Why Supplements Aren't As Safe As You Might Think

New research suggests a shocking percentage of over-the-counter supplements contain banned substances.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Stat of the week

  • You might be doping (and don’t even know it)

  • 2024 Mindset: start at the end

  • Arnold talks Ozempic, a bigger pump, and his favorite character

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Stat of the Week

Building muscle might be the secret to a longer life.

In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, scientists found that women over 65 with more muscle (in their arms and legs) were 63 times less likely to die early than those with more muscle mass.

Men with more muscle mass were 11 times less likely to die earlier than those who weren’t as muscular.

You Might Be Doping (And You Don’t Even Know It) 

We’ve tried to help you navigate the oftentimes deceptive supplement industry. But in case you didn’t hear us, here’s another warning (and some guidance). 

Research suggests that nearly one-third of over-the-counter supplements contain banned supplements. These substances included anabolic steroids, stimulants, and hormone modulators, all of which are prohibited by various sports organizations.

The findings from this study serve as a sobering reminder that blindly trusting the labels on dietary supplements may come at a significant cost. The supplement industry has more loopholes than you can imagine, and supplement manufacturers are not required to test their products for banned substances. 

Unknowingly taking a banned substance could lead to problems such as hormonal disruption or increased risk to your organs and cardiovascular system.

That’s not to say all supplements are bad — several can serve a purpose. But they are supplemental and won’t do much if you haven’t built good foundational habits around exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress reduction. If you decide to use supplements, we recommend avoiding brands that don’t invest in third-party certification because you can’t necessarily trust the ingredient label (The FDA allows supplement companies to self-govern the accuracy of their labels). 

If you want to take supplements and have peace of mind, buy products with third-party certifications such as NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Sport. Our go-to resource for safe supplements is Momentous, which has its products certified for both.

We have a high bar for supplements because — as we’ve pointed out — most brands are hard to trust. Momentous creates the highest quality on the market, which is why their products are used by more than 90 percent of the teams in the NFL, and they have 10 research contracts with the US military focusing on high performance, nutrition, and cognition.

As a bonus for being a member of the Pump Club, you receive 20% OFF your order when using the code PUMPCLUB.

2024 Mindest: Start At The End

From Adam: We’ve had many people ask how to turn their vision into a reality. We’ve shared the importance of focusing on fewer habits and making your actions doable. The final piece is seeing how you fail — before it actually occurs. Here’s a behavioral change technique that might make a big difference in the new year.

“Many problems can’t be solved forward.” 

I think about this quote from the late Charlie Munger whenever I take on a big project or a long-term goal. And it might be the best advice I can offer you to ensure a greater likelihood of achieving your resolutions. 

Goal setting is usually relentlessly optimistic. And we’re all about positivity. But, if you want to plan for success, you must prepare for failure. 

The stats show that approximately 90 percent of people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. And a big reason why is that you don’t plan for the worst-case scenario.

As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” 

Some hits you can’t see coming. They will take you from the blindside, and you’ll need the resilience and grit to bounce back. But, most of the punches you can see coming, either because you’ve been hit before or you know the opponent.

As you prepare for the year ahead, I encourage you to anticipate when and where life will hit the hardest. And then make sure your plan helps you protect against those moments so that if and when they hit, they don’t hurt as much — or at all.

When you set goals, resolutions, or your vision, take the time to fast forward 3, 6, or 12 months and ask — how will this go wrong? It’s a big part of what I taught in You Can’t Screw This Up and why people who use the tools go from never eating healthy to finally figuring things out.

Planning for your failures isn’t a negative mindset. It’s a positive approach that helps you become more resilient during tough times. Because instead of just setting a plan for best-case scenarios, you’re creating a blueprint designed for real life.

You won’t anticipate every obstacle, but you don’t need to. You just need to assume the road won’t be easy. That alone can help shift your mindset, help you thrive in discomfort, and help you achieve your vision.

Arnold Q&A

For the first time, we opened up The Pump app to anyone wanting to join the positive corner of the internet. (If you’re interested, you can join here and use the code “Arnold.”) And we kicked it off with a massive Q&A. Arnold spent all day answering questions and recorded a few video responses (like the one below for Nicki, who was feeling frustrated). 

Here are a few of our favorite answers…

Arnold’s Thought About Ozempic

How To Reframe Taking Risks

The Original Meal Plan Hack

Lessons From Zane

How To Maximize The Pump

Arnold’s Love of Animals

Arnold’s Favorite Character

That’s it for this week. Thank you to everyone — both new members and old —for joining us for the first week of 2024. We truly hope it’s a fantastic year ahead for everyone. Have a great weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell