The darker part of the industry is that in India, and other countries, there are numerous fake supplements that not only don’t give you the desired effects but also might actually harm you. We tell you how to spot a fake supplement.
As many of you know by now, the supplement game is not all gains and muscles. However, before diving into the how to identify fake supplement campaign lets understand why this phenomena tends to happen. Brands that are imported are just more expensive. Why? Import duty, customs, transportation and other overhead costs along with profit, are just a few of the causes. This means that if a supplement were to retain for 3500 rupees in the USA, it would retail here for 6-7000. This not only means that you are forced to shell out extra for the same product, but also means that students and teenagers, who mainly comprise of the main bodybuilding market, are forced to look for different options due to budget constraints.
One side of the coin would say when you are building a physique cost should not be a hindrance. Yeah, tell that to the student living in a PG, who gets his or her 3 square meals in a hostel mess. Apart from focusing on food, everybody thinks that supplements are the magical route to becoming huge. That my friend, is a classic supplement myth. Thus, mostly everyone who is not only about bodybuilding, tends to look elsewhere, meaning they look at cheap or fake supplements.
Now some of you might say “What’s wrong in a cheap or fake supplement?”. Well the most harmless thing about it is that it has the wrong ingredients. Wheat powder for whey protein and table salt for creatine supplements just to name a few which furthermore means you’re easily shelling out 2,000 or more for salt! That’s preposterous!
Additionally, in our quest to identify fake products, we need to see the most important danger they possess. Fake supplements sometimes will contain steroids. Not saying all the time, since steroids are expensive and this is a practice to cut costs but it happens occasionally when a company releases a new product. They put steroids to immediately give you effects so the supplement gets hyped and then remove them in the 2nd batch. As discussed, steroids work but have too many side effects like testicular atrophy, acne, and even extreme mood swings, to name a few. Simply put, having no supplements, is a better option than having fake supplements. Here’s how you identify them:
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The most important thing when understanding “how to detect fake supplements” is doing your research and check the labels. Fake supplements usually have different fonts, spelling mistakes, misalignment of logos and even wrong colors. Even the tagline may be incorrect so this is your first step to understand whether the supplement that you bought is fake or original.
Also, whats even baffling is that the nutritional labels are incorrect. Meaning sometimes fake supplements will list ingredients that weren’t put in the original to begin with. How do I know this? Because how to read nutrition labels is an asset that one should use to identify hidden calories and misconstrued ingredients.
I know this is standard practice for buying any product but this is where major supplement counterfeits slip. Usually the manufacture date for the said product is on the bottom of the jar, or on the side of the lid or rarely on the jar itself. Check all three, and if it’s not present, then the product is fake. The manufacture date itself needs to be logical as there are numerous products who have futuristic manufacture dates. Meaning some of them are made in 2019 while we sit and buy them in 2016. Speaking of which, the LOT number should also be checked. If the format is wrong, the supplement is fake.
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Continuing on our rules to detect fake bodybuilding supplements checking the seal is vital. There are two components that need to be observed. Firstly, the seal on the outside of the lid can be tampered with. Meaning if there are tears, if the holograms are incorrect or even if the seal arrangement is dubious, it’s best to stay away from that particular product. Secondly, once you open the supplement check if the under-seal is present or not. All supplement companies usually have an under-seal and if it’s not present, check if the original packaging is like this or not, if yes, the product has been tampered with.
The easiest way to identify a fake supplement is the hologram. Since many reputed brands logos are instantly recognizable, so if the incorrect hologram can mean two things. First, the logo/hologram in question is not correct and the second being the incorrect placement of the correct/incorrect logo. Yes, it does sound complicated but the motive here is to get you the best for your money’s worth.
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This is probably the last thing you should do, but do this if you can change the supplement. Here’s the thing. After mixing thoroughly in a blender, there’s literally no protein powder that doesn’t mix. If your supplement doesn’t mix, it’s fake. Also, if your protein powder tastes weird, I’d get it double checked. The thing about taste is that it’s subjective. That being said, the funky taste can mean the supplement stinks, it’s too sour and/or doesn’t match up to the flavor.
Top tip: Supplements like Glutamine and Creatine are tasteless if not purposely flavored. Their powders should taste the same. If not, change it or get it checked
The last testament in identifying a counterfeit product. A bar code and QR code are unique and thus difficult to replicate. Supplement counterfeiters will most likely use the same bar code. Don’t fall for this and check it online. The best way to stay ahead of the game is to be informed.