Should I trust an influencer?

Should I trust an influencer?

Oh man...this is a hard post to write. I love a good fitspo just as much as the next girl, but I kept finding myself disappointed by their supplement recommendations. I didn't understand why someone so knowledgable about training, for example, was recommending overpriced, under-dosed products. I've come to understand that there's a few reasons:

1) They are paid to do it. Now listen, I will be the first to support a sponsored post. I love that companies are willing to support the free content that a lot of my favs are putting out. BUT for a lot of influencers that means, with supplements especially, they are promoting something they might not fully understand. 

I've been balls deep (I'm a woman, I know, you get my point) in the SUPPLEMENT industry for a while now (there's a big difference between the supplement industry specifically and the fitness industry more generally). I've been in retail. In wholesale. In product creation. In marketing. You name it, I've probably had a hand in it at some point...and that's extremely uncommon. I was judging these influencers from my point of knowledge on supplements and how the industry works, not realizing that they are probably completely unaware of many aspects of the supplement industry. No fault on them, a lot of it is not obvious and their specialty is usually training. Which brings me to my second point...

2) There is no formal educational path for supplements. You can get an entire degree in Nutrition and they'll probably mention supplements in a lesson or two in one class. Ask our boy Cameron O'Neil, he did a whole nutrition minor and got a solid two powerpoint slides on supplement info. So, is there huge value in a Nutrition degree? YES! But even with that, there's no supplement education. THERE IS A HUGE LACK OF RELIABLE SUPPLEMENT INFO FOR THIS REASON. This probably goes back to how supplements are regulated in the US, but that is a post for another day. 

I now know that influencers [I'm generalizing, there are obviously exceptions] are promoting supplements to make money and most likely don't have good information sources. 

So how can I even expect influencers to know, when reliable sources are hard to identify? I can't expect them to.

After these realizations, I learned to take their recommendations with a grain of salt and focus on their specialties, not their sponsorships. Sure the product they're promoting might taste good, but I want to know what's in it? Where is it made? What does it do and how? Etc.

I learned to question what I'm putting in my body and I learned to look elsewhere for detailed supplement info long ago. I hope you do too. 

About the Author - Gabriella Mickel

Gabby owns Bullfrog Nutrition and Abiotic Factorz with Paul Callahan. She's completing a B.S. in Theoretical Math and a B.A. in History at OSU. Find her on instagram @gabriellamickel

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