The world of supplements can appear convoluted as companies jockey for consumers’ attention and business. The FDA, WADA, NCAA and more have pushed for more and more transparency, along with stricter standards when it comes to what goes in supplements, and what should stay out.
The challenge isn’t regulation so much as getting companies on board with prioritizing using only safe, effective ingredients to begin with. Even if a company is caught using banned ingredients, many times the damage is done to an athletes reputation or a person's health.
On top of that, there are companies out there that, unfortunately, include banned substances and/or unsafe ingredients just because they think that’ll give them the competitive and/or financial edge and they don’t care if they get shut down. They are not in the business for the long haul or ultimate good to help people with their gains and health. The good news is that there are good, honest companies out there with products safe enough for even children to take, and they’re also powerful and clean enough for Olympic athletes. And on top of that, they work great.
Telling the Good From the Bad
Many athletes have lost their eligibility due to supplements containing banned substances that resulted in a positive drug test. And no, they weren’t purposely using performance-enhancing drugs, doping, or anything illegal in nature. They simply took products that contained ingredients not listed on the label.
In an article published in JAMA, Pieter Cohen, et al, found that 66.7% of recalled supplements were still available for purchase at least six months after FDA recalls for products contaminated with banned ingredients. Six months. Enforcing the regulation of banned substances has and still is a huge challenge.
The FDA recalled 274 dietary supplements over a 3 years period. Over half of them contained drugs that would make an athlete or employee taking a drug test pop dirty. Banned substances identified in recalled supplements included sibutramine, sibutramine analogs, sildenafil, fluoxetine, phenolphthalein, aromatase inhibitors, and various anabolic steroids.
WADA has a full breakdown of all the banned substances HERE. Their lists include what’s prohibited all the time, during competition, and in particular sports. It is a tough read but the formulators and athletes from Gains in Bulk have spent years learning this information and countless athletes from the Olympics and professionals count on their expertise.
Gains In Bulk has made it a priority since its inception to leave every last banned substance, questionable content, and harmful ingredient out. If it’s not proven by research to have any health benefits, then it doesn’t belong in our products. We believe real gains come from real effort.
What Isn't in Gains In Bulk Products?
Since our whole-food based supplements only contain ingredients proven by research and scientific evidence, we don’t ever put ourselves in a position to have to backpedal, recall products, or redo formulas. We use only pure nutrients and will never use ingredients banned by the FDA, WADA, or NCAA.
One of the most problematic banned ingredients recently has been DMAA, which was a questionable ingredient from the get-go. Gains never used it but others did. And then it became a banned substance and we witnessed over 10 athletes fail a drug test. All they did was take a pre-workout that was a few months older and still contained this chemical. You never have to worry about this with Gains in Bulk.
For example, when our Instantized Creatine comes back to us from third-party testing, the results show 102% creatine… How is this possible? What the FDA calls 100% creatine, actually allows for a percentage of impurities and fillers. Our Instantized Creatine contains zero detectable impurities or fillers and comes with a certificate of analysis with each order.
Banned Ingredients Aren't the Only Thing to Worry About
Here’s a rundown of ingredients you won’t find on the WADA list but we still make a point to keep out of our products:
Synthetic Color/Flavor/Smell/Texture - Every last ingredient in this column, including xanthan gum, can cause bloating, constipation and gas. They are like glue in the digestive system.
Corn Maltodextrin is a highly processed additive used as a filler, thickener, or preservative. Its inclusion offers nothing nutritious and has actually been shown to spike blood sugar levels, suppresses the growth of probiotics, and often causes allergic reactions.
Synthetic Fillers/Flow Agents - Flow agents are used to allow powders to flow properly into capsules or bottles. The most popular agents are synthetically made in the lab, like magnesium stearate. Gains only uses plant-based magnesium. The key is using plant-based ingredients Research on testosterone levels and thyroid function show that synthetic ingredients and chemicals lower the body's natural anabolic and metabolic function.
Casein - This is perhaps the biggest no-no ingredient of protein powders. Studies show a strong correlation between casein consumption and a rise in incidences of diabetes. Milk protein concentrate is a highly processed protein derived from cow’s milk. This might be a bit controversial because whey is also from dairy but yet its amino acid structure doesn’t cause diabetes, unlike casein.
Gluten - The ever-changing farming methods, use of pesticides, and processing whole wheat into white flour products have given way to the rise of gluten sensitivity. Food sensitivities to gluten can elevate inflammation in some people and cause a range of health problems including hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, fatigue, mood swings, and headaches.
Artificial Sweeteners - Artificial sweeteners come under many names, including sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin. They rose in popularity due to having zero calories, but the hard reality is that artificial sweeteners are just chemicals; not nutrients. Several negative side effects can come from ingesting these ingredients, including headaches, migraines, gastric distress such as bloating, acid reflux, and weight gain. Over half of your immune-building and serotonin-creating probiotics are destroyed by consuming sucralose.
Hydrogenated Fats - Hydrogenation has been called the worst stage of oil processing because it drastically changes natural oils by saturating them with hydrogen atoms. Though proven to render these fats extremely harmful, the food industry continues to use this process because it allows manufacturers to create cheap products.
What's Actually in Gains In Bulk Products?
Our ingredients are balanced out to deliver the necessary amounts of nutrients with each serving. There’s the long-standing belief--especially amongst bodybuilders--that if some is good, then more is better.
When it comes to supplementing, this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The right amount is good. More is potentially harmful based on the nutrient. Although most supplements don’t give enough of a nutrient to be effective, sometimes the opposite is true and there is no consideration of toxicity.
Here is what we put into our products:
Clean, Digestible Macronutrients - The protein, carbohydrates and fats used by Gains In Bulk are all easy to digest and deliver the amino acids, fatty acids and energy to your cells for maximum gains.
Natural Sweeteners - Not everything tastes great plain, so when something needs to taste sweet we use stevia and monk fruit.
Whole Food Nutrients - This is something that other supplement companies either skip or do on the cheap side by using synthetically made vitamins instead of ones created by nature.
Synthetic vitamins rob your body of nutrients. They are incomplete versions of the whole, natural nutrient, which forces the body to use its own reserves to complete it. Numerous research studies have shown that synthetic vitamins have damaging effects.
Minerals follow the same vein of healthy-versus-unhealthy. You can’t eat dirt and expect to gain anything nutritious. The minerals in the dirt must be absorbed by plants, which then turn minerals into an organic form, and then we finally eat. Gains uses natural, organic minerals.
The Right Amount of Everything - Since we use whole food nutrients and implement our patented predigestion process, we don’t have to add extra of anything. Other companies have to give you massive doses due to poor absorption, which means you’re almost literally throwing money down the toilet and putting excess pressure on your system due to trying to break it down.
Disclaimer: Although Gains In Bulk’s products are approved by the strictest drug testing standards, the NCAA does not endorse any dietary supplements, and athletes take them at their own risk. (This is however why Gains In Bulk goes to such great lengths to ensure purity for athletes that want the performance benefits of supplements in the safest way)
Gains In Bulk makes every effort to ensure every last product and ingredient is supported by science, WADA compliant, and FDA compliant. We wait for ample research before formulating a new product or adding it to an existing one, and we use only natural and whole food ingredients, in just the right amounts research shows to be effective.
All this means you can be a high school, college, professional or Olympic athlete and rest easy knowing our supplements are safe, too.