T Nation

Natural Supplements

I’m interested in everyone’s views on this. I understand that “natural” is a gigantic topic, so I’m going to stick with a small branch of it, one that we all know very well, supplements.

I’ve always had many questions about this area, ever since I started lifting. And the more I read about steroids being banned, governments interfering in what supplement is “natural” or not, and whenever I rifle through a bodybuilding magazine and find a billion ads for pills that “MAKE YOUR BODY RIPPED!!” the more I wonder about this topic.

At what point does taking a certain supplement stop you from being “natural?” Food is natural. Protein powder is condensed food. It’s natural. Likewise with Surge, or fish capsules. But what about stuff like Rez-V, BCAA’s, steroids, etc. Does the fact that they occur naturally in the body make them natural to take? Is someone who takes steroids, an anti-estrogen formula, BCAA’s, fish oils, creatine, arginine, a multi-vitamin, and drinks three MRPs a day any less natural than someone who doesn’t? And so on and so forth.

What do you think?

I think if it’s something that could not be hypothetically or reasonably obtained from diet that it’s not “natural”. Example, steroids I would not consider natural.

If I ate enough cottage cheese I could get something similar to what I consume from protein powders.

Fish Oil, CLA, it would be difficult to eat the same as I would get from supplementation from Salmon or Beef, but it’s hypothetically possible.

BCAAs, etc, I’m not sure where those could be found in proper amounts, but possibly animal protein?

Things like HOT-ROX and Alpha Male, I’m not entirely sure. They are oftened derived in part from natural plants, but also have a good amount of synthesized ingredients. I don’t think I would consider those natural.

However, we need to question the efficacy of a distinction between natural and non-natural. I mean, we as humans have always used means that would enhance our ability to perform certain tasks. I think that the simple fact that some people like Jay Cutler will use steroids to make themselves the extreme does not mean that such things cannot be used to a lesser extent to obtain optimal results. Do we judge the bodybuilder who uses nothing but “natural” substances as morally superior or with a higher resolve than one who uses performance enhancing compounds?

What of people in areas of the world who don’t have the means to obtain anything similar to what we here use? Would say, someone who uses organic beef be more natural than one who uses McDonalds burgers as their chief source of beef? At some point you’re just splitting hairs, and ultimately it just comes down to what we have access to and what’s safe. I think that as long as a substance helps a user to obtain results that they want and others have the same ability to obtain said resources then why does it matter?

Personally, I take a Laissez-faire view on the whole thing. To each his own, I don’t see why it matters. If one person has something another doesn’t, then tough luck, we are all dealt tough hands and have to deal with it. Creating a distinction between natural and un-natural is meaningless in my mind.

BCAA’s, fish oil, Whey protein, protein in general, vitamins, plant compounds like Tribulas, are all found in the food we eat (plants or animals) or from plants, most in a concentrated forms or extracts.

Steroids and prohormones and other substances of this nature are synthetic man made compounds that greatly increase ones anabolic and recovery capabilities and are viewed as not natural.

D

[quote]Carbon-12 wrote:
I think if it’s something that could not be hypothetically or reasonably obtained from diet that it’s not “natural”. Example, steroids I would not consider natural.

If I ate enough cottage cheese I could get something similar to what I consume from protein powders.

Fish Oil, CLA, it would be difficult to eat the same as I would get from supplementation from Salmon or Beef, but it’s hypothetically possible.

BCAAs, etc, I’m not sure where those could be found in proper amounts, but possibly animal protein?

Things like HOT-ROX and Alpha Male, I’m not entirely sure. They are oftened derived in part from natural plants, but also have a good amount of synthesized ingredients. I don’t think I would consider those natural.

However, we need to question the efficacy of a distinction between natural and non-natural. I mean, we as humans have always used means that would enhance our ability to perform certain tasks. I think that the simple fact that some people like Jay Cutler will use steroids to make themselves the extreme does not mean that such things cannot be used to a lesser extent to obtain optimal results. Do we judge the bodybuilder who uses nothing but “natural” substances as morally superior or with a higher resolve than one who uses performance enhancing compounds?

What of people in areas of the world who don’t have the means to obtain anything similar to what we here use? Would say, someone who uses organic beef be more natural than one who uses McDonalds burgers as their chief source of beef? At some point you’re just splitting hairs, and ultimately it just comes down to what we have access to and what’s safe. I think that as long as a substance helps a user to obtain results that they want and others have the same ability to obtain said resources then why does it matter?

Personally, I take a Laissez-faire view on the whole thing. To each his own, I don’t see why it matters. If one person has something another doesn’t, then tough luck, we are all dealt tough hands and have to deal with it. Creating a distinction between natural and un-natural is meaningless in my mind.[/quote]

I have to say, this is an excellent and well thought out and well articulated response. I agree with it completely. Very good job Carbon-12!

As long as it isn’t dangerous or rampantly unhealthy, I’m beginning to not care whether someone or something is natural or not.

Even natural supplements today give us huge advantages over the not too distant past. Does it really matter if it isn’t risky?

as long as it does not run a muck with natural physiological equillibria, and can be consumed or administered orally. It’s pretty much considered natural in my book.