Insiders: The 3 Popular Supplements that are a Waste of Money

The human body is a finely tuned machine, having developed the ability to store extra calories as adipose tissue (fat) for times when food is scarce. Metabolism and fat burn are controlled within fairly tight parameters. So it’s no wonder that few legal options exist to burn any substantial amount of body fat.

Even the handful of mildly effective fat burners (such as caffeine) lead to much less weight loss than eating a bit less each day, or taking a daily walk. Fat burners are also fairly like to have side effects such as sleep disruption (which can mean higher stress and overeating … make you even heavier!) and cardiovascular effects.

Bottom line: most fat burners are a kitchen sink equation, full of things that have zero proof that they work (and may actually set you back by messing up your sleep).

Don’t mistake supplements that don’t work for nutrients you don’t need. Calcium is an important mineral for bone health, but supplementing it is usually a waste of money. Calcium is found naturally in dairy products, including protein supplements. Just one serving of casein protein provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium!

Supplementing calcium by itself does not substantially improve bone density. You have to take it with other nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium need to be taken alongside calcium to benefit bone health. The combination of all these form a stack, which is when supplements work together towards a common goal (don’t worry, I’ll discuss stacking in the future).

Calcium deficiencies are rare, and can be easily fixed by slightly modifying your diet. Calcium supplementation is largely unnecessary.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a molecule made by the cells to help the body produce energy. It is a very popular supplement because it’s marketed as an antioxidant, is supposed to be heart-healthy, and is claimed to have ‘bioenergetic health effects.’

CoQ10 is a very important molecule for people that have suffered a heart attack, since CoQ10 supplementation can reduce the risk of a second heart attack. It also may be useful for those on statin therapy, because certain side effects may be caused by statins reducing CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 may have an antioxidant effect, but current evidence suggests it is quite weak, making it an unnecessary supplement for people with healthy hearts.

So if you're not taking statins or haven't suffered a heart attack, or don't have increased risk for heart disease, don’t fall for the marketing: skip CoQ10 supplementation.

Click here for a comprehensive guide to maximizing your supplementation routine