3 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Supplements

Are you taking any supplements right now? Chances are, you and most people you know are taking a least one supplement every day. The supplement industry is booming at an all time high, banking over $32 billion in revenue last year. But at the same time, America’s health has hit an all-time low where disease diagnosis is sky-rocketing and medical bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcy.

It’s an interesting paradigm here. People are spending more money on their health, but we’re just getting sicker. That just doesn’t make any sense, does it?

Well, a big part of the reason is that our society is led to believe that they can pill their way to a healthier, better life. Be it a pharmaceutical drug, or a fancy pants new supplement. We’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that, “You don’t have to worry about eating all of that (insert fruits, vegetables, protein, and natural foods) because you’re taking all of this (insert random list of supplements and “multi-vitamins”).

You see, we seem to think that because we’re taking a few supplements we’ve got our nutritional needs handled. “Hey, this multi-vitamin has forty billion percent of your daily requirement for Vitamin B!”

More like Vitamin BS. 

You can’t replace the benefits of eating real food with taking something made in a lab. It simply doesn’t work that way. It’s food first, then supplements are supplemental. Got it?

The next issue is the sheer poor quality of the supplements that people are investing in. If you have an eye for catching these things, it’s SHOCKING to see the junk that people are buying because the company’s marketing tactics are so slick.

If you’re going to get real benefit from the supplements that you buy, then there are some key mistakes that you need to avoid to truly make the grade. Let me go ahead and share them with you now.

Mistake #1Buying supplements with binders, fillers, and flow agents. Magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, artificial colorings, and hydrogenated oils are all routinely added to supplements. The purpose of these compounds range from making sure the vitamins don’t stick to the equipment during processing, to making them easier to swallow, to just making them look pretty. Notice, I didn’t say anything about improving your health.

As a matter of fact, all of the fillers I mentioned (there are many others by the way) have growing evidence that they are potentially damaging to your health. Take Magnesium stearate for example. Studies have demonstrated that magnesium stearate can depress your immune system, damage your cell membranes, and even block the absorption of other nutrients. Now, in all fairness, there still needs to be more research done on this, but I wouldn’t volunteer to be a guinea pig in the mean time.

Making sure that your supplements contain no binders, fillers, or flow agents is very important. It’s a huge first step, but not the only step. The supplement industry is not strongly regulated by any means, so companies don’t have to put the additives they’re using on the label in the first place. Pretty scary, huh?

The solution is to really get to know the company that you’re buying from. Take some time to look into the integrity of the company, and be sure to invest your money in companies that truly care about quality.

Mistake #2Using supplements that have been exposed to high temperatures. Most people are never told that nutrients can be radically damaged if they’re exposed to high heat. The Max Planck institute has proven that up to 70 percent of vitamins and minerals can be damaged by being exposed to typical high temperatures.

Not only will these damaged nutrients be rendered useless, but they can potentially set of an immune response in your body and create systemic inflammation.

Be sure that you only buy supplements from companies that have the intelligence and experience to know that processing supplements at extreme temperatures is unacceptable. Some supplements do require heat heat, like medicinal mushrooms that have an extremely tough cell wall called chitin that needs to be broken down to utilize the valuable nutrients within it. Cooking down medicinal mushrooms at high temperatures has been done for thousands of years, but most other supplements can be produced just fine via cold-processing techniques.

Mistake #3Buying synthetic instead of whole food forms. This one is easy. There are synthetic (man-made) versions of many nutrients, and then there are the natural forms.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be natural than unnatural. Aretha Franklin singing, “You make me feel like an unnatural woman…” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Take Vitamin C for example. You can find synthetic forms, or you can get it from excellent botanical sources like Camu Camu berry, Amla berry, and Acerola cherry. The biggest reason why it’s critical to use whole food based supplements is the “cofactors”.

The enzymes and phytochemicals that a nutrient is “packaged with” in nature is important. These cofactors help your body to recognize and assimilate the nutrient, just like if you were eating regular food. Synthetic supplements are dropping isolated compounds into your system that your cells are not as likely to recognize as friendly. Guess what happens? That’s right… another immune response.

Avoid putting immune disrupting supplements in your body by ensuring that they are from whole food based sources.

Again, supplements should be just that: supplemental. You can’t pill your way to a healthier, better you, but you can definitely eat your way to a healthier, better you.

With real, whole food based supplements being there to round out the edges, dot the i’s, and act as a smart insurance plan for your health, you’ll be able to look great, feel great, and truly be the best version of yourself.

I get most of my supplements from PerfectSupplements.com. Number one, because they literally have whole food concentrates of supplements like spirulina, chlorella, and Acai that are actually real foods. Number two, because they have integrity. They’re a real family that care about your family. Their prices are not elevated just to make an extra buck, so the quality that you get for the dollar is far beyond anything else on the market.

Lastly, they’ve made a company policy to seek out the absolute best sources for their supplements. You’ll find lots of detailed information on the supplement, where it comes from, and (most importantly) what’s really in it. I highly encourage you to check them out.

We’re moving in to a new age where it’s more important than ever to buy from people and companies that we know, like, and trust. When buying supplements, don’t leave the health of your family up to chance, and definitely don’t waste your hard earned money on a bunch of crap.

Now I want to hear from you. What’s the most important thing you look for in a supplement company? Is there another mistake that people should look out for, or did I knock this one out of the park? Let me know in the comments section below.

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  • Carol Sayer
    23 Sep 2013, 2:53 pm

    Hi Shawn, Well that’s me done with these pills, I’ve just checked the ingredients in the pill supplements I’ve been taking and some of the ingredients that you mention are in them.
    I do have a list of the whole food based supplements and I’m working my way through the list to find them here in the UK.
    I’ve found a website called greensorganic.co.uk a family
    company who seem to be a caring company.

    I have bought locally, organic spirulina ( Rainforest Foods ) from a health food shop near to where I live. I would love to use the website you recomend ( PerfectSupplements.com ) but as were in different countries the shipping would be very expensive for me.

    I do value all the information from you and have made a lot of changes in my life, with my diet and exercise and will at some point have all the good supplements I need.
    Thanks for everything.
    Carol xx

    • Shawn
      23 Sep 2013, 3:41 pm

      Carol, thank you so much! You’re an action-taker like me :). Finding out this information and immediately going to have a look at your supplements is just super impressive.
      I look forward to connecting more and going along on the journey with you!

      Take good care out there in the U.K.
      All the best from St. Louis, Missouri 🙂

  • Catherine
    23 Sep 2013, 9:32 pm

    Hi Shawn. Thanks for this information. I have spent a small fortune on supplements over the last several years, but I am now at a point that I am no longer taking anything. I do give Ubiquinol to my husband because he takes statins. We have been juicing lots of vegetables every day and drinking fruit smoothies, and I am hoping we are meeting our nutritional needs without supplements. However, if I do feel the need to get anything, I will check out the company that you buy yours from.

    • John
      24 Sep 2013, 12:38 am

      You might want to look at another way to lower his cholesterol. I am reading more and more about statins and how they are not good for you. They also have not been shown to reduce heart attacks. Heart attacks have more to do with inflammation rather then cholesterol.

  • Emah Junita
    24 Sep 2013, 4:00 am

    Hey Shawn, thank you for that great info on supplements. My trainer says I need to add a protein drink to my daily diet. With so many products on the market I’m not sure which is best for me. I’ve started strength training by lifting weights. Will you suggest a protein drink that has a good taste to it. What’s the best way to drink it and how often.

    • 11 Aug 2014, 2:54 pm

      Dear Emah,

      My name is Jamie and I work for Perfect Supplements- the company Shawn mentioned above. We sell Perfect Plant Protein which is an organic vegetarian protein powder that would be perfect for your needs. You can find more information on our protein powder here: http://www.perfectsupplements.com/Plant-Protein-s/75.htm

  • June
    24 Sep 2013, 4:39 am

    Great information. I’m comparing a protein powder to give me more of a boost in my overall well being. How do I pick the best one. Sun warrior has the same ingredients as Perfect Supplements. Both have good products so do I choose by the price? Also, can I add protein powder to fruit juice as well as vegetable juice or only as a smoothie?

  • Ryan
    26 Apr 2016, 11:28 pm

    Hey Shawn,

    Great stuff, man! A buddy of mine told me about TMHS podcast a couple months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I even got into checking out Mike Dolce’s podcast from his interview on your show. So good!

    Question for you, but I was just going through the ingredients in the Hemp Force ACTIVE (choco maca) that I bought a couple weeks back, and noticed silicon dioxide at the end of the list of ingredients. Does this mean Hemp Force ACTIVE violates Mistake #1?

    I’m not sure if the Hemp Force product maybe changed formulas to include a filler, but after I saw this, I went out to research on some other options. Looks like Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake doesn’t seem to have any fillers though I read some negative reviews of it’s flavor/texture, LOL.

    I wanted to get your feedback here as I’m definitely digging your advice that “food is information”. Working in a tech background, that really made a light go off in my head, and it’s started a revolution in how I think about what goes in my pie hole.

    Thanks for the inspiration, keep doing what you’re doing, and I’d love to hear back from you on this.


    • Shawn
      27 Apr 2016, 3:36 pm

      Ryan! Thanks so much for sharing that my man. That was an awesome moment making that connection with your tech background and food being information. Powerful.

      On the silicon dioxide side, yes, they are violating that mistake, which I’ve been using the Hemp Force Vanill-Acai for so long that it’s my only go to. I didn’t even notice that on the Hemp Force Active label. Of all the fillers/binders/flow agents, silicon dioxide is possibly the least questionable, but it is still questionable. I’ll ask them about it for sure. Thanks for being a wise consumer, paying attention, and asking questions. That’s what growth is all about!