Ten Mistakes With Supplements

Ten Mistakes With Supplements

The supplement industry is rife with intentional market confusion.  Its engineers aim to part you with your hard earned money.  In this article, I hope to not only give a few tips on careful supplementation, but save you money too!

#1 You think cost equals quality

For many supplements, the supply chain is limited. Take ubiquinol for example – there is only one supplier of ubiquinol; therefore every ubiquinol supplement on the market contains the same ingredient. After doing a brief comparison on Amazon, ubiquinol supplements range from $2.75 – $12 per gram (USD). Where is the extra money going? Towards packaging, fillers, and advertising. Many supplements are the the same way, yet we are tricked into buying more expensive supplements because of clever marketing tactics.

#2 If some is good, more is better

Sola dosis facit venenum – the dose makes the poison (Paracelsus). For every supplement there is a Goldilocks range for effectiveness.  If you take too little, you will be missing out on some health benefits, but if you take too much, you can do yourself harm.  It is important that you do not overdo your supplements. A quick search on “hypervitaminosis” will show you that overdosing is not a good idea. Do your research and make sure that you stay in the Goldilocks range.

#3 Thinking that a multivitamin has enough minerals

Most people should be supplementing with 8.5mg of magnesium per kilogram of body weight. The average multivitamin only contains 100mg of magnesium. Unless you weigh 30lbs, that is not going to cut it. Due to the soil depletion from large commercial farming operations, we do not get as many minerals from our produce as we once did. If you take a multivitamin, double check the mineral doses and make sure you are getting enough.

#4 Natural vitamins are better

Every once in a while, I come across a supplement that claims to be “all natural,” or made from fruits and vegetables. This is another clever marketing tactic that allows them to charge more for their product. When is the last time you took a nature hike and saw a tree producing vitamin C capsules, or “healthy green powder” mix?  It is all synthetic, and if a company boasts, “…well, our product is more naturaler than yours,” it is just as ridiculous as it sounds.

#5 You should take supplements every day

The human body adapts to its environment. When you challenge yourself by exercising, it responds by increasing lean body tissue. When you make it easier for yourself by taking antioxidants, the liver produces less enzymes that synthesize glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant. Most of our supplements should be cycled. Take additional support if you are sick, traveling, or under high stress. On relaxing weekends, consider taking a break from your supplements. Make your liver do some of the work so that it does not downregulate the natural production of its own healing substrates.

#6 You take supplements in the wrong form

There are many different vitamins that are classified as “B vitamins.” Vitamin B3, for example, can be taken as niacin, nicotinic acid, niacinamide, nicotinamide, or inositol hexanicotinate, and they all have different effects on the body. Which one is right for you? A lot of it has to do with genetics. It is important to know your genetic profile and be familiar with your polymorphisms (genetic mutations). If you are an under methylator, or have a mutated MTHFR gene (or two), you need to take B vitamins that have been methylated. If not, you would do better with one of the other forms.

#7 Taking supplements at the wrong time

I cringe at the gym every time I see someone taking vitamin C after a workout. Vitamin C downregulates mTOR, the gene responsible for building lean tissue mass. Vitamin C inhibits this gene from being expressed keeping the body in a catabolic state reducing the effectiveness of the workout. Many supplements have to be taken at a certain time, or it could produce unwanted consequences. Take your Vitamin D3 in the morning, take your amino acids on an empty stomach, and do not take stimulants before bed!

#8 Mixing supplements counterintuitively

Why would anyone take oregano oil with a probiotic? Oregano oil kills bacteria. Probiotics contain bacteria. They simply cancel each other out. Pay attention to what you are taking, when you are taking it, and have an understanding of what you are doing.

#9 You take supplements that do not work

The supplement industry is a breeding ground for scam artists and snake oil salesman. Flashy marketing tactics surrounding testosterone enhancement and weight loss is a multibillion dollar industry. They prey on people’s insecurities and sell them products that do not work. Take a quick look down the supplement aisle of your local drug store, and you will see stretch mark cream, raspberry ketones, sublingual HGH boosters, and wheat grass all make unsubstantiated claims that have been refuted by peer-reviewed scientific research. Do not be taken in by bogus advertising – do the research before you buy!

#10 Taking supplements that are harmful

Aconite is an herb that comes from ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal remedies that is sometimes found in children’s cold, flu, and headache supplements. According to this study, it has been shown to be cardiotoxic and can make it difficult for the heart to beat regularly. There are other supplements that are sold over the counter every day that are just as dangerous. Do your research, and be careful!

If you would like to know more information about supplements, there is a lot of free information on Fix Your Gut. We are also doing live streams on Google Hangouts every Wednesday at 9pm (8pm central) to share information about scientific research that we have found that can improve your quality of life. We hope to see you then!



Written by Jason Hooper

  1. Hi, you mentioned wheat grass under bogus supplements. So you don’t think it has any benefit? It has chlorophyll and minerals . How do you warrant it as bogus. I really want to know what u think on this.

  2. Thanks for this post. I think that I’ve fallen victim to some of these mistakes in the past. I’ve especially been guilty of thinking that none of them work. But as I’ve thought about it, I think that I have taken a few that did make a difference in daily life. But I appreciate the tips- I didn’t know that I shouldn’t take vitamin C after a workout. I don’t think that I usually do, but it’s good to know. I’ll have to keep on the lookout for some good supplements.

    • Thanks for your comment! I am glad that I was able to help you think more critically about your supplement use.

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