Gettin’ My Wholesome On

After a recent race, I received an email from a nutrition company representative asking if I would be interested in trying their Natural Vitality sports nutritional products:

Would you be interested in trying out our sports nutrition products for ultrarunners and triathletes and post a review if you found them beneficial?

We have an energy shot for endurance athletes made from organic and whole-food ingredients called Energy28, Organic Life Vitamins our liquid multi-nutrient essential for athlete health and an anti-cramping and muscle recovery formula called Natural Calm.

I shot back that I am always stoked to try new things; and as long as I was not going to be directed by the company on what to say in my review, or how I wrote about my experience with the products, I was all for it.

They agreed, …so I agreed.

A Box Arrives

Natural Vitality product review for athletes

I almost forgot about the exchange with the company until this big box arrives at my office stuffed with all kinds of interesting bottles, packets, and stacks of information.

I read all the information that came with the products, reviewed the ingredients, and decided that there was no harm in trying these products. Here’s why:

So, what the Hell, right? Let’s see if it makes me feel any different.

A Little Skeptical?

Yes, I am.

As someone who works in advertising, I cringe when I see product labels designed by someone who went crazy with Photoshop filters. To me, it instantly lacks professionalism – as if the company couldn’t afford quality branding help, so they shot the project to a graphic artist in a basement somewhere.

The return address on the box was an office park, in suite #4, and I just picture some slick infomercial-type dude, in Palm Springs, pulling up in his BMW to check on the day’s shipping numbers to suckers.

But, I guess that’s not fair to the company nor the products – but I’m just being honest.

Image and first impressions are important.

Lastly, I ran to the web to see if I could find other athlete experiences – positive or negative – and learned quickly that the company spends HUGE resources on reputation and search engine management. I am a pro at finding things on the ‘net and am equally experienced in search engine optimization and brand management. I could tell right away that this company recognizes the powerful benefits of managing, and somewhat controlling, the information people will find about their products.

Full speed ahead

All that being said, I’m trying the Natural Vitality products and will be the latest guinea pig for the running community. The things I do for y’all…


I will take the products every day, and barring any wonky, negative effects, will take notes and report back here after approximately one month with a thorough and complete review of my experience(s).

Stay tuned…


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I’ve been using the Natural Calm supplement on and off for about a year. Found out about it through Robb Wolf and the whole Paleo Nutrition camp. It’s definitely good stuff, I tend to just ‘run’ a lot better when I’m taking it, especially when I’m eating super clean.
It will be good to see a review on some of their other products.

Train Hard / Live Easy

Thank you for your perspective Adrian.

The reason I am cool with this experiment is because the products are based on real, wholesome foods, not lab chemicals or “supplements”.

Again, you make a lot of really great points.


Couple not-so-quick comments…

If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you don’t need any of these supplements. Taking random supplements can be harmful as you can suffer from overdoses even from essential vitamins and minerals which is why doctors don’t even recommend multi-vitamins. If you have a blood test and learn you are deficient, you don’t need expensive brand-name supplements as “Organic” magnesium will be the same as generic magnesium.

As to any experiment, I think they’re bound to favour these vendors. With a sample size of one, you have to be very creative to sort out the placebo effect from any therapeutic benefits. The mere fact of making any change like taking supplements will make people feel a little better (the Hawthorne Effect). If you do happen to make progress over the next few months, many people will incorrectly attribute the change to the supplements yet if you get injured or have setbacks, few people will blame the supplement so it’s head I win, tails you lose.

As to the shiny labels, bold but meaningless claims (anti-aging really?) and buzzwords (“antioxidants”), it looks like an attempt to sell you a brand not a product.

BTW: “organic” is not a recipe for safety and is often a code-phrase for *reduced* regulation and safety. Supplements may contain herbs which are biologically active and this always means there’s a chance of side-effects. In fact, if there’s no chance of side-effects, there’s no chance of any positive benefit either – that’s a biological truism. Since herbal supplements fall into a regulatory grey area and don’t required FDA approval, it can be very difficult to know exactly what you’re taking.

As an example, there was a so-called homeopathic cold medicine Zicam which was making people permanently lose their sense of smell and taste (no joke, with real quality of life issues). Homeopathic preparations are supposed to be formed by taking a toxin and diluting it into non-existence and selling the resulting water but of course this doesn’t have any medical benefit so companies were secretly including additional chemicals. If anything, consumers should be even more sceptical of herbal supplements and homeopathy because there’s very little regulation and quality control.

My advice (and I’m not a doctor) is to only take supplements on the advice of a real doctor and only to deal with specific medical conditions. Treat them as medicines, not as a candy.

I take the Natural Calm. When I was hit with sciatica-like nerve pain pretty badly a few years ago I did some research and found that magnesium might be an issue. I found the Natural Calm and I think it did help. I still use it every day. Be careful, if you take too much it will give you the runs. :-)



Never heard of them but looking forward to your reports. I’m thinking they are expensive but will take a spin around the web to check them out

AJ Johnson


I value your opinions and insights. Please continue documenting your experiences with running supplements, shoes,
equipment. I will read your notes and be informed.
Thank you for sharing your running life with the list.

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