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Fact or Fake: The Importance of Supplement Quality Control

Fact or Fake: ‘The Importance of Quality Control’

By: Brian Klepacki, MS, CSCS, CISSN, FMS

Skull pillHave you given much thought to what’s actually in your supplement? I’m not talking about what the label says. Sure that’s one good way to know what you’re ingesting but take a minute and think about what I might tell you. NOT ALL SUPPLEMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL!

Recently, the New York State Attorney General did some sophisticated testing on the efficacy of supplements.  His report concluded that major supplement retailers—GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart—are selling herbal supplements that do not contain what the labels say and also found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels.

The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies.

I don’t know about you but to me that is pretty darn alarming. I mean come on GNC. You claim be the supplement retail store of America and you have been caught cheating. And Walgreens, a “pharmacy” is selling illegal and potentially DANGEROUS supplements to anyone who simply walks in.

This needs to be stopped. But unfortunately, I don’t think it can. Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are exempt from the F.D.A.’s strict approval process for supplements and prescription drugs, which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to market.

Now don’t go into your cabinet and start tossing out every pill and powder you have. There is hope. Numerous companies are taking action against this crime and thanks to people like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman light is being shed on this dark side of the supplement world.

GMP is one of those signs of assurance that the product you are consuming is exactly what is printed on the label. cGMP or GMP is short for ‘(current) good manufacturing practices’. To be labeled as GMP, regulatory agencies all throughout the world have set strict guidelines that must be followed.

GMP - good manufacturing practice used for production and testin

These guidelines are set by 3rd party agencies that control authorization, licensing for manufacturing and sale of product. Also within these guidelines are parameters for the use of high quality ingredients that do not pose any risk to the consumer. So if you see GMP on your product, be sure that the product is safe and accurate to its claims.

NSF is another widely used symbol. NSF stands for ‘National Sanitation Foundation’. The NSF has been around since 1944 and another key to making sure that the products you use meet strict standards for public health protection.

NSF certification is not a one-time event, but involves regular on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities and regular re-testing of products to ensure that they continue to meet the same high standards required to maintain certification over time.

If for any reason a product fails to meet one or more certification criteria, NSF will take enforcement actions to protect you, including product recall, public notification or de-certification.

A lot of big-name supplement companies don’t bother going through this certification process just because it takes time and money. However many more companies are taking the extra steps to deliver to you the best product your hard earned money can buy.

I have used many different types of supplements from many different companies but after reading many reports of false labeling and ingredient mixtures I will only buy NSF or GMP certified products.

And this is even more important to those who compete in athletics where blood or urine sampling is required.

Just imagine that you are a professional athlete doing everything by the books and living a 100% healthy lifestyle but the multi-vitamin you are taking has a trace amount of an illegal ingredient that would cause you to be labeled as a cheater from your lab report.

This has happened and will continue to happen if either action isn’t taken by the F.D.A. or if you continue to buy products that aren’t stamped with GMP or NSF.

My hope for you is that you take this information and apply it to your life.

I’m not telling you what to do but if you care about your health and well-being just as much as I do, you will do whatever it takes to maintain that level of fitness and in this instance is to use a safe supplement that has been verified to be true.

We only live once so let’s make this life the best it can possibly be and it all starts with knowledge.

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Get Enough Sleep Or Else…


by Sol Orwell of

Getting enough sleep is absolutely vital to maintaining a high quality of life. Unfortunately, it takes time and commitment. If you don’t respect sleep, not only will you find yourself struggling in your daily life, but your gym performance and overall life expectancy will fall.

What happens when sleep is impaired?

Missing one night of sleep is not too bad. Physical performance is largely unaffected, and most parameters of mental health remain stable, apart from the occasional spike in afternoon fatigue. Most negative effects of sleep loss appear when sleep is poor every night, for a prolonged period of time.

Consistent poor sleep is associated with the following:

  • An altered hormonal profile (your leptin, testosterone, growth hormone and cortisol levels might change for the worse).
  • Reductions in muscle growth and increased fat gain over time.
  • Reduced cognitive potential, usually in regards to judgement and interpersonal interactions.
  • Reduced recovery rates.

Long-term adverse health effects include an increased risk for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Considering that sleep was recently found to clear toxic compounds from the brain, it seems prudent to find time for bedtime.

How can I easily optimize sleep?

Making sure your sleeping habits are ideal are equal parts habit, environment, and supplements. If your sleeping habits and environment are not up to par, dedicate time to improving them before moving onto supplements.

Sleep in the same place every night. Your body will enjoy the familiarity and get more rest. Attempt to ease your mind before trying to fall asleep. It can help to externalize your worries by keeping a diary or to-do list, or meditating. The more relaxed your brain is, the better you will sleep.

During the early stages of sleep, your body can and will respond to changes in your environment, possibly leading you to waking up when you would’ve just preferred to stay asleep. A good sleep environment is one with very little noise and a stable, not-too-warm temperature. If your mattress likes to surprise you by poking you with springs in your sleep, consider a new mattress.

While getting ready for bed, try to limit your exposure to light. Excessive light will limit your body’s production of melatonin, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. Try to stay away from LED or fluorescent lights 30 minutes before bed, or download f.lux if you must be online immediately before bed.

Supplementation should be resorted to if managing your habits and environment doesn’t produce your desired quality of sleep. Melatonin is great for people that have trouble falling asleep, but are fine once actually snoozing.

Glycine can help if you have no issue falling asleep, but wake up too often. Lemon balm is a good way to reduce intrusive thoughts before bed. Keep in mind, melatonin is less effective during the day, while lemon balm makes a horrible pre-workout.

What can I do if I slept badly but need to function at peak capacity?

Whether you couldn’t sleep the night before your first powerlifting meet, or you had to stay up to finish an assignment, there are a few things you can do to ensure you function well the day after a terrible night.

Your first option is caffeine, though try your best to time it well. Since fatigue associated with poor sleep occurs in the early afternoon, taking caffeine between 9 and 10 a.m. will counteract that fatigue best. Too early, and you’ll need another dose at noon. Too late, and you’ll be impairing your ability to fall asleep when you need to.

Do your best to go to bed earlier the next night. This is known as recompensatory sleep, and while there are limits to it, try to catch up with an extra hour or two of sleep the day after you sleep poorly.

Creatine has also been found to preserve cognitive function during sports during instances of sleep deprivation.


All of the scientific research presented in the Supplement-Goals Reference Guide (over 2000 references) is human studies. While they factor in animal studies and in vitro studies while building up their knowledge on topics, they do not include them in their conclusions.

Supplementation is interesting field. Some people rely too much on supplements while others totally dismiss them as useless. This non-biased guide will help you decide for yourself.

I bought a copy for everyone on my staff to reference.

If You Have Questions About Supplements – Click Here as This Reference Guide Will Help.



How Much Protein is Really Needed?

How Much Protein is Really Needed?
by Sol Orwell of
We have to take a step back and ask ourselves – what do we mean by need? Are we talking about the amount you need so you don’t die? Or are we talking about the optimal level for good health?

Firstly – the bare minimum. You need roughly 0.8g per kg of bodyweight to just live. So for a 150 lb person, that’s just 55g (just above 2 scoops of protein powder). For a 200lb person, that’s 72g (just a bit less than 3 scoops). You can outright ignore the RDA you find on labels – that’s based on a 165lb male or a 137lb woman.

Then again, that’s the bare minimum to survive. If you want to look rail-thin, that’s your  minimum. But for people who are into athletics, scientific studies say more is better:

• The bare minimum you should consider is roughly 1g/kg of bodyweight. This is pretty much for everyone. Only exception is if have an actual disease and your doctor recommends something else.
• The range athletes who want to have muscle is roughly 1.2-1.5g/kg. So for a 150 lb person, that is roughly 100g/day. For a 200lber, that comes out to ~125g/day.
• Any more than that has not been studied. That doesn’t mean more protein is good or bad. It just means we don’t know.

Still, if you eat even more protein, there is no evidence that it will cause harm. So if you love your protein, take as much as you want.

When should I increase how much protein I take?

While the above is your base, when cutting, the rules change.

Protein has a very high TEF (thermic effect of food). That means how much energy your body has to burn to be able to use it. Carbs and fat have roughly 5% TEF. Protein is at 20% TEF. That means if you eat 1000 calories of protein, you instantly “lose” 200 calories (as your body needs to burn that much just to be able to use that protein). Furthermore, when you are cutting, your body has to get energy from somewhere. It will get this energy from your body in the forms of adipose (fat), glycogen (carbs), and skeletal muscle (protein).

So when cutting, protein becomes super important. It helps burn itself off, and when your body needs to extract energy, it helps minimize any loss from skeletal muscle (which you want to keep!)
So our 150 lb athlete should likely bump his protein intake to ~125 grams and our 200 lb athlete up to ~160 grams.

All of the scientific research presented in the Supplement-Goals Reference Guide (over 2000 references) is human studies.  While they factor in animal studies and in vitro studies while building up their knowledge on topics, they do not include them in their conclusions.

Supplementation is interesting field. Some people rely too much on supplements while others totally dismiss them as useless.  This non-biased guide will help you decide for yourself.

I bought a copy for everyone on my staff to reference.

If You Have Questions About Supplements – Click Here as This Reference Guide Will Help.