August 11, 2020 7 min read

If you love supplements just as much as I do, then you’re probably aware of how fast the industry is growing!

So many new products improving different aspects of health and not to mention the new innovative flavours!

Who can say no to a cotton candy tasting product which gives you greater pumps and focus, not only at the gym but at work (comment your favourite supplement and flavour below, just curious).

This is the reason why I love the industry so much! It is essentially a platform where many people express chemical and scientific innovation in a softer, more playful way as opposed to hardcore pharmaceuticals for example.

To put this into perspective, the Australian supplement industry between 2015-2020 is on track to grow 3.5% every year to a whopping $567 million as illustrated on the graph below. This is just Australia, imagine what’s going on in our neighbors across the globe, we are talking massive growth.

 


Figure 1: Vitamin and Supplement Stores in Australia industry trends (2015-2020) (Source:https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/vitamin-supplement-stores/5364/)


This is great for consumers like you and I for many reasons:

       1. Greater range of innovative health/performance products

2. Easily accessible to us at competitive pricing.

       3. Ability for more customers from all demographics and ages to get it on the trend, not just your stereotypical gym junkie.


And most importantly of course is the chances for more awesome flavours to indulge in!

    This all sounds great right? Who doesn’t want all this and more.

    However, there are a couple of issues which no one seems to talk about in the industry. Not sure why. Maybe because not many brands and consumers know about what I'm about to reveal to you. I definitely did not know this when I was first starting off using supplements back in 2015.

    To give you a bit of background, I have worked in the Australian pharmaceutical/supplement industry for 2.5 years and loved it. More specifically, I worked in a plant where supplements, vitamins and other medicines are made.

    It gave me an opportunity to see the Industry from a perspective which not many individuals get the chance to be a part of which is a shame. 

    On the flip side, the great thing is that I can spread that knowledge to people like you who are interested in learning, improving and making the best decisions for their next supplement purchase and overall health. So to get straight into it, the two most unspoken about topics which are critical for you to know as the industry expands are:

            1. Quality/Safety

     2. Efficacy

    To sum it up it is essentially; Does the product have necessary quality standards incorporated into each step of producing the product? Are the ingredients used safe for human consumption with no harmful side-effects? Do the ingredients synergize together? Will the supplement work the way it’s advertised to work? Most importantly, are the ingredients listed on the label even in the product in the first place?

    It might sound crazy, but this stuff does actually happen which really grinds my gears.

     

    There are brands out there that are essentially lying to us and stealing from us to make a quick dollar. However, it is ok, because now at least you know it happens. First step to improving and making a difference is to be aware. If you guys don’t believe me, read one of the articles listed below.

    1. FDA Finds Majority of Herbal Supplements at GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, And Target Don’t Contain What They Claim – Instead Cheap Fillers Like Wheat And Soy Powder (http://www.hlfteam.com/fda-finds-majority-of-herbal-supplements-at-gnc-walmart-walgreens-and-target-dont-contain-what-they-claim-instead-cheap-fillers-like-wheat-and-soy-powder/)

    2. Arsenic, Lead Found in Popular Protein Supplements (https://www.consumerreports.org/dietary-supplements/heavy-metals-in-protein-supplements/)

    3. A Study on 11 vendors came back with 70% failing assay (https://www.instagram.com/p/B-EKPQfJuQT/)


    There are many cases like this around the web, but these stood out to me. Essentially, these are cases where laboratories came back with results which opposed what the brand mentioned on their label possessing massive health risks to consumers.

    When we buy bloody curcumin, we want curcumin, no toxins or adulterated products. We do not want heavy toxic metals, nor do we want a heap load of rice and other bullshit ingredients. Are we asking for too much?

    As I mentioned above, the supplement industry was built on passion, innovation and a mentality to improve our performance. In rare cases, you might get brands who do not possess these traits and instead stand for money, money and more money and trust me, they are willing to sacrifice our health in the making.

    So what can we do as consumers to make sure we are protected from these unlawful criminals? Well, what I’m about to do now is explain to you the fundamentals of quality control and product safety.

    It is quite boring, so an attempt to keep you guys reading along watch this short video on how products ARE supposed to be manufactured. There is absolutely no other way or exception to this process:

    I hope you guys enjoyed that video. It funny enough took me quite some time to get it right. So to break it down what you saw in the video was the following:

    1. Testing of raw materials

    2. Manufacturing in a GMP clean room

    3. Ensuring ingredients are of quality and safety

    4. Testing results are passed

    5. Products are packed in a GMP facility

    6. Products are stored in a suitable environment. 

    This is what brands don’t tell you about. Not sure why, but I am assuming that you don’t need to know or even worse, they might know themselves. No need to fear though, below I will be explaining the top 3 things you need to know in order to get a quality, safe supplement that actually works.

    1. Testing

    In order to make sure your product is of high quality and actually works is to ensure the raw materials and the finished product which is your product is tested. This means, the manufacturer has actively sent samples to a lab and returned results which pass.

    This is a major step and sometimes brands may skip this in order to save money which compromises your health and safety. In order to prevent this, ensure that you’re purchasing your supplement from a brand who can provide a COA document. You may simply ask them for it by reaching out or some great vendors may actually post all batch testing on their website. If for any reason a brand cannot present these, then that’s a big fat red flag.

    Figure 2: Typical Certificate of Anaylsis document layout.

     

    2. Bioavailability

    It gets a bit more difficult now, I struggled with this one too and still am. Bioavailability as you already may know is the body’s efficiency in absorbing the nutrient or compound in the form of a supplement. A compound with a score of 90% bioavailability is more favourable than that of 30%. For example there are many forms of magnesium you may take. Magnesium Oxide is only 23% bioavailable while something like Magnesium Aspartate has a score of 42%[1]. This is not black and white though. As technology advances, formulators have been able to improve bioavailability of a compound by synergising with another compound. For example, curcumin + black pepper, Shilajit + CoQ10 as well as a common trend to add a fat source to a supplement such as MCT oil powder to increase bioavailability. I hope you’re now aware of this term. What I personally do is research the supplement I want to purchase, ‘scan’ the formula and research the synergy of the stack and try it out myself of course after I ensure point 1 is addressed.

    3. GMP

    Another must is GMP, standing for Goods Manufacturing Practice. This gives you the security that the product you’ve purchased is manufactured and packed in an environment which is relatively free from contamination so no nasty's get in your bottle of pre-workout. These are usually in the form of clean rooms. Air controlled, temperature controlled and cleaned to ensure airborne microorganisms are kept to a minimum. GMP stamps ensure that the product you’ve purchased wasn’t packed in someone’s backyard.


    Figure 3: Typical GMP clean room set-up. Personnel fully clothed, temperature, pressure and humidity controlled space.


    This is one of the simplest things you can do which will only take you no more than 5 seconds to do. Ready for it? Just check the back of the supplement and look for the GMP stamp as shown below, that’s right, it is that simple.


    These steps are a must these days in an ever evolving industry that can have a large impact on your health, vitality and overall performance. And I’m afraid to say, not putting these critical steps into action could potentially make you extremely sick and broke. So do yourself a favour and follow these 3 steps before using another supplement, I know I will.

    Well there you have it! Congratulations, you have just upgraded your knowledge on supplement quality. Hopefully, this blog has taught you a thing or two about the industry, what most people don’t know.

    You now possess a very rare skill that will make you stand out and will enable you to further enhance your performance when it comes to supplements.

    For more information and my other 3 points you need to know, download my FREE book by subscribing to our email list. Comment below on what your thoughts about the supplement industry and how this information has helped you.

     

    As always, keep safe, stay humble and be safe. I have also copied a links to a couple of podcasts I have been featured in to discuss this same topic:

    As a small side-note we have helped many companies formulate their products which abide by the principles spoken about in the book.

    If you require any assistance, we are happy to help you bring an extremely high quality product onto the market to ensure your sales go through the roof and stand out from the rest.

    Email me attamimr@headhonchosupplements.com to discuss further.


    References:

    [1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11550076/


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