Good, Bad and Ugly About Supplements with Sol Orwell

Good, Bad and Ugly About Supplements

I got a great interview for you today.

It is 4 am and I am at the Seattle Airport.

I am on my way to San Diego for mastermind meetings with numerous other people in alternative health.

The meetings are organized by Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness.

More on that later but today, it is an interview with Sol Orwell.

Yesterday, Sol gave us an article on Vitamin K.

If you enjoyed that, you will enjoy this interview.

~ Rick


Today I have another interview for you and we are going to chat about supplements.

We are going to highlight the pros and cons when it comes to supplements, we are going to highlight a couple of supplements and probably challenge a couple of beliefs and thoughts you have when it comes to supplements and probably some of the supplements that you are taking right now.

Rick Kaselj: I will get Sol to introduce himself.

Sol Orwell: Hi, I am Sol from

Basically, my pathway into this is a little bit different than most people. I’ve been retired for about 5 to 8 years ago.

Of late I travel around and I was in Argentina for awhile. Let me tell you when you can order online ice cream delivery and get a liter of ice cream within 10 minutes, it’s hard not to stay in shape or it’s hard not to get fat.

Then I moved to Manhattan after that and I lived right above a bakery. When you wake up and you are smelling cookies into your apartment, it’s hard not to go and get some.

By the time I got back in Toronto, I was pretty much out of shape.

As I got into shape, in my very analytical mind, I started looking at what was working and what wasn’t working.

I was very frustrated that there was no reference site on supplementation and nutrition.

This is what got me started into this industry really. We have been basically been at it for two and a half years now.

We have over 20,000 references behind supplements and nutrition. And basically we are just building a reference site as to what works and what doesn’t work.

Rick Kaselj: Awesome.

Sol Orsell: That’s the gist of it!

Rick Kaselj: Cool. Jumping into the questions when it relates to supplements, what are some mistakes that people are making when it comes to buying supplements?

I know how it is, people will watch TV or they will read a magazine or talk to a friend and their friend will say “hey, you should take this supplement” for whatever and they go to the grocery store and buy something.

What mistakes are people making when it relates to buying supplements?

Sol Orsell: To be honest I think it is a part of human nature where you hear about some supplement or some pill, you take it and you’ll be much better.

The reality is that most of them are all marketing and every time you hear exotic supplements, I am sure you hear it from media that some supplements are going to help you lose your fat and all that kind of stuff, and the reality is that you have to be skeptical about these kinds of claims.

You can make a legitimate claim but it still really doesn’t work.

My favorite example is glutamine. Glutamine is a muscle builder and it does build muscle but can you link it to actual muscle cell change. The reality is when you actually ingest glutamine your intestines love it and they sequester it from your cells. Glutamine is amazing for intestinal health but it doesn’t really help with growing muscles.

When you go buy supplements, unless you know specifically what you are looking for, it’s really easy to get into the exotic names and claims. Honestly the old analogy if it “sounds too good to be true” likely is then you should apply that in the exact same of reasoning when it comes to supplements.

Rick Kaselj: Okay. If you go to the grocery store and you’re kind of wandering through the pharmacy and you are looking at supplements, Is there a difference when it comes to the quality — you’ve got one that is super expensive, one that is medium range, one that has no name brand? Is there really a difference when it relates to the quality of supplements?

Sol Orsell: Quality is kind of a hard one to dictate.

I mean the manufacturing processes tend to be in China and seem to come from the same places.

The general truth is some more expensive ones, means better quality, tends to exist in all markets. We can apply the same to supplementation. But the reality is that companies know this too.

They know that you are looking for something more expensive so they increase their prices a little bit and you come across their impressive designs and you think this is high quality. At the end of the day to be honest, the simplest way to know if it’s a legitimate brand is the FDA does actually issues citations to supplementation companies.

The FDA is regularly bashed for not doing enough in terms of watching over supplements but the reality is there’s actually a congressional bill passed that let supplements make these claims. What the FDA does do is it looks for the quality of the product.

Honestly if you are looking at some brand you can look at which is a good website for you to look up, they do their own testing. But if you just go to Google and you search for FDA plus the company name. This will display recall citation problems.

Rick Kaselj: That’s awesome the FDA thing is very interesting, I didn’t know that.

Sol Orwell: It’s a little bit under rated?

Rick Kaselj: Yeah, that’s cool.

If we are shopping in a grocery store and we are looking for some supplements, if one is more expensive compared to the other, does it reflect being of better quality?

Sol Orwell: Yes, it reflects quality but it can also reflect purity.

An example is Fish Oil. Some pills may say it has 1000 mg of Fish Oil and you think “oh, that sounds pretty legitimate.” But you look at the label and the only part of fish oil that really matters is the EPA and DHA. If those two combine for only 300 mg, basically you are getting 70% of it.

Quality and prices may reflect how pure the product is. A supplement can have 1000 IU vitamin D versus 5000 IU vitamin D in another.  You should obviously look at the label and you can actually see how much of the active ingredient is actually in there.

Fish Oil is the easy one that I could say because you look at Centrum and all those brands and you say “oh, it’s so cheap for so much fish oil” but you actually look at the purity and its pretty much garbage.

I hate to pick on Centrum, but it is a very popular supplement. If you look at other brands of fish oil which have higher levels, fish oil is pretty easy too because of the processing pretty much all of the contaminants are gone anyway. But you look at the actual label and it will shows you the EPA and DHA you can kind of gleam from that the purity to be a reflection of quality of the product too.

Rick Kaselj: Awesome.

Looking at supplements, like what are some supplements out there that are over rated that are kind of pumped up and don’t really have that much effect on the body?

Sol Orwell: Honestly you could almost say almost all athletic supplements are quite overrated.

The obvious ones would be Glutamine. We have this study that shows it’s amazing for muscle synthesis but the moment that you actually start to digest it the actual healing processes get in the way.

Another one that’s really over rated would be Trib. You feel like your testosterone is up and you feel like your libido is higher. What this testosterone booster often does is it increases your libido but there’s actually no testosterone booster associated with it. It’s a false positive, you feel like “oh, yeah I’m so jacked up and I do amazing” but sorry it’s the biological process that is going on inside you.

Those two would be the primary ones.

The third one that we do like to pick on is Glucosamine, it is one of those where 10% say it works amazing and 90% say it’s useless. Even then on glucosamine hydrochloride doesn’t actually have any evidence that it works, it’s only glucosamine sulfate that has any evidence. What’s actually happening is that you are deficient in sulfate and you are getting that excess sulfate due to glucosamine which is potentially healthy.

MSM and Chondroitin which are the other two popular joint pain relievers they actually have sulfate with them. It’s very possible again, it’s more of a reflection of a bad diet that glucosamine or any of these others work.

Same thing with the testosterone booster. If you go back for a second, if you are deficient in stuffs like magnesium or zinc you will fall below your baseline. The thing is you start with boosters that have zinc and things start to improve. But it’s more a reflection of a poor diet and they are just taking you back to baseline ,then they are actually doing anything that boosts you up.

======= End of Part 1 ============

That is the end of part 1. I will have part 2 out soon of Sol’s  Supplement Goals Reference Guide 

Rick Kaselj, M.S.

Guide to Dietary Supplements