements of all kinds. I want to stay up to date, but have no connection with the company other than being a subscriber.
If you have visited my page on dietary supplements, you know that I am a skeptic when it comes to many of these products. Since athletes, bodybuilders and fitness buffs of all stripes are always looking for ways to improve, we tend to be a prime market as consumers of supplements. So as you might expect, many true believers in supplements get peeved when I question supplement taking.
They shouldn’t. Over the years, I have taken supplements myself. I have tried to be smart about it, but I’m sure at least some of my money spent on these products was money wasted. Fortunately, I was never tempted to fool with steroids, pep pills, or other dangerous substances. Today, I take only high-quality fish oil, a daily vitamin D tablet, and some whey protein in a morning smoothie. I follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and believe my nutrition bases are covered without much supplementation.
Back to ConsumerLab: Recently they tested well known so-called “energy drinks” and found three of the brands contaminated with lead. I wish that I could simply cut and paste into this newsletter their entire breakdown of the findings, but the material is copyrighted and using it without permission is illegal. You can, however, access their start page where some of the latest findings about supplements are summarized. I should pause here and explain that their testing of supplements includes not just multivitamin type products, but also herbals, diet pills, and huge a variety of other dietary additions.
I can tell you that almost always there are a few bad apple brands in every kind of supplement or substance they test. Sometimes brands are found lacking in the amount of ingredients they claim to include, and sometimes foreign substances are included that shouldn’t be present at all. While it is true the majority of brands pass muster, it is difficult for the average consumer to be certain a product is genuine just by reading labels or advertising.
Since dietary supplements are manufactured and sold without much oversight, deceptive advertising, false ingredient claims, or even the inclusion of dangerous substances are not all that uncommon. Unfortunately, honest, legitimate manufacturers’ products are often on store shelves alongside some of the shady purveyors' pills and potions.
Being smart about taking supplements really requires two things:
First, ask yourself if you really need a particular supplement. And maybe you do. But remember that most authentic health professionals tell us that, over all, a balanced diet is a far better way of assuring that we get all the nutrients we need.
Second, if you do find a true reason for supplementing your diet, do some research and make sure you are buying reputable, reliable products.
If you don’t do those two things, you may be wasting your money. More important, you may, in some instances, be jeopardizing your health. Personally, I wouldn’t buy any supplement product unless it had a ConsumerLab or NSF International logo on the label. That means it has been tested and certified by an independent lab.
Once again, I have no financial interest or connection to either organization.
P.S. Several subscribers to this newsletter have thanked me and asked what they might do to show support. I appreciate the kind notes. Clicking on the "Like" button on any of my website pages, or sharing a page on Facebook or Twitter (see the box at the bottom of any page) is always appreciated. And thank you for asking. -Logan
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Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.
I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.
Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.
The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.
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