Dear Dr. Bell,
What should I look for when purchasing Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Supplements?
Thanks for the questions Jill,
You should be concerned about the safety, quality and efficacy of all nutrition supplements. Consumer Reports and other periodicals have reported toxic levels of heavy metals in many highly popular supplements and various other problems. You should be concerned about the supplements you use.
One thing you can do is to only purchase brands labeled NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeia, or ConsumerLab Seals. These insignia verify the supplement actually contains the ingredients stated on the label and that the supplement does not contain contaminants, potentially harmful ingredients or banned substances not listed on the label. Unfortunately, many supplements produced outside the U.S.A. may not be regulated and may contain potentially toxic substances.
These cautions are even more critical if you are a competitive athlete. Many athletes have failed doping tests, as a result of a supplement containing Nandrolone (an anabolic steroid) or other banned substances, without being printed on the label, that the supplement actually contained banned substances!
For more detail I recommend the IFPA Sports Nutrition Certification, which has a great deal of information on Supplementation and Nutrition for Athletes!