The Supplement Game (An Article By Anthony Roberts)
When I read the blog below I thought about a few things, first off it was pretty ballsy for AR to throw himself under the boat to prove the dysfunction of the supplement game. I also know of maybe 3 supplements all time that have been comparable to steroids ( mostly because they converted to ), but almost every supplement tries to make the same claim.
I also was informed of many responses , by the people that were pointed out. I have a lot of respect for the few that stood up and said yes I did that, but I am older , smarter, and don’t practice such things anymore. And then there is the many who deny, deny, and deny some more. We aren’t buying it.
Inside the nutritional supplement industry
The nutritional supplement industry is lying to you every day. I’m going to expose how they do it – by telling you everything that goes on behind the scenes. Then I’m going to take you through step-by-step and expose all of the frauds, con-men, criminals, and liars…and when I’m done, there won’t be too many people left standing. If you’re wondering how I got into the nutritional industry, I’ll be frank and say that it’s because I was involved in the steroid world first. I built up a name by writing books and articles about anabolic steroids, and like a dozen (or more) people before me, I went into the supplement industry – most of the nutritional supplement industry is populated by people who crossed over from the steroid industry (or still swim in both pools)…from Bill Phillips to Bruce Kneller, we all got our start writing about steroids before we went into the nutritional industry.
First, I’ll let you in on some secrets about my own products (remember, I had four separate nutritional supplements on the market at one time, each with my name on the bottle).
In my own case, I was able to introduce a totally new herb to the nutritional market (Fadogia Agrestis a/k/a MyoGenX), without doing any safety trials or clinical research. All I had to do was read a study that said it boosted testosterone, and a bit of googling later I found out that it had been used for decades in Nigeria as a folk remedy to treat erectile dysfunction, and I was off and running. Hell, it’s been used for years in Nigeria – it probably won’t kill anybody. But the kicker is that the FDA would have had to prove that it was unsafe to have it pulled off the market – not the other way around. I didn’t have to prove it was safe at all.
Nice, huh? But those are the laws, and I followed them.
Now, let’s take a look at the advertising that we used for the product. First and foremost, the primary admin of EliteFitness.com (BigRickRock, a/k/a Rick Velez) was receiving 50% of my royalties to advertise the product. If you noticed him pimping it on the site, it’s because he was directly paid by Protein Factory (at my request) to do so. He receives other royalties and has other side deals worked out with different advertisers, but just keep in mind that money goes into his pocket to say something is good or advertise it on the forum.
Writing the advertising copy (the “ad-copy”) was another kettle of fish altogether. While I was writing it, I said:
1. Fadogia Agrestis has been shown in a medical study to increase testosterone
2. MyoGenX has Fadogia Agrestis in it
3. Testosterone has benefits A, B, C, etc….
However, because the laws are what they are, I can’t actually say MyoGenX has benefits A, B, C, etc…even though the advertisement was meant to lead you to (correctly) believe that MyoGenX will impart effects A, B, and C. In the end, people loved the product, it became Protein Factory’s #1 best seller on Bodybuilding.com, and I got some good feedback (and bloodwork) showing that it did increase testosterone. But I couldn’t say that in the ad-copy, even though that’s exactly what it did. And I didn’t have to make sure i was safe (which it was).That’s how the laws work.
But let’s just say I wanted to advertise it and say “Anthony Roberts says ‘MyoGenX feels like Sustanon’ ” – that would be legal, because it’s my opinion. Once again, the laws are retarded (although I never said it feels like Sustanon – but Biotest infamously said exactly thatabout one of their products, and Bill Phillips said one of his – HMB – felt like Deca). And of course, if I wanted to bottle up some steroids (depending on which ones I used, that haven’t been banned), and sell them as nutritional supplements, I could have done that too (which I did, a bit later on in my career – totally legally).
Of course, my story ended happily; I managed to hit a homerun with my first supplement idea ever. It didn’t make anyone die, people got great results, and copycats (including MuscleTech) soon used my idea. But MuscleTech hid their Fadogia amounts (which I presume to be ineffectively small) in a proprietary blend. A proprietary blend is a blend of compounds that the manufacturer doesn’t need to break down into exact amounts for labeling purposes. The law allowing this to be put into place was meant to protect intellectual property. Instead it allows manufacturers to “pixie dust” their products with ineffective doses, and still get to claim they have the ingredient on the label. Nearly every company in the nutritional field is guilty of this.
Labeling laws also allow people to make up names for their blends (often in an effort to make them sound like steroids), or to use obscure and outdated terms for ingredients, to fool the average consumer into thinking they’re getting something that they’re not. SARM-X by MHP’s label uses a term for DHEA that hasn’t been in use since the ’60s. It’s interesting to note that not only does this product do nothing, and still sell very well, but it can’t possibly work at all because the ingredients cancel each other out.
Now, let’s take a look at an even less honest way to do things.
When William Llewellynreleased his Arachidonic Acid product (called X-Factor), everyone was pretty excited about it – probably nobody more than the fine people over at Gaspari Nutrition, who licensed it from Mr. Llewellyn immediately, and became the first company to carry it in a product other than the manufacturer’s own. So what did Billy Llewellyn do? He quickly licensed it to Gaspari’s direct competitors also (it can be found in IDS Mass Tabs and Universal Animal Test) and even had a hand in helping to design at least one of these psuedo-clones of the (new) Gaspari Halodrol. Nice way to treat the people who helped you out, right? [Note: This is why half of the supplement industry does not care for Mr. Llewellyn]
Naturally, it gets worse, because a study came outwhich showed that Arachidonic Acid was no better than placebo (i.e. produced the same results as a sugar pill with no active ingredients). So, in effect, Mr. Llewellyn has been selling (licensing) a product that DOES NOTHING, and collecting royalties from three competing products for that product. Hilarious, right? Maybe not so funny if you’re one of those companies who have been paying him a fee for a worthless product, or even worse, wasting your own money on it.
But the funniest part is how he is directly misleading the consumer by picking and choosing which parts of the research he uses for his ad-copy. The actual study, when you look it up in the medical journal it was published in says:
CONCLUSION: AA supplementation during resistance-training may enhance anaerobic capacity and lessen the inflammatory response to training. However, AA supplementation did not promote statistically greater gains in strength, muscle mass, or influence markers of muscle hypertrophy.
Of course, the real conclusion (*the one I just showed you) is nowhere to be found in the ad-copy, or on the pages of Llewellyn’s site, where he talks about all of the researchdone on Arachidonic Acid. I would have thought the conclusion is kind of an important thing to include when you are bragging about all the research done on your product, right? Instead, through carefully plucking certain lines from the study, and omitting others, William Llewellyn has composed advertisements and made claims about his product that purposely lead the reader into thinking that the actual conclusion of the studies conducted on his product are quite different than they actually are. This is why the real conclusion is never used, or even hinted at, in any of his advertisements or articles.
Is he purposely deceiving his prospective customers by leaving out the part of the study that says his product does nothing more than a placebo? You tell me.
And then there’s Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. They put real Xanax in their Benzanax bars, and advertised them as an “herbal alternative” – then they tried to blackmail a United States District Attorney and plotted to kill an FDA agent. Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Benzanax advertisements are still running in one of the best selling bodybuilding magazine in the world. And before I forget, one of the prosecutors in that case bullied the wife of one of the accused so viciously that she eventually collapsed and killed herself. This is what government officials are doing in your name – pressuring 27 year old women into killing themselves (oh…and then taking a higher paying job as a defense attorney).
And how about MuscleTech? Their first advertisements featured Greg Kovacs, advertised as the strongest man in the world. Check out some of his recent interviews, because he is very candid about telling us that 100% of the claims they made about him were outrageously false. Remember the timethey used a pregnant fitness model for their (pregnant) before and (non-pregnant) after photos? Remember that? Or how about the time Muscletech had their “research” studies doctored (*by Muscular Development authors, actually).
Even published medical studies are suspect when the nutritional industry pays for them. Ever notice how you see many of the same names, institutions, and universities on supplement studies? That’s because certain groups have a reputation for being “easy to work with” – meaning you’ll get the outcome you ask for. An inside source who has spoken to me on the condition of anonymity has revealed that he was in the room when Dr. Carlton Colker asked a representitive from Twinlab “What do you want the result of the study to be?” referring to an ongoing study on one of their nutritional products…and clearly indicating that he was going to skew the results in favor of the product being tested.
Oh…and before I forget, I should remind you that nearly every author for Muscular Development, is on at least some nutritional company’s payroll (or owns one) that advertises within the magazine itself. That’s the kind of bias and bullsh*t that dominates the bodybuilding magazine industry, and allows nutritional companies to lie to you on a constant basis. They control the flow of information, so they control what you do and do not see. It’s all biased and bogus – and Muscular Development is far from the only magazine doing this. One magazine even had their science editor caught taking bribes to write positive articles about Victor Conte’s nutritional (ZMA) product…and yes, this guy still writes for the magazine in question. This goes on every day – people are paid or bribed to lie to you about nutritional products.
When my 2perdrol supplement came out, I was thrilled because I combined an androgen (*a not-yet banned prohormone/anabolic/designer-steroid) with LCLT (L-Carnitine L-Tartrate), which increases androgen receptor activity – I had read about LCLT in a peer-reviewed medical journal article. I was less thrilled when I found out that the company who funded the study also manufactured LCLT. I can name a half dozen companies off the top of my head who tweak common ingredients just enough to patent them, run a study on the stuff, and then go around trying to sell it as a “new” product (what they don’t tell you is that it’s no better than the unpatentable ingredient left unchanged).
Then I came out with Nicolean – a topical (rub on your skin) nicotine/yohimbe/caffeine blend. It was sold as a cosmetic, which put it out of reach of any real government regulation. There’s loopholes inside loopholes – and people who learn to exploit them pretty easily (like me).
And then there’s Patrick Arnold – the man who did more good for the supplement industry than anyone else…and then followed it up by being the single most destructive force it’s ever seen. When Congress was gearing up to ban prohormones, Patrick Arnold was part of a lobbying group to “save” them, called the USFA. In reality, they had written legislation that if adopted would make virtually everything but 4-AD and 1-AD illegal, therby giving him a huge market advantage. He also stole Billy Llewellyn’s idea for 1-adione (patented it even though Bill discovered it first)…but that’s neither here nor there.
While Patrick was lobbying to save prohormones (his own), guess what happened? He turned out to be a steroid dealer. Oops. I wonder how that looked to Congress? That the head of this group trying to save prohormones was also a steroid dealer….it was a huge black eye to the entire industry.The rest is history.
Patrick’s detrimental effect is now reaching legendary proportions – he has a hisory of producing tainted supplements, some of which have caused athletes to lose millions of dollars when they tested positive. He’s even been raided by the DEA, and is managing to drag the companies who he licenses 6-OXO to (Gaspari Nutrition, etc…), as well as the companies who sell it (GNC, etc…) into lawsuits and Department of Justice actions. Naturally, none of this matters, because as many times as he produces a tainted supplement, he’s allowed to keep running a nutritional company. Hilariously, Patrick’s 6-OXO product was University tested, and found to produce no increases in muscle.
Need I remind everyone that there were widespread rumors about a Patrick Arnold GHB-and-booze-induced collapse at the MetRx symposium in 2000 (was it 2001?)…
Honestly, although Patrick Arnold has likely done more damage to the nutritional industry than anyone, he’s not the worst person in the industry. I’d have to reserve that honor for Ron Kramer- this is the BALCO snitch, who later moved on to the nutritional industry (he owns Thermolife), and has been caught trying to run a blackmail scam on nutritional companies.
Do you know where the best place to find tainted and spiked supplements (i.e. stuff that contains ingredients it shouldn’t)? Expos and trade shows (the Arnold Classic, etc…) where supplement companies give out free samples. It’s a perfect place for them to give out stuff that’s overdosed, or contains illegal ingredients (stimulants, banned steroids, etc…)- people get a sample, think it’s the best thing ever, then go buy a bottle of the regular stuff when they get home- and the FDA never, ever, tests samples given out at Expos and trade shows.
Are you getting the point yet? I’m hoping you see what this industry is really like, but if not, keep reading, because I’ve saved the kinds companies I hate the most for last.
SDI-Labs is a company that sells standard (and subpar) nutritional products named like anabolic steroids. As you can see from the picture on the right, they sell Winni-V, which is meant to sound like Winstrol-V (a veterinary version – hence the “V” – of Winstrol, an anabolic steroid). They’ve even gone so far as to photoshop a real box of Winstrol with their product name onto it, and place it next to a bottle of their sound-a-like garbage.
These guys are simply preying on stupid kids who want steroids but don’t know where to get them.
In 2007 they filed suitagainst Brian Clapp and his RoidStore.com (a/k/a BuySteroids.com, SteroidBuy.com, DiscountSteroids.com, etc..), company for ripping their scam-idea off. I worked on that case (was paid $1k for my research on the case), which was ultimately won by Roidstore (which is the company I did the work for). But the truth is that RoidStore was a direct attempt to rip off SDI-Labs idea…an internal document from RoidStore even says so. That same document also admits that the purpose of the site is to trick their customers. An FBI agent from Houston, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has told me that even though they have a solid case against Brian Clapp and RoidStore (Fraud, Mail Fraud, etc…), Federal District Attorneys in Houston may not take it, because they prefer prosecuting stuff that builds their career, and gets them promotions – ripping off wanna-be-steroid-buyers isn’t high on that list.
I wonder if upholding the law, and doing their jobs is high on their list? Better yet, I wonder if getting embarrassed publicly by my new book is high on their list? I hope so. Brian Clapp, has already managed to embarrass everyone fromDon Hooton, to his employees, and even his own family. So I guess the federal prosecutors and District Attorneys in Houston won’t mind being embarrassed also.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks a ton. Feel free to republish this anywhere you’d like, link to me, whatever…
If you want more, you’re SOL until Generation S comes out on October 15th. I’ve got 350 pages of absolute venom in store for every facet of the steroid industry – from UG labs, to nutritional companies, to bodybuilding rags, to the Government, to District Attorneys, to so-called-gurus…and when I’m done with these people, they’re going to have to check dental records on the bodies, because I’m not leaving anything behind.
I know some feel that AR throws people unnecessarily under the bus, but when these people are purposely duping the lifting community, then it is our duty to throw such people under the bus. There is way too much loyalty to scumbags in our community, I will ( to my last day) go after anyone who takes money to fool people and persuade them to use shitty products. Why is it such a hard concept that any Guru or MOD or Admin’s loyalty should be to the community not a few scattered dirt bags.
Those of us that write , have a responsibility to our readers to tell the truth and protect them to our best ability. So remember that we are not above the readers, we are merely servants of the community. So whoever has an issue with unmasking scammers and con artist , is no better then the scammers themselves.
I also read how Bill Roberts stepped up to the plate and admitted his own statements, that takes a lot of balls and self-respect, and for that I salute you.