Book Review: The Sports Supplement Bible for Health and Fitness, by Will Brink
Review by Evan Peck M.D.
The sale of dietary supplements produces over $28 billion annually. In the fitness industry, dietary supplements also represent a large proportion of the marketing effort, as evidenced by brief perusal of most popular exercise magazines or websites. Many training and nutrition articles in the lay press are cleverly-schemed (or thinly-veiled) advertisements for dietary supplements, and essentially all major bodybuilding magazines are owned by dietary supplement companies.
Simply put, dietary supplements are big business. And where there’s money to made, integrity is not always found. In The Sports Supplement Bible, Will Brink examines with scrutiny a large collection of popular dietary supplements on the market. Of note, Mr. Brink is a private nutritional and exercise consultant, does not work for any dietary supplement company, and has no conflict of interest with respect to the material contained within this book.
The book organizes dietary supplements into several categories: Amino Acids, Metabolites (e.g., creatine monohydrate), Protein Powders, Essential Elements, Anti-Estrogens, Herbal Testosterone Boosters, Phytochemicals, Adaptogens, and Miscellaneous Compounds. For each supplement, a concise and information-dense chapter is written. The supplement is defined, the purported effects are defined, and then those claims (and any other effects) are examined using the available scientific literature as well as what has been reported anecdotally. The information is then summarized into a general recommendation.
Brink’s tone is one of scientific skepticism, and many popular supplements are derided for lack of efficacy or false claims made by their manufacturers. I found the book to be enormously useful for objectively dissecting some dietary supplements that are “on the fence:” there is neither overwhelming scientific data supporting their use, nor is the product known to be completely useless for its stated purpose. The author sifts through all the salient information and provides a concise and useful summary in language that anyone can understand.
As a bonus, a “Supplement Scorecard” is provided, which summarizes the author’s recommendations based on the previous chapters. This section really ties all the information together and provides the reader with ample knowledge to make prioritized decisions regarding dietary supplement purchases. But the overall message, and one that is sorely needed in this particular field, is “you have been lied to.” The most valuable aspect of this book is not just the information contained, it’s that the reader comes away better able to evaluate dietary supplements himself/herself.
Many prior “Sports Supplement Guides” were, again, supplement advertisements put out by supplement company owners, disguised as objective guides on the topic. This book is a refreshing departure from that trend. As a busy sports medicine physician, this is my go-to reference when patients have a question regarding a particular dietary supplement. This book is an invaluable resource for any individual who uses dietary supplements.
- Evan Peck, M.D., sports medicine physician
For more information on The Sports Supplement Bible go HERE.
Review: Will Brink’s The Sports Supplement Bible
By Dr. Peter Chiang
Author Will Brink’s The Sports Supplement Bible dives into what matters in the vast supplement business and clarifies what really works and what does not, and presents it in an easy to read format. With all the “new” and “improved” supplements available, it’s often overwhelming for anyone who walks into a store or browses online looking for an effective product to enhance performance, or strength, or recoup from tough workouts. Without any knowledge of the products and the ingredients used in these products, it’s easy to buy into the hype, or the bodybuilder posing on the packaging. But will it work? What do the studies reveal? Will Brink breaks down the facts and recommends what works, and what is just a waste of money.
Back in the day, I too was guilty of following some friends’ advice without taking the time needed to research if it was even worth using, or if there were better alternatives that would save time and or money. When a person is training competitively or just working out, we have this competitive drive to be the best; one more rep, few more pounds; I too made the mistake of looking to the top guy as to what I should be taking. It wasn’t until I did my own research and realized that majority of the supplements I had used were just a waste of money. Doing my own research involved too much time and effort going through large databases and stacks of studies, and all the more frustrating was the fact that I either could not find anything, or one study showed promise, and another showed it was irrelevant!
Will took the time and did the research and presented it in his book. The Sports Supplement Bible and set it up in an easy to follow format. Each supplement covered is set up like so:
What is it?
What is it suppose to do?
What does the research have to say?
What about real world athletic performance?
The Sports Supplement Bible is an excellent reference work for both users of sports/performance related supplements, or for clinicians and medical professionals who want a well referenced book on the topic that’s up to date and “real world” oriented. Once you have read it through, it becomes a great book to refer to over and over again. Will’s breakdown of the scientific studies are insightful, his expertise in nutrition really shows through in this book. The Supplement Pyramid is a great tool to get an understanding why foundation supplements are so important to a person’s health and performance. Even-though not all the supplements are covered; all the common ones you see on the shelves are covered well, and truth be known, most products on the shelves are simply a mixture of what gets covered in this book.
It does not matter if a person is a professional, recreational athlete, or just wants to know what works, The Sports Supplement Bible will benefit anyone and everyone who has thought about taking a supplement to enhance their performance. The result? Less time and money wasted on worthless supplements, which was clearly the goal of this book. Highly recommended
- Peter Chiang, DC, CCSP®