The manufacture and sale of dietary supplements is a $25+billion per year industry. Sorting through the marketing claims, research, andhype for the 29,000+ dietary supplements available can be difficult and oftenconfusing. This is particularly true considering there is a great deal ofmisinformation that makes many supplements look and sound like miracles. Yourclients are certainly asking about the latest, greatest products that may helpthem improve in some way, shape or form. What supplements work? Which do not? Arethey safe? Who should use what and do they need anything at all? Here are three easy steps on how to evaluate any dietary supplement on the market.

    1. Are therelegitimate mechanisms associated with the supplement?
    The purpose of a dietary supplement is to improve something --performance, focus, fat loss, strength, etc. Ask yourself, then, if thesupplement in question is necessary for the reaction to occur, may enhance thespeed of the reaction or will do anything to change what normally goes on inthe body. How can you tell? Well, it takes a little background research andreading. As a knowledgeable trainer, you should be at least generally informedabout the major pathways (glycolysis, etc) and have a general understanding ofmetabolism.

    2. Is thisproduct safe?
    Many supplements have hundreds if not thousands of studieslooking at their safety and efficacy -- carbohydrate, creatine and omega-3's forexample. Others may have none. Safety is of course first priority and finding areliable resource to ascertain safety is important. Google isn't your best "scientific" resource. Find a reliable resource, seek out the help of aqualified dietitian, and have a go to easy tool that is perfect when yourclients grill you about the latest products.

    3. Are therestudies on the particular supplement or ingredients?
    Dietarysupplements are being developed, improved and launched practically every singleday. Unfortunately, well-conducted scientific studies take much longer thanthis. A good place to start when searching for these studies is PubMed (,a free resource that gives access to thousands of studies.

    This is a basic list of questions that should be answeredprior to taking any dietary supplement. Of course no supplement will replacereal food and none are the magic bullets often promised. Dietary supplementsare called supplements for a reason -- they are intended to supplement wholefoods in the diet. Nodietary supplement can or will ever be able to replace what can be obtainedthrough the diet. Consuming adequate energy and fluidsshould be the first concern. Dietary supplements should then fill in the verytip of the "iceberg," but only if they are proven to be safe, legal andbeneficial.

    Dr. Chris Mohr created Dietary Supplement University, theone-stop resource for many of the most popular supplements your clients areasking about and using. Every vitamin, mineral and many popular supplements arereviewed in this popular resource all at your fingertips. Visit www.DietarySupplementU.comto let Dr. Mohr do all the dietary supplement "dirty work" for you.