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If you are an athlete of any kind then you have probably been inundated with suggestions on what supplements will get you to become the best athlete you can. From claims of magical pills to drinks containing vitamins (that you will never absorb), the market is full of options. A very large portion of them are unnecessary and essentially junk. In fact, one of the first things I like to do with my athlete patients is have them bring in supplements to the clinic. In doing so, we can go over all of the ingredients and figure out what is working for them and what they should add into their regimen. While everybody is different here are  a few items that should grace the cabinet of every athlete whether professional, amateur, or weekend warrior.

Weight lifters often treat this like it is a precious as gold, which to the body it can be.

1)      Protein Powder- Weight lifters often treat this like it is a precious as gold, which to the body it can be. Protein isn’t just for people trying to bulk up. Whenever we perform athletic activities we are breaking down muscle to some degree. Protein is what helps build that muscle back up. From a nutritional standpoint, protein is also great to have before a work out to assure adequate nourishment. The question is what kind of protein powder is best.

  • Whey Protein Isolate- Definitely one of the most popular. Whey is a milk based protein and is considered a complete protein (contains all the necessary amino acids). The thing to watch for is what other junk have they put with it and is if it is truly a Whey protein isolate. Quick tip to avoid junk: always read “extra ingredients” and look at the carb/protein/fat content. You don’t want a protein packed with carbs or fats. The only aspect where whey protein fails is that it is obviously not a vegan product and not so friendly to those that are lactose intolerant. Also, milk is very mucous producing so congestion/phlegm may be an undesirable side effect.
  • Pea Protein- An excellent option for those sensitive to dairy or concerned about welfare of animals. Pea protein is considered a hypoallergenic, vegan protein that is easily digested. The con of Pea Protein is that a Vegan athlete would need to consider integrating other sources of protein as well to assure an adequate balance of amino acids is achieved.
  • Hemp/Soy/Rice- Other powdered proteins include Hemp, Soy, and Rice. The most common complaint I hear about hemp is the flavor and that it is more limited at stores than Soy, Pea, or Whey. Soy protein is an acceptable option in moderation, although it is becoming a very common food allergy for people because it is quietly added in many of our foods. Also, finding an organic source may be more difficult and most Soy is not GMO free. Rice protein is a great option and is also easily digestible.

Whenever looking for a protein powder, stay away from ones that add sugar.

2) Daily Multiple- If you are an athlete you are using up more nutrients than an average person and you need to replenish these. Choosing a daily vitamin can be tricky. Check out our previous blog article about choosing a proper daily vitamin here.

3) Ca+Mg- Calcium and Magnesium in combination is an excellent step in recovery. While it is important for an athlete to consider products that will improve athletic ability, the ability to recover is just as important. Calcium and magnesium need each other in the body, so it is great to take them together. Ca+Mg taken in small doses at night can act like an all natural muscle relaxer due to the magnesium content.

4) Fish Oil- Continuing along the lines of recovery, fish oil is anti-inflammatory. Like all supplements, all fish oils are not created equal. There are also many ‘types’ of fish oil, depending on the content and ratios of the ingredients. One fish oil recommended for an athlete would be different than one recommended for cognitive health or during maternity. For pain, choose a high grade, pure triglyceride form fish oil with high grade eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) over a high level of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Ratios of EPA and DHA can important in tailoring the treatment for different conditions. The benefit of supplementing with Fish oil over just eating fish is twofold. Often, people cannot eat enough fish to attain a therapeutic dose and there is also concern of mercury content, especially if certain fish are eaten. The downside of fish oil is obvious; it is not for the vegan athlete. Vegans often utilize flax seed instead, but this provides ALA (Alpha-lionlenic Acid) which may not provide the same therapeutic effect.  As a vegan athlete it is difficult to attain the benefits of EPA directly leaving ALA as main option. Other considerations before starting a fish oil would be to consider current medications and avoid with some medical procedures. As with everything in this article, it is best to discuss individual needs with a medical professional before starting supplementation.

5) Chinese Herbs- This is a very broad statement. Chinese herbal medicine has an apothecary of hundreds of herbs. Almost always, herbs are combined together rather than used alone because TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is all about balance. It would be necessary to see an East Asian Medicine Practitioner to find out what herbs would be best for each athlete. For an example however, one commonly used formula for athletes is Yu Peng Feng San Wan. Because training can be very draining and tax the immune system, supplementing short term with this formula can be very beneficial to help burn out or prevent what is called a “Wind Invasion” in TCM. While this is only one example, there are many other uses for a patient to take Chinese herbs such as pain, digestive upset, or even fatigue.

For athletes, considering any or all of these products is a great idea. Whether a weekend warrior or a serious competitor, every athlete deserves to get the best performance they can.  If you enjoyed this information please subscribe to our blog and for more great tips follow us on Facebook!

*The preceding is not intended to diagnose or treat and is for informational purposes only.

Supplement Review:KirklandSignature™ Daily Multiple


KirklandSignature™ Daily Multiple

Cost 14.99 (plus tax)

Amount of pills 500

Found At: Costco


The Short Of It

Pros: Affordable

Cons: You get what you pay for, Poorly made, many fillers, coatings decreasing absorption, low dose of nutrients, contains Iron, uses very poor nutrients that have limited bioavailability.

Common Patient Comments: Notice no change versus not using any supplementation.

Overall: I would never recommend this supplement to any patient. Specifically I would encourage patients not to take it, especially those who are pregnant, nursing, taking blood thinners, or have nickel allergies. In my opinion, athletic patients would not receive any benefit what-so-ever from this product.


What’s in it?

Serving Size: 1 Tablet

Each Tablet Contains – % Daily Value:


Vitamin A 3500 IU (29% as Beta Carotene) – 70% Vitamin C 90 mg  – 150% Vitamin D 400 IU – 100% Vitamin E 30 IU – 100%
Vitamin K 25 mcg – 31% Thiamin (Vit. B1) 1.5 mg – 100% Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 1.7 mg – 100% Niacin 20 mg – 100%
Vitamin B6 2 mg – 100%  Folic Acid 400 mcg – 100% Vitamin B12 6 mcg – 100% Biotin 30 mcg – 10%
Pantothenic Acid 10 mg – 100% Calcium 200 mg – 20% Iron 18 mg – 100% Phosphorus 109 mg – 11%
Iodine 150 mcg – 100% Magnesium 100 mg – 25% Zinc 11 mg – 73% Selenium 55 mcg – 79%
Copper 0.9 mg – 45% Manganese 2.3 mg 115% Chromium 35 mcg – 29% Molybdenum 45 mcg – 60%
Chloride 72 mg – 2% Potassium 80 mg – 2% Boron 150 mcg – * Nickel 5 mcg – *
Tin 10 mcg – * Silicon 2 mg – * Vanadium 10 mcg – * Lutein 250 mcg – *
Lycopene 300 mcg – *      


*Daily Value not established.







Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Chloride, Cellulose Gel, Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Ferrous Fumarate, Starch (Corn and Tapioca),dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Gelatin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Acetate, Polyethylene Glycol, Boric Acid, Beta Carotene, Folic Acid, Lycopene, Chromium Picolinate, Lutein, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Biotin, Phylloquinone, Nickel Sulfate, Sodium Metavanadate, Stannous Chloride, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Cyanocobalamin.


No Artificial Colors. No Artificial Flavors. No Preservatives. No Yeast or Gluten.


Detailed Review


First and foremost, the fillers in this product decrease the bioavailability of the product and render it close to useless. It is not highly recommended on that fact alone. Of course the choices of nutrients that are used in it are also low quality in comparison to a nutriceutical product as well, but we will get to that later. An example of a “filler” is Magnesium Stearate (octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt), which is non H20 soluble substance that is commonly used as a dilutent, which has been shown to slow the breakdown of the pill. Some health care professionals will also argue that those with decreased digestive health will not be able to absorb the nutrients within the pill. This is only one argument of how Magnesium Stearate decreases bioavilibility. There is much controversy on the topic and studies that show Magnesium Stearate has no negative effects to bioavailability.  Personally, I find it not so coincidental that products considered to be of strong nutriceutical value do not usually contain Magnesium Stearate in their products. On the contrary, companies attempting to produce mass quantities of inexpensive supplements almost always use it along with other fillers. Another “filler” in Kirkland’s Daily is Cornstarch. Why cornstarch is put into a supplement is beyond my comprehension. With many patients having sensitivities to corn, putting corn of any sort into a standard product is an obvious money saver with no therapeutic value. In a study[1]  attempting to decipher a therapeutic value of cornstarch found that it was effective in treating glycogen storage disease but, had side effects of diarrhea, flatulence, and weight gain. Way to go Kirkland Signature, take consumer health to the next level. Keeping up with lots of fillers is Methylcellulose, an emulsifier that can be used to treat constipation. It is non toxic and also not digestible… so why put it a pill that should aim for maximum absorption? You could argue it for the use of vegetarian capsules if there was not already gelatin (an animal byproduct) as an ingredient.


This lovely supplement also has Stannous Chloride, most likely used to coat the pill. It is probably decreasing absorption and break down of the supplement. As a fun side note, industrial companies like to use this as an oxidizing agent to make things like mirrors. Regardless, it is an unnecessary ingredient. The expected defense is the presence of Croscarmellose, which is used essentially to increase bioavailability. The issue associated with this is the common belief that it decreases the intestinal flora. In short, the product combines hard to break down pills with something that may harm the intestinal balance on top of it. No need to stop here though. Moving along the ingredient list, Nickel Sulfate is in this “health supplement”. Long term exposure to nickel has been tied to lung disorders and cancer. It is also not something known for humans to be deficient in. In fact about 10% of the female population has an allergy to it (cheap jewelry anyone). The only positive is the very low dose contained in the formula. Sodium Molybdate is another ingredient that makes little sense, as very few humans are found to be deficient in this area. It is commonly found in many foods (especially if the consumer has a healthy diet), so it is not usually put in quality supplements. Arguably for Kirkland Signature, it is considered to have some antioxidant qualities which may be beneficial.


Finally, after we finish off the list of useless ingredients, we can look at the benefits people are hoping to get out of it. Many consumers see Magnesium and think “oh I need that”. I couldn’t agree more but, this lovely little pill has two types. One of them is magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt). I regularly recommend patients to soak in Epsom salt however, I do not tell them to ingest it. Do not get me wrong, it is safe to ingest, it is used to treat constipation. Wait didn’t we  already have a few ingredients that flush through the system with no therapeutic use? The other type is Magnesium Oxide. Of the types of Magnesium beneficial to supplement with, this one is at the bottom. Magnesium Citrate should be considered the gold standard for supplements. The same can be said of the products Calcium content. The ingredients list; Calcium Carbonate and Dibasic Calcium Phosphate. Calcium Carbonate is the number one ingredient in antacids such as, “Tums” and is also great for Gym Chalk but, when ingested, actually leads to calcium deposit build up versus healthy bones. In other words, rather than being helpful it can be harmful. With Dibasic Calcium Phosphate you are once again looking at the bottom of the line Calcium. My preferred Calcium is Citrate Malate. At this point picking on the ingredients is probably redundant so I will leave it at this; don’t waste your money on this product. Save yourself the fifteen dollars and put it to use on a quality product.


I am not affiliated with any nutrition company, nor does any company provide me with free products outside of standard company policies. That being said, the world of supplements can be a confusing one. With the large scale availability to purchase supplements almost anywhere customers are overloaded with options. Many will purchase supplements from their local drug store or wholesale company, while others will go to one of the many “Supplement Stores”. I highly recommend a third option, purchase supplements from a qualified health care provider. The primary reason, there is a reason they carry lines of supplements customers cannot readily purchase at their local drug store, quality being the number one factor. In fact some lines (for example Nordic Naturals) provides to product lines, a customer direct line and a health care practitioner line. The practitioner line has almost double the amount of EFA’s in it. The second reason is supervision. Would you manage your pharmaceutical prescriptions on your own? Why would you with nutriceuticals? The purpose of this blog is to review both commonly found supplements such as Kirkland Signature or Centrum as well as professional lines such as Thorne and Pure Encapsulations. The reviews are based on personal opinions of professional health care 

practitioners utilizing information found on the label and clinical use. Any endorsements are based solely on professional opinion.

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