Part 2: The complete beginners guide to supplements.

Part 2: The complete beginners guide to supplements.

May 12th, 2020

4-KEY Points in picking the right product

Therapeutic Dosing

Therapeutic dosing is the first key point to look for when choosing a product. To simplify this, understand that all products have a certain amount of ingredients. Those ingredients have a certain dosage which gives us a desirable outcome. E.g 200-300mg of caffeine for energy.

For the product to work effectively, each ingredient must have the right amount. Let’s use our pre-workout for example.

Label Transparency

Label Transparency is another key indicator when looking for a good, clean product. The idea behind label transparency is that it shows you exactly how much and what is in the product. This is key because it ensures the brand is being upfront and honest with what they are using and also that you know exactly what and how much you are putting into your body.

As you can see, all the ingredients are listed with the corresponding amount. The reason that label transparency is so important is it can clearly show you exactly how much of a certain ingredient you are getting. When combining multiple products, some ingredients may overlap, this can cause you to consume to much of one ingredient which could lead to side-effects.

Natural Ingredients

When it comes to turning a protein powder, pre workout, or intra workout into an amazing tasting drink, you have to wonder, what is actually being used to make it taste like this?

At revival we blend our own flavours and know how difficult it is to make things taste good. It is an incredibly expensive, tedious and important process of the product because let’s face it, if it doesn’t taste good, we won’t drink it (for long).

Majority of companies turn to artificial ingredients to do this because they are cheap, powerful and effective. The only issue is they cause adverse effects.

When flavouring products, natural ingredients are the best we have at this stage, in terms of health. They are more expensive, less potent then the artificial ones but seem to take less of a toll on our bodies.

When looking at a product, check the ingredient panel. Below is an example of our pre workout, you can see it contains only natural flavours, colours and sweeteners.

Ingredient safety

This is one of the most important things you should be considering when purchasing supplements. You would assume, a “health” supplement would not contain any ingredients that could do you harm. But that is unfortunately not the case.

When looking at your product, ask yourself, does this contain safe ingredients and are they at a safe amount?

A great way to choose your products is to see how well researched and studied they are. If you look at a product and it has the commonly used ingredients such as citrulline malate, beta alanine, and creatine, this is a good sign. That’s because all of these have massive amounts of studies on them. Remember to use examine as a reference. Also keep in mind the ingredient dosage, 200-300mg of caffeine is great! 400-500mg of caffeine not so great.



  • Therapeutic dosing is the amount of a certain ingredient in the product. By doing research on the individual ingredient, you can see for yourself if there is enough in the product to work effectively.
  • Label transparency is where the brand makes full disclosures on its label of what and how much of the ingredient they use. This is key for ensuring you don’t overdose on any ingredient when using multiple supplements.
  • Natural ingredients are the best alternative when flavouring products, using artificial ingredients can cause unwanted side effects.
  • Ingredient safety is one of the most important things to consider, as consuming dangerous or banned ingredients can do more harm than good.

4-KEY points in avoiding the wrong product


Underdosed products are plentiful in the supplement industry. This is how many supplement brands, including the large ones make so much profit. It is a common terminology known as “pixie dusting”.

The idea behind pixie dusting is that the brand will put in an ingredient that is well known and popular such as Citrulline Malate. Studies indicate that you need between 6000mg-8000mg to be effective.

Now many brands will put in less then this because its cost effective. They can still use a quality ingredient and save some money in doing so. To be honest though, its expensive to put in 8000mg of Citrulline Malate… but the results are amazing and if you can get a product with this, you will definitely notice a completely different feeling from say 3000mg compared to 8000mg of Citrulline malate.

Below is a great example of a product that is underdosing across the entire ingredient list, by over 50%.

These ingredients at this dosage will not give you any benefits and might as well not even be in the product. You are basically consuming expensive flavoured water.

Proprietary blends

A "proprietary blend" is a combination of ingredients used only by one supplement manufacturer. No other company makes the exact same combination of ingredients, and, in most cases, you don't know from the label the exact amounts of each ingredient in that blend as defined by WebMD.

As you can see, this brand has called their proprietary blend “Go Matrix” with a total of 8 ingredients in 3,635mg. Now when reading this, the idea is that the top ingredient “Creatine” should have the largest dosage, followed by “Glycine” and so on…

If you did a very basic search of these ingredients you would know you need at least, 5000mg of creatine, 3000mg of beta-alanine, 6000-8000mg of Citrulline Malate. The numbers don’t lie, you can see how much you are getting ripped off.

Many supplement brands are doing this to cut corners and save costs. As I mentioned earlier, this would give you no benefits when taking and essentially worthless.

Artificial ingredients

Some artificial ingredients can be deceptively nasty when consuming. When looking at these ingredients in supplements you want to focus on

  • Artificial flavouring
  • Artificial colouring
  • Artificial sweeteners

Artificial flavouring is chemically made in a laboratory and the supplier does not need to disclose how it’s made or what it made from. Its difficult to assess the dangers and risks here but one can make an educated guess and say its probably not as health focused as natural flavouring.

Check out this article to see the health risk when using artificial flavours.

Possible side effects when using artificial flavouring

  • headache
  • nausea
  • chest pain
  • seizure
  • cancer
  • central nervous system damage
  • respiratory / circulatory depression
  • kidney damage
  • brain damage


Artificial colouring(dye) is a big one, these are used to colour the product and are super powerful. You only need a very tiny amount to make the product very colourful. This might look nice but comes with some startling evidence that’s suggests it can be dangerous for our health.

Check out this article to see the health risks when using these colours.

This is a list of the artificial colours being used in supplements.

-       FD&C Blue No. 1

-       FD&C Blue No. 2

-       FD&C Green No. 3

-       FD&C Red No. 3

-       FD&C Red No. 40

-       FD&C Yellow No. 5

-       FD&C Yellow No. 6

Possible side effects when using artificial colours

  • Chromosomal damage
  • Brain tumours
  • Bladder tumours
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lymphomas
  • Thyroid tumours
  • Neurochemical and behaviour effects
  • Aggressive and violent behaviour
  • Allergies

Artificial sweeteners are also another one to be careful of, with the age of 0 calorie products, you must wonder how does it taste so sweet with no sugar? Well that is sweeteners come in and most of the time artificial ones are being used.

Check out this article to see the health risks when using these sweeteners.

This is a list of the artificial sweeteners being used.

  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Sucralose

When considering your next supplement just keep in mind how has it been flavoured, is it artificial or natural? Artificial ingredients as shown can be very serious but it is likely to occur over a longer period of time. If your thinking of being healthy for a while, I would consider using products that use natural ingredients.

Dangerous or banned ingredients.

If there is any part of this guide you should pay attention, this is probably the most important one. The difference between unhealthy ingredients such as artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners and dangerous/banned ingredients is HUGE.

The dangerous/banned ingredients will almost cause an immediate response from your body which is likely to be negative and possibly life threatening.

It’s unfortunate but there are brands out there that use very dangerous or banned ingredients in their products. Not only do they use dangerous ingredients, but they use them at high dosages.

The reason brands use these ingredients is because they are catering to a specific market who are addicted to stimulants. We all know that person in the gym who appears to be going crazy… its likely they have just consumed a large number of stimulants.

The problem with this is that what goes up, must come down, and in this case the user will have a massive crash. This also puts unnecessary pressure on your organs such as your heart, liver and kidneys to process it all.

To stay up to date with what is banned, check out the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA) prohibited list to get an idea of what is banned.

Some of the commonly banned and dangerous ingredients include

  • 1,3-dimethylamylamine (1,3-DMAA)
  • 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (1,3-DMBA)
  • 1,4-dimethylamylamine (1,4-DMAA)
  • Octodrine
  • Higenamine
  • Eria Jarensis
  • 2 Amino 5 Methylhexane
  • Yohimbine HCL
  • 2 Amino 6 Isoheptane
  • Caffeine (400mg+)

Example of a pre-workout supplement

You really need to take purchasing supplements seriously… if you accidently stumble across products like this and consume it, you could have some serious issues, maybe even life threatening.

You will need to spend time occasionally looking up ingredients you don’t know, because the industry is changing so rapidly, manufacturers are tweaking the chemical structure of these ingredients making them technically “legal to sell”.

At revival we always aim to educate our customers so they understand what they are using and how it will affect them.

Written by Zachary Harrison

Reading next

Part 1: The complete beginners guide to supplements.
Part 3: The complete beginners guide to supplements.