2017 was one to remember. It was filled with incredible highs and lows that make it one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory. As 2018 dawns, we take a look back at the previous 365 days to recount some of the most notable headlines that caught everyone’s attention.
A year like no other
MAN Sports Wins the Stack3d Protein Wars
For several years now, Stack3d has hosted The Protein Wars, a no-holds barred, knockout style competition where fans vote for their favorite protein powder. Each year, the competition has gotten more and more heated as flavoring, texture, and consistency continue to improve.
This year, MAN Sports took home the title of Protein Wars Champion, defeating the previous champ, NutraBio, by just 2%! While we do love some NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate, there’s no denying that MAN’s ISO Protein is on another level entirely in terms of taste and texture.
We reviewed MAN’s ISO Protein the new Sprinkle Donut and Loopy Fruit flavors and these are simply sublime, especially for being pure isolates!
CBD Oil in Supplements opens Fiery Debate after Tim Muriello separates from IllPumpYouUp and makes Gummy CBD Frogs
Earlier in the year, IllPumpYouUp separated with YouTube fitness and supplement personality Tim Muriello.
With the popular frontman available as an agent for hire around the industry, Tim was free to pursue his own product line, which he did with some products that push the envelope with some of the FDA’s current regulations.
CBD as a Supplement?!
But that’s not where the real drama starts. It’s his latest product, his CBD oil infused green gummy post-workout “recovery” treats that started a fiery debate in Stack3d’s Facebook page, with industry heavyweights like Bruce Kneller, Rick Collins, and Aaron Singerman chiming in.
It seems that the real question is, “What is the legal definition of ‘marijuana’?” — since that’s really the schedule drug — and does CBD itself fall inside of that? Powerhouse lawyer Rick Collins should have something more definitive for us early this year, but ultimately it’s up to the FDA and DEA to decide.
The FDA has already voiced their decision on CBD in the matter, having sent out CBD warning letters, so this is clearly going to be an uphill battle for Tim and everyone else looking to sell those green frogs as supplements.
So, given the nation’s pervasively increasing drug abuse problem, contrasted with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ stance, will 2018 be the year the CBD supplement breaks the chains of FDA bondage… or the year people like Tim Muriello finds themselves in the FDA’s crosshairs?
All is mum from the Trump FDA
Meanwhile, one big question that loomed from 2016 was how President Trump’s FDA would regulate the supplement industry, and so far it’s been crickets… so maybe there’s hope for those green CBD frogs just yet.
Keto Diet begins trending asymptotically, takes over paleo diet in Google Trends
Not to the surprise of those following closely, the ketogenic diet (“keto diet”) has hit a new form of stride, and is trending upwards towards the mainstream crowd. In fact, keto has overtaken the still wildly popular paleo diet in Google Trends:
This has led to a boom in keto-specific supplements for the industry which are headlined by BHB products (but we must give props to Patrick Arnold for, once again, being there first with KetoSports and KetoCaNa).
As a low-carber, PricePlow’s founder Mike became interested and began his transition to full-time ketosis, running various keto supplement experiments on YouTube, and finding that many of the supplements are very bad for new keto dieters – even ones that are marketed to keto dieters failed the test miserably!
Mike’s diving head-first into ketosis for 2018, so stay tuned to our Keto Diet area to see how he perfects his diet and supplementation for optimal health, mental clarity, and body composition levels.
SARMs Drama, Enhanced Athlete Raided and Shut Down
Meanwhile, SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) were back in the headlines again, as the FDA issued “long-awaited” warning letters to companies illegally selling patented investigational prescription drugs as dietary supplements or “research chemicals”.
CJ did a great job covering both sides on our YouTube channel:
The popular Enhanced Athlete channel was also shut down on YouTube, which CJ also covered. It’s now moved to one named “Dr. Tony Huge”.
With the FDA taking serious action, this may open the door for some of the SARMs lawsuits to unfold in a new direction in 2018.
NutraBio does 3rd party lab tests for everything
NutraBio, the leader in transparency, somehow managed to “one up” their level of disclosure in 2017 when they announced they would enable users to find 3rd party lab tests for every single one of their products. That’s right, consumers now have access to the official NutraBio’s 3rd party lab tests for any and all of their NutraBio purchases (you can use CheckMySupps.com for a quick link), especially the ones manufactured moving forward.
As far as we can tell, no other brand is remotely close to doing this (at least not one with supplements worth taking), and it serves to highlight exactly Mark Glazier and the rest of NutraBio remains one of our absolute favorites.
So there’s a reason we love these guys, and it’s simple – we know exactly what we’re getting. And with the DMHA disaster discussed below, it’s quite clear that not all supplement manufacturers or brands are following really any laws.
So as a note to all of our haters on YouTube that continually tell us to “get off NutraBio’s jock”, or worse… when the shitty little bathtub supplement brand that you’re repping for starts using a fully transparent label and produces third party lab tests on every ingredient they use, we’ll call it a fair fight.
Banner Year for Young Brands
This past year, three brands took the industry by storm, and one put out the best rebrand we’ve seen to date.
Performax Labs takes it to the MAX
First, the monster rebrand: Performax Labs, who’s put out updates to all of their products, including HyperMax, our favorite DMAA/DMHA-free pre workout. But it’s really NootropiMax, the nootropic, that got us hooked, and is our favorite nootropic right now.
With this new line, and everything Maxed out, 2018 should be the year of the Performax.
Now for those three exploding companies?
Primeval Labs, RedCon1, and Sparta Nutrition are the ones that exploded on the scene in a big way this past year. Suffice to say, these three companies utterly crushed 2017, as they saw meteoric rises to the tops of the industry bringing well-rounded formulas that delivered the goods to fans young and old.
Primeval Labs takes off
Primeval made EAA supplements great again with the release of EAA Max, EAA Max Energy, and EAA sleep. They also re-ignited the love of stim-free pre workouts with the epically awesome Mega Pre and the testosterone boosting monster, Neanderthal.
RedCon1: Fastest-Growing Supplement Brand… EVER?
Meanwhile, RedCon1 dominated the aggressive stim pre workout landscape with powerful DMHA-infused pre workout Total War, which headlines our list of best pre workouts. And RedCon1’s meal replacement protein, MRE is absolutely killer, while their BOOM STICK natty test booster is so loaded that it requires nine capsules per day.
Needless to say, we’ve seen some products do well, but we don’t think we’ve ever seen an entire brand capture as many customers as RedCon1 has across their entire product line. Read about it in our RedCon1 2017 Recap.
Sparta: More Products Coming in 2018, including Keto Supplements
Total War wasn’t alone though. Sparta Nutrition’s Kraken pre workout set the tone for 2017, but for 2018, Sparta looks to be zagging into the keto market, having already announced their Keto Coffee creamer.
The big question with regards to Sparta and RedCon1 is whether or not they can continue their success throughout 2018 since DMHA is likely gone in the very near future (see below). Will these brands withstand the heat of losing a stimulant, or are they one year wonders? We aren’t betting against them.
This leads us to our next big news point:
DMHA on the ropes
DMAA isn’t the only aggressive stim whose fate is mired in rumor and uncertainty; DMHA also likely appears headed for the naughty list as the stimulant was first banned in Australia as of October 2017, an advisory which oddly only called out Giant Sports, whose products were selling well there.
Things got really nasty when Dr. Pieter Cohen published a study showing that 5 out of 6 “DMHA Supplements” didn’t contain DMHA, leaving a massive, shameful black eye on the sports nutrition side of the industry, as lab tests were clearly not done by the contract manufacturers on all incoming raw materials or outgoing batches (an issue also potentially faced in the Olympus Labs Re1gn “Recall”).
This led to a score of top tier DMHA-based pre workouts (including the aforementioned RedCon1 Total War and Sparta Nutrition Kraken) getting new formulations to remove the once beloved stimulant, and even MAN Sports, whose Game Day was proven to have the correct ingredient, is moving off the market.
Additionally, we’ve received word that several manufacturers are also refusing to touch the stimulant (or what Chinese raw material suppliers claim to be the stimulant), making it even more likely that the stim is headed for an exit from most mainstream products.
So the big question in 2018 will be, outside of Eria Jarensis Extract / N-phenethyl dimethylamine, a PEA compound which has GRAS status, what’s the next new stim to come in 2018? We have some guesses…
Bodybuilding.com Pulls Free Content Mid-Workout, Continues to Circle the Drain
Perhaps the most disappointing news during 2017 came from one of the best known names in the business — Bodybuilding.com. Known for years as a bastion for free information (whether good or bad), training programs, and supplement advice, the ‘mothership’ Bodybuilding.com began charging for content.
Now, they’re still providing some free content, but the really good stuff — the full blown video-inclusive training programs — now command a monthly fee of $8.99. While this is by no means an egregious amount of money, it’s still shocking for a company that once prided itself on billing itself as the industry leader goes and changes tactics.
Imagine you’re halfway through Kris Gethin’s program, training legs one day, and the next day… there’s a paywall in front of it! Because that’s exactly what happened to some now-jaded customers.
Fact is, Bodybuilding.com’s numbers tanked last year — and at an accelerating clip, which many of us saw coming years ago when founder Ryan Deluca resigned as CEO and they then changed their BOGO policies, leaving the market wide open for others — so the company had to do something to try to pull in a few bucks else face even more layoffs. You really can’t blame them for trying.
Time will tell if that was the appropriate solution… but we’re honestly not betting on it.
As Bodybuilding.com continues “disappear” content, chase their community away, and sell less-interesting products, we fully expect Liberty Media to lick their wounds, sell it at a massive loss, and get the F out of this crazy ass industry.
Hi-Tech and the FDA Continue Fighting over DMAA, with FDA winning this round
The leading issue over the past 365 days has been the fate of everyone’s hardcore stimulant, DMAA. We’ve covered the day-to-day happenings of the legal proceedings pretty thoroughly on the blog (here and here for the long-term and short-term battles, respectively) as well as our YouTube channel, and suffice to say that the fight is still ongoing, with neither side showing signs of throwing in the towel any time soon.
The big news at the end of 2016 is that it became a matter of fact that DMAA is a natural constituent of geraniums, with researchers (some paid by the FDA or other government-funded agencies) covering up the fact that they found DMAA in geranium plant material but failed to disclose it, and even wrote fraudulent titles to their unethical research studies.
So things looked good for Hi-Tech and the vindication of USPlabs, but the fight reached a peak in late 2017 when the feds raided Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and hauled Hi-Tech owner, Jared Wheat, off to jail. He’s since been released, but as it currently stands, the feds have taken all of Jared’s DMAA and aren’t giving it back, and he’s agreed not to manufacture or sell it in the meantime.
From the looks of it, DMAA is definitely on borrowed time, but Wheat and his crack legal team may have one or two last tricks up their sleeve… the big short-term play is to see if they can reverse the agreement not to manufacture or sell DMAA — and if they can, then it’s back in business. If not, it comes down to the longer-term play of the DMAA lawsuit appeal.
Tragic Death Stuns the Community
2017 wasn’t just about ingredients, best-selling products, and booming businesses. It’s about the people who power this industry. And unfortunately for everyone involved, there were also two monumental losses.
We’re unfortunately talking about the tragic, and extremely unexpected death of Dallas McCarver, and the less-unexpected but still devastating loss of Rich Piana. These two figures were titans of the bodybuilding world.
On our YouTube channel, CJ did a fantastic job discussing just how tragic these losses were:
Rich was the face, voice, and co-founder of 5% Nutrition who had been well-established as a popular figure in and out of the bodybuilding and supplement world. We did an interview with 5% Nutrition’s co-founder to discuss the future of 5% Nutrition, and it will be an interesting one to watch in 2018 as the continue with his legacy.
As for Dallas, the quiet but powerful rising star of competitive bodybuilding and the headline athlete for RedCon1, it was far more devastating for the community. Had his body been able to support his amazing build, it was clear that he was the next Mr. Olympia. Instead, we now have a hole in the sport of heavyweight bodybuilding as big as the one in our collective hearts.
Sadly, these two met rather untimely and unexpected ends, with their deaths shrouded in mystery and the endless rumors. They are gone, but will never be forgotten.
Bonus: The Surge of PricePlow
We can’t write a post this detailed without patting ourselves on our backs. If you haven’t noticed, PricePlow is taking YouTube by storm, and has quickly become the resource for supplement reviews and news!
Mostly powered by CJ and Robert (and Robert’s lovely wife Sandy when we can get her in!), the team has been working day and night to make sure you know what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s what.
CJ summed it all up in this fantastic New Year’s Video below:
Meanwhile, outside of his keto diet exploration, Mike is hard at work on new technology for the new year, the latest of which was the PricePlow Forum, a small but friendly community of like minds.
2017 out, 2018 in
2017 was one hell of a wild ride, leaving countless reasons to view it as one of the craziest years in recent memory. What’s ahead in 2018?
Well, there will be another battle for the next great “aggressive” stim / stimulant blend, which is already raging behind the scenes. This is sure to be the subject of much debate and speculation, and we just might know a guy who’s got something cooking!
Stay tuned, folks!!!
Sign up for alerts on your favorite supplement brands, join our forum after you delete your Facebook account (that was your New Year’s Resolution, right?), and subscribe to our YouTube channel… we’re only barely hitting our stride.