The truth about shop Vitamins and more...

  • By richard watson
  • 14 Sep, 2016

Top 10 Supplement Facts You Probably Didn't Know

The truth about vitamins

It is ironic that in this age of information, people continue to be confused about supplements. While in The UK alone, billions of pounds sterling are spent annually on vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other nutritional products, studies still show that people in all walks of life (including fitness professionals) need a good foundation in basic supplement information to help them make informed decisions about which products might best suit their individual needs. Because of this, the following is a list of what I feel are the top 10 supplements facts that can help save you time and money - and get the most out of the products you use.

Fact #1. Natural vitamins are not better than synthetic vitamins.

A common mistake made not only by the general public but also by many fitness professionals as well is that vitamins made in nature are superior to synthetically-made vitamins. The fact is that the chemical structure of synthetic and natural vitamins is basically identical. In other words, synthetic vitamin C looks the same as natural vitamin C. This means that your body cannot tell the difference between them. In some instances, the absorption of vitamins can differ between natural and synthetic, but this does not always favour natural vitamins. For example, folic acid, common among prenatal vitamins, is actually the synthetic version of the B vitamin, folate. Folic acid is used in prenatal vitamins because it is better absorbed.

Fact #2. Soy can help reduce cholesterol levels.

Many people have heard that soy may help cholesterol levels but most have no idea how much might help. For soy to have an impact on cholesterol, studies show between 25 to 50 grams of soy per day is going to be needed. So, those who are supplementing with soy-containing foods and/or supplements and not seeing a reduction in cholesterol may simply not be eating enough. Most soy products in the UK list the amount they contain on their labels, which makes it easy to track how much soy you are getting.

Keep in mind that most research for soy reducing cholesterol is on people who eat soy-containing foods. This leaves open the possibility that isolated soy ingredients , often found in supplements, may not have the same effect as eating soy itself. Regardless, if soy is going to help, it is important to combine it with a diet that is also low in saturated fat to obtain the best results.
food supplements
Choosing the right supplements

Fact #3. Vitamins do not give us energy.

Some people may take massive amounts of vitamins (especially B vitamins) in the hopes that they will provide more pep to get through hectic days. This is why you often see a lot of B vitamins in energy drinks. However, a problem arises when it becomes known that vitamins do not contain any usable energy (calories). Vitamins do help us extract energy from food and process it. In a malnourished person, such vitamins may indeed help, but for those who eat an even halfway decent diet, vitamins alone are unlikely to improve energy levels. Remember, vitamins and food work in concert with each other to keep us healthy and provide us with the energy we need.

Fact #4. Glucosamine may help arthritis.

Many studies over the last several years found that glucosamine may help reduce arthritis-related pain. For glucosamine to work, you must have osteoarthritis. Of the over 100 types of arthritis known to exist, osteoarthritis is the most common and results when the cartilage between bones wears away. This is the type of arthritis that responds to glucosamine. While the degree of osteoarthritis and length of time you have it may impact success with this nutrient, studies tend show that four to eight weeks of glucosamine supplementation may be needed before results are observed. For best results, look for glucosamine sulfate as this form has the most evidence that it might help.

Fact #5. Natural does not always mean safe.

A common mantra repeated on many web sites today is that because supplements are natural, they are automatically safe for everyone. On the contrary, some supplements, if used by the wrong people may have significant side effects. For example, St. John’s wort, which is typically used for depression, may interact with not only antidepressant drugs but also those used to treat cancer and AIDS. Vitamin E might reduce the blood’s ability to clot. This is the reason why doctors typically tell their patients to stop using vitamin E before surgery. While many supplements are indeed safe, it is also true that people should know what they put in their bodies.

Fact #6. To build the most muscle, eat your protein after working out.

Frequently, I am asked the question, “When is the best time to eat protein, before or after exercise?” While your body will absorb protein no matter when you eat it, new research suggests that after exercise may be better than before exercise. In a study of older individuals who lifted weights, researchers found that people who ate protein immediately after exercise built more muscle than seniors who ate protein two hours later. While this study investigated the effects of protein and strength training in seniors, there is little reason to doubt that the same effect would not be seen in younger persons. If you like to eat protein before exercise, that’s fine. Just remember to also eat some protein (and carbs) preferably within 30 to 60 minutes after exercise to get the best results.

Fact #7. The government does regulate supplements.

It’s often stated that the UK government doesn’t regulate supplements. In reality, it does, but the regulations are different than those used for medications. The government has a very lengthy definition to describe what can and cannot be called a “supplement.” While this does allow for a wide range of products to be sold, the definition does have limits. For example, some hormones are not permitted to be sold as supplements. Another stipulation is that supplement companies cannot make specific claims that a product can treat or cure any diseases or conditions. Doing so might confuse people and make the product appear to be like a drug.

In contrast, supplement labels can list what are called structure/function claims. These claims make reference to how a supplement is involved in helping the body. For example, the claim that a supplement helps keep bones strong is a structure/function claim. Structure/function claims are pretty easy to identify because they usually contain words like supports aids or maintains.

Fact #8. You CAN absorb more than 40 grams of protein at a time.

There is an urban legend circulating through some fitness circles that maintains that people can only absorb a certain amount of protein per meal. Usually, people say this amount is about 40 grams. This may be why some protein bars and shakes usually do not contain much more than this amount. Regardless, while we can indeed utilize more than 40 grams of protein per meal, the real question is whether or not all of that protein is going to build and maintain muscle. This is a much harder question to answer and depends on your exercise routine, how often you work out and how much rest you get, to name a few.

Fact #9. Extra vitamins will not make you a better athlete.

While a good quality multivitamin is probably something to consider, many studies have found that extra vitamins do not make people stronger, faster or improve any exercise-related activity. As a rule, people who exercise regularly tend to eat more food and make healthier food choices overall. Food is also a very good source of vitamins. So the more food people are eating, the more vitamins they tend to eat as well.

Fact #10. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you might still benefit from supplements.

Sometimes people email me and ask, “Do I need supplements if I eat well”? It turns out that the answer appears to depend on who you are. Research shows that some supplements may benefit certain groups of people when used above what is normally consumed in a typical diet. For example, it is well known that as people grow older, they tend to eat less. This can have disastrous consequences by leading to muscle and strength loss and a reduced quality of life. Some new research is finding that the branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) can stimulate appetite in older adults. Potentially, if you can stimulate appetite, this might lead to stronger muscles and a better chance of remaining independent to a ripe old age. Another example is the amino acid glutamine. Studies tend to show that when consumed at higher amounts than is normally eaten, glutamine may lead to shorter hospital stays and increased body weight in some cancer patients.

There is no doubt that for most people, a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and grains is still a great first step to staying healthy. For those who have special needs or concerns or who want to see what else they can do to stay fit, a quality-made supplement may be something to discuss with your physician.


  1. Anderson JW et al. (1995). Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids. New England Journal of Medicine, 333,5,276-282.
  2. Cannon, Joe (2006). Nutritional Supplements: What Works and Why. A Review from A to Zinc and Beyond.
  3. Dietary Supplement Health and Education act of 1994.
  4. Esmarck B et al. (2001). Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 535,1,301-311.
  5. Kleiner, S. (1998). Power Eating. Human Kinetics.
  6. McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., Katch, V. L. (1999). Sport & Exercise Nutrition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Richy F et al. (2003). Structural and symptomatic efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin in knee osteoarthritis: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163,1514-1522.
Sports Therapist Richard Watson

Richard Watson

Sports Therapist

Richard is a leading sports therapist in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, he has worked at the Olympic and Paralympic games 2012 treating the many athletes competing. Richard has been involved in many major sporting projects including treating and training a team that took on an accent of Everest. He currently runs his own Sports Therapy company providing local athletes with sports massage and personal training.

In The Zone

By richard watson 29 Nov, 2017

The weekend is the time when we all get relaxed, and maybe a little too relaxed with our diets, but it's important to realize that you can still enjoy yourself and keep on track by making a few slight adjustments.

During the week, it is much easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle because you slip into a routine that you get used to and many of us are on autopilot – gym, work, eat, sleep, repeat; but the weekend is a different animal altogether.

The problem is that on the weekend, the textbook simply goes out the window.  It’s the weekend!

You’ve been waiting all week to cheat, but what you need to realize is that you’re doing more harm than good.

Being proactive about your health and making every day count means that you need to iron out all of the creases, and when it comes to your diet and training that normally means prioritizing the weekend and stopping yourself from bingeing.

By richard watson 17 Nov, 2017
Having a shaped, toned body is the primary goal for many gym-goers. However, many are fed countless ‘guaranteed-not-to-fail’ strategies on how to quickly shed fat and attain the perfect look. Such mixed advice often leads to confusion, frustration, and a general feeling of ‘back to the drawing board.’ we understand that every one of us is different, and a ‘one size fits all’ approach just won’t do. So, we’ve designed a healthy, sustainable and evidence-based guide filled with tips to help you efficiently and safely get the look you want.
By richard watson 04 Oct, 2017

Strength training comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you incorporate slight adjustments to your gym routine you’ll find that it’ll be both rewarding and beneficial.

If you have plateaued and you're not  seeing results any more; this will lead you to frustration and in the end you will start having negative results and thoughts.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Strength training comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you have slight adjustments to your gym workouts you’ll find that it’ll be both rewarding and beneficial. We have listed 7 different ways in which you can alter your training workout to suit your needs and the needs of your body, which will help you adapt and in turn you will start to see gains in your training.

By richard watson 24 Aug, 2017

What if we told you that top athletes suffer from the same thing as you do? Inflammation happens to everyone; it is part of our body’s natural response to training and damaged tissues and also plays a role in the immune system response. With modern day advances in sport science we are now able to see just how much inflammation you’re likely to feel from a strenuous bout of activity through the analysis of your genes.


A DNA Kit test will look at four genetic inflammatory markers - IL6, IL6R, CRP and TNF. Variations in these genes give us a clue if you are predisposed to suffer significantly higher levels or slightly lower levels of inflammation. Knowing your predisposition of this biological phenomenon can make big alteration to your training and even more so to your recovery strategies which dictate your training schedule and ultimately your goals.


Acute inflammation is important for healing; however excessive inflammation can result in prolonged feelings of soreness, tenderness, swelling, and also in a loss of function (reduces ROM or range of motion) and could even result in allergies and chronic diseases. There are various strategies that can be used to help decrease acute and chronic inflammation like sports massage therapy , but for the purpose of today's blog we will be looking at foods that can help in the role of decreasing inflammation in our body:

By richard watson 18 Aug, 2017

For those people who know me will tell you I am the most skeptical person out there when it comes to new products and fad diets to aid fitness training and weight management. I go to lots of trade fairs and seminars and see lots of new products, most of the time I have made my mind up within 20 seconds. Science has to prove it works for me to believe in something, it’s the way I run my business as a sports therapist and the way I train myself.


I first saw the DNA fitness tests in 2013 at a trade show; it was not something I was interested in at the time so I walked on by. However, after seeing these tests repeatedly pop up on trade and fitness magazines I started to take more of an interest.


Over the years I’ve personally battled with injuries from playing sport and had to deal with my own weight issues while being off sport recovering from injury. It’s what got me in to my now profession as a sports therapist; I help many athletes recover, prepare and condition their bodies ready for their events.


As a sports person you are always looking for that extra legal edge, that extra bit that will gain you a few seconds off your personal best or just be able to train and diet better for a healthier lifestyle. So I felt that taking the DNA Diet Fitness Pro test was really worthwhile.


The reports included an abundance of manageable and easily understandable information about my DNA and also provided focused and implementable advice, which wasn’t just based on eating less and exercising more. I was particularly impressed with the strength of the connections DNAFit made between my genetics and the practical implications the results might have in terms of my diet and fitness.


I would recommend this test to anyone interested in improving their health and fitness, regardless of whether you’re a complete beginner or training for a marathon.

By richard watson 10 Apr, 2017

There has been a huge increase in interest in cycling over recent years as more people become aware of the health and fitness benefits’ cycling achieves, as well as its advantages as a fast and economical means of transport. Studio cycling has also grown and has been identified as one of the most popular group exercise formats in clubs worldwide.

By richard watson 01 Mar, 2017

Good bacteria can help you lose weight

For every probiotic evangelist there are several that sneered at the idea that these ‘good bacteria’ products did anything other than leave a big whole in your pocket. But according to a recent study, probiotics are very much more than a health food gimmick.

Probiotics, which are available as yoghurts, drinks and pills, contain so called ‘good’ bacteria that manufacturers claim aid digestive health and boost the immune system.

But the jury remained out – until now when a study has found that they do have many health benefits, including proving effective medicines and helping to control weight.

But you need to need to use the probiotics every day to see any benefits and you should be mindful of the sugar content (it’s best to opt for a pill over yoghurt) which will negate any of the benefits.

By richard watson 06 Feb, 2017

The definition of motivation is that which gives the impetus to behaviour by arousing, sustaining and directing it towards the successful attainment of goals. Abraham Maslow (1954) proposed that we all have a hierarchy of needs, the most basic being physiological needs such as food, and the highest needs being those related to self-fulfillment. Motivation directs behaviour – it organizes behaviour towards a particular goal state. It maintains behaviour until that goal is achieved.


The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 26 miles and 385 yards that is usually run as a road race. The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are contested throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes. Larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.

By richard watson 05 Jan, 2017

Although, all of the information that is presented in this article is geared toward the benefits and/or effectiveness of anaerobic high intensity interval training (HIIT) vs. low intensity aerobic training with regards to fat utilization, there is an understanding that some reasons for aerobic training supersede the outcomes. For the sake of pure enjoyment, personal goal setting (training for a triathlon, marathon, road race, etc), and the challenge of competition are all viable and respectable reasons for interacting with long slow distance (LSD) activities. For many people these types of activities are suitable for their lifestyle and enjoyable means of living an active life. The goal of this article is not to discount or diminish the value of physical activity in all its modalities, but to merely present data with regards to optimum fat loss, hormonal indicators, and other factors of cardiovascular and cardio respiratory markers as they pertain to exercise intensity prescription.

By richard watson 01 Nov, 2016
Cancers are classified as a family of related diseases that result from uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells5 that usually become a tumor. The most common causes of cancer related deaths in the United Kingdom are seen in Figure 1 below.The evidence linking low levels of physical activity and an increased potential for development of cancer is growing. More studies are focused on determining if physical activity can be used as a preventative measure in the incidence of cancer.

Figure 1: The 9 Most Common Causes of Cancer Death in 2014

Number of Deaths per Year, All Ages, UK

Cancer Site                Male           Female       Persons
Lung (C33-C34)       19,563       16,332         35,895
Bowel (C18-C20)       8,566          7,337         15,903
Breast (C50)                       73        11,360        11,433
Prostate (C61)          11,287                               11,287
Pancreas (C25)           4,426          4,391           8,817
Oesophagus (C15)   5,213          2,577          7,790
Bladder (C67)              3,614          1,755          5,369
Brain                                2,881          2,342          5,223
Liver (C22)                    3,055          2,036          5,091
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