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Do Supplements Really Work?
by Justin Leonard
UPDATED December 21, 2003
Written on December 2, 2000

There are several supplements out on the market which claim to be effective. Examples include protein powders, energy boosters, growth stimulators, weight gain formulas, testosterone boosters, and weight loss formulas. But do they work? The following article will reveal the answer to this question, plus additional facts about supplements.

The truth is that some supplements can be very effective and some can be flat out scams. Three of the best selling and most effective supplements are creatine, whey protein, and caffeine. If you were to take either of these supplements, you would know that they do work and are effective, even though the effects may only be short-term.

With many supplements, the effectiveness factor is psychological. For example, once a supplement is taken, you may feel as if it's working, but you may not be 100% sure if the supplement is actually causing the effects or just your brain sending the wrong signal.

If a supplement company claims that their particular product works, but the consumer has an uncertainty about the effectiveness of that particular product, there can be one of two problems:

(1) The product was just a flat out scam.

(2) The supplement just did not seem to work in their particular body type. Often times, people receive supplement referrals from close friends who had good results with a particular product. They then test the product for themselves and find that it didn't work.

This is a prime example that every body type is different. What may work for someone else may not work for you. Sometimes the only way to find out if a supplement works is to experiment and try it out for yourself.

". . . some supplements can be very effective and some can be flat out scams."

- Justin Leonard, ISSA CFT

Before you take that next trip to the local supplement store, be sure to remember these four key points:

1. Don't buy supplements when they first hit the market.

Newly released supplements don't require FDA approval and are rarely tested thoroughly enough for the claims to be justified. Theoretically, most supplements sound as if they would work when you hear about them or read about them in a scientific study [that was probably carried out for only 3 days].

So instead... wait until the "consumer feedback" is released. Also, the price markup on a new supplement is outrageous. It usually drops after a few months.

2. Don't listen to the person in the health food store.

For one, most of them won't say anything bad about the supplement. They may, but only if they have a backup plan or alternative supplement of the same type in which they can make a commission on. Besides, the employees at health food stores are only required to know resale. Technically, they don't have to know anything about any of the products sold at the store. Most of them only know what's on the outside of the bottle. In other words, a person working at Sears one week can lose their job and work at GNC the next week with absolutely no training.

3. Consult with friends or professionals.

The best way to avoid getting ripped off is to consult with trusted friends, professionals, and scholarly information sources.

4. Buy from reputable companies.

Buy supplements from reputable companies. This tactic isn't always failproof (i.e. EAS selling CLA after success with creatine), but at least you can weed out companies that make ineffective products.

In addition, if you ever have question about the effectiveness of a particular product, email us directly.

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