Solving the Supplement Mystery:
Is There A Magic Pill Out There For You?

By Bruce G. Gilbert
Balanced Fitness
A.C.E. certified, U.C.L.A. ext. certified

I happen to have in my possession a magic pill. I keep it locked away in my fire-proof safe with my important papers, my passport, my wife's jewels, and my comic book collection.


Because this pill has the power to transform any out-of-shape, over-fat, deconditioned couch potato into a lean, muscular, and fit example of human perfection.

Believe me?

Well, okay. I don't have a magic pill, but the supplement companies out there would just as soon have you believe that there is a magic solution to the epidemic of obesity that puts over 60% of our national population in the overweight category. In fact, they love to prey on your emotions and hopes that there is a simple and easy solution.

It makes them money. Lots of money.

They don't care if you're out of shape and dissatisfied with your body. They're counting on it.

You see, being out of shape presents a problem, and the supplement companies know that all they have to do it present you with a solution and you'll buy it.

Whether it works or not.

That's why you have "fat burners", "carbohydrate blockers", "fat blockers", "lose weight while you sleep" pills, and "a shake breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner" drinks. YUK!

Now, I know it's confusing. So many products. So many choices.


The report you now hold in your hands will provide you with some quality information on what are probably the most useful supplements on the market. While there are many supplements which may have some benefit, these will probably be your best choices.

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Want to know what's the most powerful substance you'll ever consume that can change your body for the better?

It may be the best kept secret on the planet.

Okay, I'll tell you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone. It's ...


Wait a minute! Food is not a supplement. What the heck am I talking about?!

Look, it's important that you understand one thing before we talk about supplements at all. If you don't get your eating plan right first, every single supplement you take will be 100% useless. You need to satisfy your caloric needs and nutrient needs before you even consider the use of any supplementation.

That's why they're called supplements. They're designed to "supplement" an adequate eating plan.

I'll let you in on another secret.

If you get your eating plan right, you may not need any supplementation at all.

(Do me a favor. Don't tell the supplement companies I said that. It may destroy any opportunity I may have to get a "big money endorsement deal" and have my picture taken with a bevy of huge-breasted women in bikinis standing next to a new Corvette to promote some useless supplement.)

How powerful is food?

It can promote fat loss, muscle gain, make you feel sleepy, make you feel more alert, make you feel hungry, make you feel satisfied, make you feel happy, make you feel more hungry, make you have to "pee" more, make your bowel movements easier, and prevent illness.

Need I go on?

Ya know, if you had a drug or a supplement that could do all that it would probably be illegal or so darned expensive that only "Movie Stars" would eat.

"Today on Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless, Julia Roberts eats a sandwich!"

The bottom line here is to get the food part right first. Then look to the supplements to fulfill any needs you may have over and above what food alone cannot provide.

Now without further ramblings.. .on to the supplements.

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You're busy. I know it. You know it. But you have to eat to get in shape. If there is one big issue for everyone trying to beat the "fat monster", it's eating consistently. Eating every 2-3 hours may be one of the most powerful fat reduction strategies out there. When your body is fed regularly, it willingly gives up the fat for energy. When you miss a meal (or skip one intentionally) your body gets defensive and holds on to fat. This also teaches your body to make more fat because it thinks it may never be fed again. This mechanism goes back to caveman days to protect humans from periods of starvation during the months when food was less plentiful.

Well, if you need to eat every 2-3 hours and you "have a life", how are you supposed to eat?

The answer: MRPs.

MRP stands for Meal Replacement Powders.

MRPs are probably your next best bet when food is scarce or when preparing an eating a meal is just not possible due to time constraints (I hate missing Entertainment Tonight!).

Just whip them up in the blender and take them with you wherever you go. When it's time to eat, just "slam it down" in about 5 minutes. Done. Nutrients provided. No starvation, and you're one meal closer to your fitness goal.

Here are some things to consider when selecting your MRP:

1. Buy one that tastes good. You may need to try a few different brands and flavors before you find one that suits your tastes. Most come in a variety of flavors and are easy to mix so the texture is pleasant and not chalky or "clumpy".

2. Chose one with a good quality protein. Animal-based proteins are better than vegetable-based proteins. They are what are called complete proteins, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids (sorry vegetarians). Most of the good ones are derived from milk-based proteins. They are also better at regulating digestion, immunity, and muscle growth.

3. You may pay a couple of extra bucks to get an MRP that will satisfy your needs.

4. Don't rely on MRPs to satisfy all your nutrient needs. It's tempting because it's so easy to just down a shake, but you must focus your eating plan around food to be successful.

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Let me make two things perfectly clear when it comes to supplements in the "fat burner" category.

One: There is no fat burning supplement that will satisfy your desires to be lean and fit-looking without a properly designed exercise program and eating plan.


They are not the magic pills they are promoted to be, and most of them don't work at all.

Two: If you have ANY medical condition and have not been given a clean bill of health by your physician, do not take ANY supplement promoted as a fat burner. Even if you have been given a clean bill of health you may want to keep your distance anyway.

While many people have used fat burners without incident, there have been people who have died while taking them.

Let me say that again.

There have been people who have died while using fat burners.

Now some information:

Most fat burners are stimulants. More often than not they are combinations of caffeine and ephedrine or ephedra. Most supplement companies use their herbal sources of white willow bark and Ma Huang so they can promote the product as a "natural fat burner". Regardless, the same risk-benefit situation exists.

90% of the studies using ephedrine report a positive effect on body weight with little or no side-effects.

Side effects noted in studies using ephedrine and caffeine combinations are: dizziness, headache, tremor, depression, euphoria, insomnia, dry mouth, hypotension, high blood pressure, palpitations, racing heart, constipation, nervousness, transient and increased blood sugar values, and increased sweating.

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If I had to pick one supplement that everyone should take it would be fish oils. Here's why:

  1. Fish oils, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, may help prevent depression, stabilize the moods of manic-depressives, and alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia.

  2. Fish oils are one of the few substances known to lower concentrations of triglycerides (fatty substances) that pose a cardiovascular risk in the blood.

  3. Increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids has direct effects on serotonin levels.

  4. Fish oils, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) help prevent heart disease, depression, and cancer.

  5. Research has shown that supplementation with fish oils can markedly reduce interlukin-1 beta production and results in a significant reduction in morning stiffness and the number of painful joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

  6. Several clinical trials have concluded that eating fish regularly or supplementing with fish oils can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by as much as 50%.

  7. Researchers at Mayo Clinic report that supplementation with fish oils, EPA and DHA, is highly effective in slowing down the progression of IgA nephropathy, a common kidney disease.

  8. Epidemiological studies have shown that populations with a high intake of fish oils have a lower incidence of inflammatory diseases such as asthma.

  9. Researchers at The University of Tromso now report that fish oil supplementation lowers blood pressure significantly in people with hypertension and has no effect on glucose control even in people with mid diabetes.

  10. Medical researchers in New Zealand provide convincing evidence that an increased consumption of fish oils helps reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

source: chules,Wquin.oa

When choosing your fish oil supplements, look for the ones with the highest concentration of EPA and DHA. It is these two substances, which are known to provide fish oil's healthy effects.

Other sources of healthy fats are flax seed oil, canola oil, borage oil, and Udo's Choice Oils. The goal here is to increase your intake of health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce your intake of Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids that are associated with many disease processes.


"There's no magic bullet out there. But creatine is about the closest thing"
Rob Zatchetka, New York Giants offensive lineman and Rhodes scholar finalist with a degree in biochemistry.

Creatine works. It is safe. If you've ever eaten meat, you've already ingested it.

Creatine was first extracted from meat in 1832, and it may be the most studied supplement on the planet over the last 10 years.

While some people don't respond to it and others show remarkable changes in muscle mass, fat reduction, increased endurance and strength, it is used at all levels of sport from high school athletes to professionals and by fitness enthusiasts everywhere.

Creatine has shown beneficial effects in activities which require the following:

  1. Increased muscular strength.

  2. Increased muscular power.

  3. Increased muscle mass.

  4. Increased endurance for activities lasting 30 to 150 seconds.

Creatine has not shown beneficial effects in activities which require long-term aerobic endurance, such as long-distance running, biking, and swimming.

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There are so many more supplements out there. Just look at the shelves at your local health food store.

Vitamins, Minerals, ALC, CLA, Amino Acids, Branch-chain Amino Acids, Choline, ZMA, Vanadium, OKG, Tribulis, Ribose, Sodium Bicarbonate, Glutamine, Alpha-Ketogluterate, Ipriflavone, HMB, Chromium, KIC, and many more. It's endless.

The important thing to remember is to stop looking for that miracle supplement. There are no quick fixes where your health and fitness needs are concerned.

In this busy world you don't have time to read all the books and reference all the research out there in the fitness world. So seek out your local fitness professional. They have the training, knowledge, and experience to help you make educated decisions as to the best exercise, diet, and supplementation program for you.

Don't allow yourself to be misled by savvy marketing or waste your hard-earned money on useless supplements anymore.

Call me at (213) 703-8554 or e-mail me at for a
special offer that's good for the next 3 weeks only!    


Andrew Stoll M.D. 1999 Archives of General Psychiatry

Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 123, No 12, December 15, 1995, pp. 911-18. Connor, William E. Diabetes, fish oil, and vascular disease.

Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 123, No 12, December 15, 1995, pp. 950-52.

Bigger, J. Thomas and El-Sherif, Tarek. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular events: a fish tale. Circulation, Vol. 103, February 6, 2001, pp. 623-25 (editorial).

British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 85, March 2001, pp. 251-69.

Creatine: The Power Supplement, Williams, M, R. Kreider, J. Branch, Human Kinetics, 1999.

Darlington, L Gail and Stone, Trevor W. Antioxidants and fatty acids in the amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders.

Donadio, James V.,et al. A controlled trial of fish oil in IgA nephropathy. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 331 November 3, 1994, pp. 1194-99.

Dry J. and Vincent D. Effect of a Fish oil diet on asthma: results of a 1-year double bind study. Int Arch Allerguy Appl Immurol, Vol. 95, 1991, pp.156-57.

Hans R. Larsen, Msc chE "Fish Oils: The Essential Nutrients" International Health News.

J Raloff Science News.

Norrish, A, E, et al. Prostate cancer risk and consumption of fish oils: A dietary biomaker-based case-control study. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 81, No.7, December 1999, pp. 1238-42.

Sports Supplements, Antonio, J, Stout, J, Eds. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 2001.

Sports Supplement Encyclopedia, Edition 1, Antonio, J, Stout, J, Eds. Nutricia Institute of Sports Science, 2001.

Toft, Ingrid, et al. Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on glucose homeostasis and blood pressure in essential hypertension.

University of California's Johnsson Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA

Van Ypersele de Strihou, Charles. Fish oil for IgA nephropathy? New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 331, November 3, 1994, pp. 1227-29 (editorial).

NOTE: This publication is not intended for use as a source of medical advice. You should obtain medical advice from your private healthcare practitioner. Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health and that this or any exercise or dietary program will not put you at risk.

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Copyright 2010 Bruce Gilbert, Balanced Fitness LA. All Rights Reserved.