The supplement and health industry is a little like the snake oil industry in the Old West. There are lots of claims being thrown around, lots of promising being made, and very little that the regulators can do to stop it. So, as a customer it is up to you to do your research, making sure you know that the company making your product — as well as the product itself — are legit.
That’s where we come in, because if there is one thing we do well it’s exposing the scams and showing you the products that actually work.
Weight Loss Pills: Reviews and Scams
The vast majority of scam supplements are weight loss pills. Not only is this a heavily unregulated industry, but modern society is so obsessed with looks that we are prepared to take risks in order to obtain our target aesthetic. That can include taking dangerous products and giving money to scammers.
One of the biggest scams in recent years revolved around a weight loss pill that was apparently made from Acai Berries, an ingredient that was said to be a new, wonderful, powerful weight-loss tool. The truth is Acai Berries are great antioxidants, but powerful weight loss tools they are not. These products were scams. They operated through pop-ups and they relied on branding that declared “As Seen on TV” and “As recommended by Oprah” to lure customers in, even though those claims were false.
Many were stung and it left a lasting impression on all manufacturers and sellers of weight loss pills. People are less trusting, but that’s good, because it means they will pay more attention.
To avoid these scams, make sure you:
- Check the claims against the ingredients. You can research any and all ingredients and it’s easy to see when someone is making exaggerated claims.
- Look for any “As Seen On” or “As Recommended By” claims and then do your research to see if they are true.
- Avoid pop-ups and invasive advertising. It may still be legit, but if it is then it’s desperate.
Read the testimonials. Fake ones are easy to spot. The scammers often use names they deem to be random, but are not. They don’t always have English as a first language and are rarely from the US, so they end up using names of celebs. One scammer we saw had a list of testimonials apparently left by the full Golden State Warriors line-up.
Finally, use sites like You-Reviews to search for weight loss supplement reviews and to get an unbiased opinion.
Vitamins, Minerals and Other Supplements
There are few scams will well-being supplements because they can’t make big claims that will lure buyers in. These products also tend to sell for less and contain basic minerals and vitamins. This is less true of sports supplements, where extracts and formations are used, but in all cases it’s still easy to spot a scam.
When buying vitamins and minerals, stick to the manufacturers you know. If it’s basic, then there’s no need to go with anyone else. With sports supplements, just do your research. Google them to find supplement reviews on message boards, social media, and on review sites like You-Reviews (of course).
Herbal Supplements for Anxiety
These products are increasingly common and should be used with caution. If you do suffer from anxiety then it’s never wise to take a drug of any kind without consulting an expert. You may make the situation worse. There are substances that usually help, including Valerian, passion flower and hops. But it is always best to consult an expert.
Sleep Supplement Reviews
This is another area that seems to be exploited, albeit in a different way. The most common “scam” with sleep supplements is to combine basic, known sleep aid extracts into a single bottles, add a few obscure substances, stick a fancy label on it and then charge through the teeth. They may make it part of a “program” in order to make it feel like you’re getting something more.
Our sleep supplement reviews cover this, including ones that actually work like Somnapure. But even this supplement is guilty of those tricks. So, always look at the ingredient list first. There will be some active compounds, drugs that are designed to furfill the promises made, and the rest will be filler that you’re paying over the odds for.
To cut costs, just learn what those active ingredients are (melatonin, Valerian, chamomile, passion flower) and buy separately.
There are many great retailers out there, both online and offline. In our experience, the best way to buy well-being supplements, vitamins, minerals and multi-vitamins is through an offline grocery store. Walgreens and Walmart are usually the best ones. Not only do they sell the basic stuff cheap, but you can also buy popular compounds without paying shipping costs.
When it comes to sports supplements, we find that the best ones are sold in specialists shops. Offline these tend to be independent stores, and because they have big overheads and low buying power, they are much more expensive than their online counterparts.
We find that the best way to get pure products for less money is to buy bulk powders. There are a lot of fillers used in sports supplements and this is unnecessary and even unhealthy. So, rather than getting the latest branded protein shake, buy unflavored whey and a little flavoring and you’ll get two to three times as much protein for your money.
You can do the same with other supplements by purchasing a capping machine and a scale and then simply weighing the product out. It can be messy and time consuming, but if you use these things regularly then it could save you hundreds, if not thousands a year.
See our sports supplement reviews page to learn more about bulk powders and branded products. There are also sports supplement reviews that can be found throughout the You-Reviews website.
Supplement Scams: How to Spot Them and Avoid Them
Finally, just how do you avoid supplement scams? We’ve already discussed the weight loss pill scam, as well as the way that certain sleep aids may be overcharging you. But what are the supplement scams?
These can include massive overcharging, outrageous claims and, occasionally, products that aren’t what they claim to be. Several studies have been done to show that pills claiming to contain products such as ginseng actually contained very little of the herb. This is an issue that happens industry wide and is all down to the lack of regulation.
The best way to get around it is by buying from reputable brands only and by buying bulk powders direct from the source. These bulk powders are much harder to fake than supplements that come as compressed tablets filled with all kinds of extra ingredients.
Some of the most common scams revolve around sites that sell completely made-up products, claiming that they are in fact some new kind of legal steroid. Others will just skip the fakery and claim to offer real steroids and illegal hormones for sale. These are nearly always scams and should be avoided. If you come across a site selling products that are “just like steroids” or are actually steroids, avoid. The latter is breaking the law and the former is just after your money.