Published on December 15, 2018
A couple months ago, a man by the name of Chris Jones (personal fitness trainer and CEO of Trainer Connect) posted a message on LinkedIn targeted to “supplements pushers” (my term, not his). It was a warning to not even think about approaching him to sell supplements to his training clients.
That prompted a response from me, which I want to share with you in more detail.
Many people don’t realize that the FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products.
Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or mis-branded. Yet, they are the ones responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their own products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994) and FDA regulations. The FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or mis-branded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. They do not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. Sounds crazy, right?
What’s also true is that a substantial number of chiropractors sell nutritional supplements as part of their practices to “supplement” their income. Many use questionable test procedures that supposedly determine “hidden allergies” responsible for a broad range of health problems. The tests results are then used to make dietary recommendations and to recommend dietary supplements.
How do I know this? Because, as you can imagine, many overweight and obese people have back problems due to all the weight they carry and, as such, see a chiropractor. When I meet them for the first time, in addition to learning of the various M.D.-prescribed meds they might be on, they tell me about the supplements they’re taking for this, that or the other and which they buy at the chiropractor’s office.
“Well, have you gone to an allergist for the allergies you supposedly have?” I ask.
“Well, have you gone to an endocrinologist for the thyroid problem you were told you had?” I ask.
“Have you at least spoken to your regular family doctor, who knows your medical history, about his/her thoughts on the supplements you’re taking?” I ask.
Incredible, isn’t it?
So many overweight and obese people have been “trying” (not doing, but trying) to lose weight forever, going from one quick-fix to the next, and it’s easier for them to take a “magic pill” when they are told it will help them than it is for them to do the work of making dietary changes. They feel like they are doing something good for themselves. So, these folks are great targets for supplements salesmen with dollar signs in their eyes.
Great chiropractors are solely dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system and/or musculoskeletal system. They are focused on spinal manipulation and treatment of surrounding structures. They have thriving practices and good reputations within their communities. They don’t have to sell stuff.
Great personal trainers focus on a healthy lifestyle; a commitment to a fit physique. Their desire to share their passion with others allows them to serve as positive role models (and part-coach, part-mentor, part-friend and even part-drill instructor at times) for the “exercise challenged” as well as for those who want to take their fitness to the next level. They have loyal followings, thriving practices and good reputations within their communities. They, too, don’t need to sell stuff.
Eat well, keep your weight down, drink plenty of water, exercise, get good sleep. With rare exceptions, that’s all you need for optimal nutrients and good health, excluding of course any medication you must take as prescribed by your physician. And it is also your physician who may in fact tell you to take a vitamin supplement. For example, many obese people are deficient in Vitamin D, as D is a fat-soluble vitamin. And you know what? When they lose the weight, D is released and almost always (in my experiences with clients) they no longer have to take the supplement because their D is back in normal range. Or, a person with a dairy intolerance might be told by a physician to supplement with calcium. But the key word here is “physician.” Take guidance from your doctor, and only take supplements that you need and not because you want to take them as a short-cut to changing your diet or because you feel pressured to buy what someone is selling . . . or because “everyone is doing it.”
The fact is, dietary supplements are not only not necessary or proven helpful for the average person, but can be potentially dangerous for some.
Click here to read Chris Jones post on LinkedIn.