Supplements – Are They Necessary?
From weight loss to muscle-building, beauty, and longevity, the supplement industry is a multibillion dollar empire driven by both science and hype. Many supplement critics claim that all supplements are deemed worthless because all the nutrients our bodies need must be obtained through a proper diet. On the other hand supplement enthusiasts believe that without proper supplementation progress will be hampered and health will be poor.
Both sides are incorrect. First of all, obtaining all the nutrients in the correct quantities at the correct time is nearly impossible to do on a daily basis, let alone on a meal-to-meal basis. The true purpose of supplements are to fill in one’s nutritional gap left by their diet. For the everyday person, supplements are not a necessity but can be beneficial at times. For example: one who eats very little fish would benefit from taking an omega-3 supplement because they might lack fatty acids.
As for the athlete (or someone who frequents the gym), supplements can greatly improve performance and recovery. Protein, amino acids, b-vitamins, and creatine are all supplements that athletes could benefit from to help increase important macro-nutrient ratios and aid in recovery and performance. Some supplements contain modified amino acids and herbs which can act to create a desirable internal environment for fat loss, hypertrophy (increase in muscle size), and recovery. Unfortunately, many of these products have more severe side effects due to their drug-like characteristics.
The hype: When purchasing nutritional supplements it is common to see ads like “gain 7 lbs in 7 days”, “Gain 12 pounds of lean mass in 30 days”, “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” etc. Let us clarify a few things: It is physiologically impossible to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 30 days even with steroids. Many people swear by their 30 day transformation and even use body composition tests to back up their claims. What they forget to realize is that water is also considered lean mass and can cloud test results.
Unless one knows what percent of their lean mass is water they will not know the truth about their lean weight gain. Also consider this: A healthy bodybuilder can build around one pound of muscle per month with good genetics. In fact, some body builders only gain a few pounds of muscle per year. Imagine if you could gain 10 pounds of muscle each year consistently… in about 10 years you could compete in Olympia.
I urge you to learn about the true pros and cons to each supplement before you invest in them. Don’t listen to the claims made by supplement companies and keep a skeptical mindset when reading reviews. is an unbiased and reliable resource for finding studies on supplements.