Why You Should Always Check The Ingredients Before Buying Muscle Building Supplements

Many fitness influencers and bodybuilders take supplements as a part of their fitness routine. When you think of supplements, you may envision pills and vitamins, but there are many products in the supplements industry, including things like protein powder and pre-workout. While many of these products are safe, some contain questionable ingredients that can lead to less-than-ideal side effects.

For example, many protein shakes contain added sugars (via Livestrong). It is recommended that men should consume no more than 36 grams of sugar per day and women should consume no more than 25 grams per day, but some protein shakes contain more than that amount in a single serving. Protein shakes sometimes contain vegetable oils and fats to make them more flavorful, which can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol (via Mindbodygreen). Other sports supplements may contain SARMs, which stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. This class of drugs has not been thoroughly tested and may increase your risk for certain health complications.

What to know about the unregulated supplement industry

Vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA (via HuffPost). This means that companies don't necessarily have to list how much of each ingredient is in their product. "Supplements, in general, are kind of an unregulated market. A lot of supplements are not FDA approved so we don't get a lot of research on them," said Michelle Henry, clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College. Although supplements are generally safe when taken in the correct dosage, people who are on medication or have low tolerances for certain ingredients need to be careful about which products they buy.

When taking any sports supplement, whether it is pre-workout, creatine, protein powder, or something else, it is important that you read through the ingredients and research any ones that you do not understand. You should also avoid products that contain blends of multiple ingredients, as these do not list how much of each ingredient is in the product. To stay extra safe, talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements, and only buy from brands that have been third-party tested by organizations like NSF or Informed Choice.