Guest Post: Supplement Overload

credit: Instagram @bryanethridge

credit: Instagram @bryanethridge

Caffeine? Glutamine? Omega-3s?  What’s your plan?

Whether you’re training for a 5K or planning to play a game of soccer, you may be looking for a supplement to help you get one step ahead of your competitor. With all the information out there about supplements claiming to improve your performance, how do you know you’re on the right track?

Before you visit your local health food store to purchase an ergogenic aid, do your homework. You may want to research whether or not there is any evidence to back up the claim about a particular supplement. In a recent abstract review of supplement claims, it was noted that 52.8% of the websites making performance-enhancing claims did not provide any references and there was no systematic review process for almost half of the references that were noted.

An athlete’s main concern is to improve physical performance, so he or she does not typically take the time to analyze or review studies. Most don’t even know where to start.

Obstacles In The Race

Advertising claims can be incredibly convincing, complicating the situation even further. You may wonder how false claims bypass the regulatory process. The federal government, under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, can regulate supplement safety and labeling, although there is no requirement for testing prior to marketing the supplement. Once the product is sold and found to be unsafe, the FDA can take the product off the market. Basically, a consumer can purchase a product before it’s proven to be safe.

Another obstacle in the race for first place is most supplement companies do not have quality control procedures. They do not guarantee that the ingredients in the supplements are pure and/or if the product even contains the particular ingredient listed on the packaging. Some companies are copying and reproducing famous name brand supplements and selling them at lower prices.

College athletes have to be especially careful in selecting supplements. Certain substances in supplements can actually result in a positive drug test which would disqualify them from the event.

So what can you do to be 100% sure you are investing in a safe, 100% pure product that will improve your performance?

Consult with a registered dietitian who can educate and guide you to the finish line. A registered dietitian can lead you to reputable, certified supplement companies that follow strict regulations and laboratory testing on the products they sell. For instance, one certification is NSF-GMP (National Sanitation Foundation – Good Manufacturing Process). This certification ensures the supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label. Most supplement companies that have strict regulation procedures in place do not sell directly to the consumer. Some registered dietitians are usually providers for these companies and can order these high quality supplements.

A registered dietitian can also provide up-to-date evidence on each supplement so you spend your money wisely.

Do It The Right Way

Avoid supplement overload and consult with a registered dietitian today. High quality supplements backed up with evidenced-based claims are an essential part of your game plan and will guarantee your best performance.

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Catherine Des Ruisseau, RD, LD    
As a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in Florida, Catherine’s passion is to educate and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve health. She believes that a healthy diet and smart exercise regimen can improve a person’s mind as well as their body. She treats each client as unique and takes special interest in filtering through the massive amount of nutrition information and educate to ensure adequate health and performance. She works with her clients to accommodate psychological issues, hectic schedules, and limited time for the preparation of foods. Through incorporating healthy eating behaviors and lifestyle changes Catherine’s clients gradually leave behind their unhealthy habits and are transformed with a new healthy outlook.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.