Archive for the ‘Supplements’ Category

How to Evaluate Any Supplement

Friday, December 14th, 2007

What my mom didn’t tell me about buying supplements and what I’m about to tell you could save you hundreds of dollars in worthless purchases or worse yet.. an ineffective and potentially dangerous supplement!

How Does a Supplement Become a Supplement?

To answer this question, what better place to get the information then the FDA’s own website.

“The FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading.

FDA’s post-marketing responsibilities include monitoring safety, e.g. voluntary dietary supplement adverse event reporting, and product information, such as labeling, claims, package inserts, and accompanying literature. The Federal Trade Commission regulates dietary supplement advertising.” –Source: The FDA

Does this mean a manufacture can do some in-house testing, package a product, make claims and put it on the market?  Absolutely.  The FDA has really taken a major step back in regulation beginning in 1994.  What this means to the consumers is that, the FDA will be responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement AFTER it reaches the market.

Look at the case of Ephedra.  Let’s not argue the safety as there are numerous cases on both sides that have done that for months.  The amount of posts and facts becomes overwhelming.  Let’s just look at that particular product in regards to the FDA’s current role.  Ephedra was released with claims and the proper labeling.  And it was only AFTER it hit the market, and a few incidences occurred that the FDA finally stepped in and effectively banned the sale of Ephedra.  They had been targeting that supplement for a long time.  With the media frenzy, they were able to get the momentum they needed.   This is an example of their post-marketing responsibilities.  Many products can be released and the only real stipulation is that the ingredients contained are accurate.  Regulation of claims may be under the FTC, but I think most consumers know or will know after reading this, that most claims go unregulated unless there is some promise or totally unacceptable claims.  But increasing muscle mass in 30 days or helping you shed unwanted pounds, are claims that will stay on bottles.

To the consumer, this means, it’s really important you read about a particular supplement and the ingredients and monitor how it affects you.  Because it’s in a store and sold, does in no way mean there may not be any adverse effects.  Please re-read the above section.  The FDA will become involved AFTER the product hits the market.  Which means you could very well be taking it and it’s not safe for you.  So consumer education becomes even more important in the industry that is vastly unregulated.  While this task might seem impossible, it’s not.  There’s plenty of information contained in the pages you are reading to further your understanding of particular products and how they related to you.

Who Has The Responsibility For Ensuring That A Dietary Supplement Is Safe? 

By law (DSHEA), the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. Also unlike drug products, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are not currently required by law to record, investigate or forward to FDA any reports they receive of injuries or illnesses that may be related to the use of their products. Under DSHEA, once the product is marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is “unsafe,” before it can take action to restrict the product’s use or removal from the marketplace. –Source: The FDA

Just one more reason that the consumer needs to clearly be aware of the product, what it contains and what that means.

Tell the Truth & Have Scientific Evidence to Back-up Those Claims

The REAL problem with most supplements is they are based on little evidence, a few questionable testimonals and make wild claims about unrealistic expectations.  In fact…

“The FTC’s primary issue with dietary supplements relates to claims that cannot be supported by reliable scientific evidence.” - Marc Ullman, of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman in New York City

To say that supplements are like religion where it’s “faith” based per se, would get a laugh from many.  And yet MILLIONS of consumers each year toss away money on bodybuilding supplements, weight loss supplements in hopes they will work.  Hopes?  Scientific evidence should be available to support those claims.  If not, then buyer beware!

As a consumer there’s no single direct answer which makes it frustrating but you CAN do something.  A tiny bit of research on your own will reveal a lot of information about a supplement beyond the marketing materials and customer testimonials.  You need to do a little more thought when it comes to putting substances into your body.  While the FDA and FTC do work to eliminate fast buck companies that show little or no corporate ethics or responsibility, it’s still very important that the consumer does some research beyond the ads and testimonials.


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Cytosport Pure Protein

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

There’s no need for a long drawn out review with me telling you how great this tasted. Maybe you’d like me to describe Cytosport Pure Protein in terms of a wine review?Cytosport Pure Protein Line of Great Tasting Whey Isolate and No Sugar Protein Drinks Savory hints of raspberry and almond with a green apple flavor on the way down? Forget it. Here’s the scoop.

Cytosport released a Protein line of drinks with all kinds of flavors. At the time I’m posting this it comes in Tangerine, Tropical and Watermelon.

Nutritional Facts:

  • 40g of protein
  • 0 sugars
  • 0 fats

Many fitness professionals will agree that it’s imperative to always get your protein in with every meal. And after a workout is a darn good place to do it. While whole foods are always recommended, there’s times when you simply can’t. That’s when a drink like Pure Protein comes into play. It’s a super quick way to get in whey protein isolates quickly and with a great taste.

Why whey protein isolates?

Quick absorption. Perfect for building muscle. A primary choice for any bodybuilder. And plenty of it. None of those 5g protein water things. They are fine for some but when you are serious about nutrition, you’ll probably end up needing a bit more protein than a mass marketed product is able to give you.


Unlike many other products, I found the taste to be extremely good. Since there’s no sugar alcohols, I didn’t get any upset stomach effects. It was very sweet which works for me since I have somewhat of a sweet tooth. For those who just don’t like overly sweet products, you may need to mix it with water to cut down on the overall sweet taste or sip it slowly. Personally I had no issues as I’m a bit of a sweet lover in that regard.

Suggested Use:

As a bodybuilder myself, I’m all for using dietary supplements when necessary. Maybe to break up a routine of a shake, real foods or use it as a sweet treat if I’m on a cutting cycle.  The recommendation was to use the product after a hard workout.  Again, I found that using it when necessary if I wasn’t close to home or wasn’t going straight to a place where I could get in a full post-workout meal turned out to work well.  An small but noticeable plus was the container was plastic.  Other such products are in glass.  When I plunk down my gym bag, it’s nice to know it’s not going to shatter inside.

Overall Recommendation: 5 Starts for a great tasting, quick and easy to drink high protein drink.

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Fat Blocker Drugs (Xenical) To Go Over The Counter?

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

According to headlines this week, Xenical may become the first over the counter diet pill.

Xenical is currently a prescription only drug approved by the FDA for weight loss, which works by blunting fat absorption by blocking the digestive enzyme lipase.


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When is the best time to take my multi-vitamin?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005


Ok I had a quick question when is the best time to take my multi vitamin, before I go to bed or with breakfast in the morning?

Mike G


That depends. Let me explain what I mean.

The #1 rule of vitamins is: Don’t take them on an empty stomach! If you do, you may feel nauseous.

But here’s what you can do. Take a mult-vitamin with food. Now if you have one of those types that is just one pill, you can take it with breakfast or with dinner. But some multis come in packets. And eventually you may find yourself taking 20 pills a day.

Now this is where you might want to split it up over your various meals.

And my rule has always been to just follow the directions of the brand you are taking. Each multi is different. Some are one pill. Some are more potent and are made to be spread out during the day or a portion of them taken in the evenings.

My current Animal Paks recommend you take all 5 with a meal. I usually do that with breakfast so that my body can absorb what it needs for a workout later. I tend to tapper off at night as my metabolism is slower and I don’t want a bunch of things in my system when I’m at my restful state.

However, spreading them out is just fine. And you might have to do that depending on which multi-vitamin you have.

So it really depends on the brand, the recommendations and the type of vitamins you have. If it’s a more potent pack, and there’s many to take, spreading them out will help. But if it’s simply just one multi-vitamin, you might as well start off the most important meal of the day (breakfast) with a power punch.

P.S. This podcast is going Premium. Find out what that means by visiting:

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Would you recommend Muscle Milk as a meal replacement?

Friday, September 16th, 2005


Hey Marc,

I want to start eating 5 meals a day, unfortunately I do not have the time to stop and get me a second meal at work. I know i could use a meal-replacement instead. my question is… Would you recomend Muscle milk as meal-replacement ? I understand you could get quality protein, and carbs from it. If not, what are other good supplements?

Thanks for all your help,



Muscle Milk can be used as a meal replacement. It’s not specifically marketed as one but it can be used as one. In fact, I have done that a few times myself!

I also recommend EAS brand MRP (meal replacement products). They taste good, mix well and are of good quality.

Just remember that an MRP is something you take because you need an extra meal or you can’t get that real meal in. Don’t use it as a regular meal.

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What are some good basic supplements?

Thursday, September 15th, 2005


hey its me again, i love youre podcast and ive been looking for supplements that are right for me but im not sure what any of them do, im looking for something to boost my workout, make my muscles stronger/bigger faster.



Basic Supplementation:

Post workout shake: 40-50 grams of whey protein (this is essential); you
can throw in between 50-100 grams of dextrose and 5-10 grams of creatine
to spice it up, but the whey is essential.

Fish oil/EFA — 5-15 grams per day.

Joints (if necessary) — glucosamine, chondritin and MSM. 1-2 grams, 1-2 grams, and 2
grams per day are the upper limits. You can half that when feeling good.


***Get this stuff in order and you should see some nice progression for a while.

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What exactly is the nutrional benefit of Fish Oil?

Thursday, September 1st, 2005


What exactly is the nutrional benefit of Fish Oil? I know that it is labelled a ‘good fat.’ But how does it help in weight training programs. Thanks ahead for the advice.




Omega 3’s are a polyunsatured fat that can be found in such sources like fish and nuts. You will find this Omega-3 in Salmon, coconuts, peanut butter and other fish. There are many health benefits to this particualr supplement. Here’s just a few:

  • Increases growth hormone levels (promotes muscle growth)
  • Reduced blood clotting
  • Heart protection
  • Dilates blood vessels
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Suppresses inflammation
  • Relieves depression

One benefit that isn’t listed here is that taking in an essential fatty acid can actually increase your metabolism. That’s right. Taking a fat pill can actually help you to lose weight.

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When is the best time to take creatine?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005


Hi Marc,

I heard your podcast on creatine and downloaded the free report (by Will Brink) as you advised. I just have one follow-up question? Is it better to take recommended dosage (3-5g/day) all at once or spread throughout day rather uniformly? Either way of taking it, I would take some or all post-exercise and in the mornings of my off days. I think in the report it didn’t address this directly. In addition, I got conflicting advice for usage from two creatine products (Life Extensions Micronized Creatine Powder vs. GNC Creatine Monohydrate).

FYI: I guess including fat and protein with creatine would cause slower absorbtion, so I am leaning towards taking it all at once.

Thanks for your time on clarifying this issue for me.


Hi Charles,

Oh I’ve done it both ways.

I took it partially before my workouts and then after.

I took it all before.

I took it all after.

Didn’t make any difference to me. As long as I had creatine and had excess, I was strong, felt good and my workouts were better.

I noticed absolutely no difference taking it in segments, pre/post workouts.

At this time I take it 30 minutes before my workout. I’m using a product called V12 which is a creatine transport.

Now as far as conflicting advice from 2 different products. Go with the product recommendations. There really seems to be no perfect or right way to do this.

As I said, done both. I noticed the benefits of creatine period but didn’t see any better performance from taking it before/after or mixing it up.

I didn’t recover faster. I didn’t feel better. Just nothing.

So to me, it doesn’t matter.

But of course, there’s this viewpoint from AST…
Part 1:

Part 2:

Donâ??t pay attention to the product plugs. You can adapt what they are saying to any creatine product.

However, they really get into the science of creatine. Maybe too much?

If it’s all too confusing, just take the recommended dosage, once per day… and see if you like the results.

Then if you like creatine and it’s working you can get all funky with all these various methods that people preach.

Don’t get too caught up into the science. It works. It’s got a lot of research behind it and while there are about 30% of people that don’t respond, if you do, you will know.

I’d just start taking it via the recommended instructions per the product.

Then cycle off it about 8 weeks.

Then read these articles and see if you can adapt it into what you are doing. You might notice better results. You might notice nothing at all.

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All about Creatine

Thursday, August 11th, 2005


Dear Marc,

Creatine. I’ve read the articles in fitness magazines, I’ve even read some of the journal articles on the subject. There’s allot of conflicting info out there so I still have questions.

1. Is it safe, what are the side effects?
2. As I understand it, one of the things that creatine does is make your muscles retain some water, is this correct, and isn’t this just “retaining water” i.e. weight!!! (something I’m trying to reduce)
3. Assuming it’s save and won’t hurt my weight loss attempts, how is it best taken? I have the powder, can I add this to my after workout protein shake?

Thanks! (sorry for the multipart question).




No problem. Many people wonder what the heck creatine is? Is it safe? Should you take it? I’ve even had people argue that creatine is a steroid!

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Will Brink has put together an absolutely wonderful resources on the subject. Not only is it part of my Beginner’s Guide package (a secret bonus item) but it’s just a great report period.

You’ll need Abobe Acrobat to read this but it will be worth it.

Get the Creatine Report Now

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What supps are advisable and safe for my age group? (16)

Friday, June 10th, 2005
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