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Unrealistic claims of the supplement industry

Our understanding of fitness and bodybuilding supplements have come a long way. Today it’s generally understood that protein powders and creatine monohydrate are the only 2 supplements that can enhance your performance, with other supplements providing marginal or negligible benefits.

During the 90s and early 2000s, claims of supplement manufacturers were incredibly far-fetched, similar to the claims of bodybuilding courses sold in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Soon enough people develop an understanding of what’s realistic, rendering these claims ineffective. Few people today believe you can build a “he-man-muscled body” with no exercise at all.

As the fitness and bodybuilding supplement industry grew in the 90s and 2000s, the general public had little exposure to their products, providing an opportunity for manufacturers to make some incredible claims.

One of these manufacturers was Muscletech. The company attempted to make their ads sound complex, giving potential customers the impression that the rampant use of scientific terminology could be equated with the supplement’s efficacy.

Muscletech CELL-Tech

Unsurprisingly, customers didn’t achieve the “23 pounds of mass” that CELL-Tech ads would have you believe were possible. CELL-Tech was just one of Muscletech’s products that didn’t just push the envelope in its claims, but pretty much tore it to pieces.

While Muscletech was the supplement company that faced much of the backlash once people started developing more awareness of the industry’s practices, it wasn’t the only company making dubious claims.

M1T2 - The successor to methyl-1-testosterone

When Bodybuilding.com announced a successor to M1T (methyl-1-testosterone), the hype for M1T2 was huge. M1T, a steroid, had been Bodybuilding.com’s best-selling product but would have to be discontinued because of the prohormone ban on 1st January 2005.

M1T2 was hyped as “a product so powerful that it would be worthy of bearing the M1T name”. But something was off. When the product was released for sale, the ingredient list was – to put it mildly – a letdown.

M1T2 ingredient list

Even back in 2005, people knew tribulus terrestris to be largely ineffective. Adding more herbs to the mix was likely to make little, if any, difference. Nonetheless, some people purchased M1T2 and logged their experiences in forum posts. Results of these logs suggested M1T2 didn’t live up to its expectations. Within a few months, the hype was gone. Another product of the 2000s overhyped, this time riding on the success of a banned steroid.

While people were getting smart to the tricks of the industry by the mid 2000s, the unrealistic claims wouldn’t stop just yet. Enter the anabolic flavones.

Ecdysterone or 20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone

Anabolic flavones such as Ecdysterone (20-beta-hydroxyecdysterone) and Methoxyisoflavone (5-methyl-7-methoxy-isoflavone) were non-hormonal supplements that supposedly provided steroid-like effects, or as Bodybuilding.com said: “the single most important advancement in bodybuilding since steroids.”

Ecdysterone results

Ecdysterone was promoted as a supplement capable of reducing fat by 10% and increasing lean muscle by 7% in just 10 days, but much like the hype with M1T2, the hype with anabolic flavones withered away as people soon learned the claims didn’t align with reality.

In an almost amusing turn of events, anabolic flavones have appeared to make a comeback with manufacturers selling Turkesterone as a new breakthrough discovery in bodybuilding supplementation. With insufficient evidence to suggest Turkesterone provides any muscle building benefits, is the cycle repeating itself?

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