These are a sample of some of the most common questions our personal trainers are asked concerning the use of food supplements and their impact upon general health.
I am concerned that some vitamins can be toxic. How can I be sure that I will get what I need and no more?
This is a valid concern as each person has a different lifestyle and different needs, and this should always be reflected by an individualised approach to supplementation. All supplement protocols should be designed with interaction and compatibility in mind. We make general supplement recommendations on this website that will certainly help point you in the right direction, but for a truly bespoke approach we always suggest that you talk to a qualified professional.
My friend told me that some supplements alter body chemistry. Is he telling the truth?
Your friend is spouting rubbish. There are a tonne of myths around the supplement industry, not least because it is so full of shysters who in another era would have been selling you Florida swampland. To be blunt, supplements are not drugs and they do not have drug like effects. If they did, they would be proscribed substances as are all substances that elicit a “drug like effect”.
However, there are a number of supplements out there that have massively positive effects on overall health, mental and physical well being, and effective fat loss body composition. They are NOT replacements for nutritious food, and that is why they are called supplements.
I am confused by all the different brands out there. Which is the best?
As in every commercial marketplace there is no one single best, but not all manufacturers are equal. We can’t say that Coke is better than Pepsi, but we can tell you they are both better than the 20p for 2litre no brand special at your local discount superstore. You can find our favourite brands and explanations of why we like them in our Supplement Recommendations page.
Do I have to keep taking the supplements once I reach my goal?
For optimal health you should always use a multivitamin and complementary anti-oxidant, but anything else depends upon your ongoing goals. If for example you supplement with a protein powder in order to gain 20lbs of muscle, once you have attained that goal you will need to continue supplementation in order to feed good quality protein to those hungry muscles. However, if you are supplementing with fish oil in order to increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin (and so aid fat loss as well as drastically improve your overall cellular metabolism and reduce the long term risk of heart disease and diabetes), you may well find that as your endocrine system improves you need a smaller quantity of fish oil to produce the same effect.
My local GP tells me that I can get all the nutrition I need from 3 square meals a day. My mother agrees. Help!!
The last time I checked GPs spend one solitary week of their 5 years of medical studies on nutrition. This would be laughable if it weren’t so lamentable. Prevention is always better than cure, and so many serious ailments would never arise if people were better educated on healthy eating. We live in a toxic, highly stressed modern world and quite frankly need all the help we can in ensuring we receive all the macro and micronutrients we require for healthy living and a good long life. Our personal training team and advisory board include many of the top nutrition experts who study the area of supplementation extensively and we constantly update our clients with the latest scientifically validated research findings.
It’s often a case of physician heal thyself!
I read scaremongering that high-protein diets can cause problems?
Assuming that your kidneys are in good working order there is absolutely no problem with eating a high protein diet. We see far, far too many people who eat too little protein than ever eat too much. Intelligent consumption of the correct protein foods will help increase metabolism and support a healthy immune system.
When should I take my supplements?
This all depends upon what you’re taking. Ensure that you follow the right advice and simple rules and if you are still confused you can always drop us a line and we will be glad to help. All too often we hear clients tell us that they are wasting their money by taking the wrong supplements at the wrong time (such as not taking vitamins with food) due to erroneous advice from an unqualified shop assistant in their local GNC store.
I hate the idea of pills, powders and potions. If I don’t take supplements will I still get results?
In a word, yes. If you exercise correctly and eat well you will definitely get good results. However I would at least like you accept the illogical nature of your statement. Unless you eat simple organic food 100% of the time you will certainly be consuming products like powdered skimmed milk (very much like protein powder) when you eat a piece of cake, or added vitamin C when drinking “fortified” orange juice.
Based on years of experience and work with literally thousands of clients it is our view that educated and rational supplementation aids in creating an ideal physiological environment for change. And it is change and adaptation that we want to generate in order to improve our bodies. Our goal on any exercise or diet programme is to never have the body in want for anything but calories. When food intake and exercise participation are maximized, supplementation can offer an edge in the pursuit of one’s goal. If an individual decides not to supplement, then reaching the goal may take impeccable, and therefore impractically difficult, adherence to highly challenging food and exercise regimes.
Those in pursuit of more challenging goals such as very low body fat and a high degree of lean body mass, or maximal athletic performance and recovery may never reach their full potential with food and exercise modulations alone. Their competitors will always try to stay ahead by gaining that extra 2 or 3% edge by supplementing with the latest proven products (beta alanine is a good example for 2007/2008).
My friend has taken creatine and had great results? But what about its effects on my kidneys?
At the time of this writing, there are no known negative side effects associated with even high dose use of creatine products. Weight gain was listed as a side effect, but isn’t that why you take it?
Why is my urine bright yellow when I take supplements?
This is very normal and is usually due to water-soluble pigmented components of B Vitamins and/or Beta-Carotene, and is simply your body’s way of getting rid of what you don’t need. If you have not been taking these supplements regularly it will take the body time to utilize the extra vitamins forcing it to harmlessly excrete the unused nutrients. Within a few weeks the colour intensity diminishes as the body adapts by increasing enzyme activity. However, there should always be some slight coloration of the urine when using any good quality multivitamin product, suggesting proper tissue saturation.