How To Identify Fake Supplement – A few Simple Tips

by Vargis.Khan

For any regular Gym goer; professional or amateur bodybuilder; or athlete living in India; one of the foremost question is of the supplements (and also of to identify fake supplement). Unlike western world, Indian market is still in its diapers when it comes to quality nutritional supplements; like Protein, Creatine, Glutamine, fat burners; and even multi-vitamins for that matter. These are just a few that I named here which are considered as necessary supplements; for anyone who is slightly serious about getting that 6 pack muscular body; that we all adore but the list of supplements is of course endless.

We now have a huge market for these supplements in India; but unfortunately do not have one well established or reliable company that manufactures onshore. Because we all want to buy a quality product that would give faster results; we end up buying and importing the products from mostly American companies.

Also read: How much is the Import Duty on Health Supplements in India?

How To Identify Fake Supplement

Now there are two ways to buy a Western product. Either you buy online from an American website and have them ship which will result in you paying more than double the price due to the shipping charges and import duties involved. Or you buy from an Indian reseller who will offer you the same product at a slightly lesser cost. If you bought your supplement from a reputed American website like Bodybuilding.Com, you can be rest assured that you received a genuine product even though you paid quite a cost for it but what if you bought from a local reseller? The first question that arises in everyone’s mind is how do you know if the product is genuine?




First of all, it is important to know how these resellers offer you the supplement at a lesser price than a reputed online website. I spoke to a few resellers about this and the answer to this question is actually simple. They somehow either manage to slip the shipment past customs without paying any import duties or they manage to pay a lesser than required duty. This is how they sell it in the market at lower rate and whatever duties they did not pay becomes their profits. This of course applies to someone selling the actual product. Others just manufacture a similar powder like substance and sell it in the packaging of a well reputed supplement company.

Believe it or not, there is a huge amount of fake supplements available in Indian market today. Some of these are manufactured within the country and some in China. They do a quite a great job at packaging and you won’t be able to tell the different by just one look. So how do you know if the supplement you bought is genuine or fake? How can you tell the difference between a genuine or fake supplement? Where do you look to confirm the genuinity of the supplement in front of you? How do you identify a fake supplement before you buy it?  Or how do you identify and stop using a fake supplement after you have bought it?

Also read: How much is the Import Duty on Health Supplements in India?

Unfortunately, there is no sure shot way of telling this before buying. With pre-work out supplements, you can tell after you started to use it. If there is a boost in energy as the product promised, you can the deal was real but if there isn’t, you would know you have a fake supplement in hand. But with other supplements like Protein, you cannot even tell while you are still using it. After you have used it for a while and did not see any gains, then only you would come to know that someone sold you a fake product and you have no idea what you had been drinking for past couple of months. There is however a few things that you can look at before buying or within first weeks of usage that can help you determine whether the supplement is genuine or not.

The Packing says it all

Believe it or not, if you are careful enough you can catch a fake product before buying it just by reading the label carefully. Main aim of fake supplements is to make maximum profits and they also tend to cut the cost using low quality labels. No matter how well they do it, there will always remain a difference in the packing. What exactly should you be looking for? First of all, look for the quality of the print. If you have bought the same product before that was genuine, refer to that. Try to match the two together and you will notice that the label on the fake product would look like someone just printed it in their backyard. Take a look at the following image for example.

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

Someone faked this BSN True Mass but while they were printing the labels; they misspelled “Purest” and it read “Puest Mass Gains”. On another fake whey protein supplement that I came across, the ingredient was spelled as “Whey Cincentrate”.

Another thing to look for is how well the label was glued to the box. Sounds a little ridiculous but it is true. I have seen at least 10 different samples of fake supplements and on all of them, the label started to come off within a week. In the case of the following image, the box is still sealed pack and the label is coming off.

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

The above pictures are from a fake supplement. A genuine BSN True Mass looks like this.

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

As soon as you open up the Jar, look at the seal closely. If there is no seal, it is fake. However If there is in fact a seal but loosely placed, it is fake again. With a genuine product, seal on the bottle would have proper edges and uniformly attached. If it is open or loose from any side, it is fake.

Look for the hologram and logo and you will easily be able to tell the difference. Look at the MRP sticker. Popular brands have a detailed MRP sticker on them whereas the fake ones would just put a sticky with price on it. Other things to look for is the quality of graphics of the packaging and its clarity. Fake products usually have low quality container, graphics , labels and text.

 Taste will be too sweet

This can be a little hard specially if you are using that particular supplement for the first time. A quick reference should be the sugar levels in the supplement. If it is fake, it is bound to taste a little too sweet. How? In the example of the fake mass that I reference in the image above, I found out that it was not a supplement at all. Within the BSN packing, they were selling a powder for Vanilla Shake. There was no whey protein at all so they were bound to sweeten it up a little to dodge the taste.

Will not dissolve completely

If your supplement was for real, it would dissolve quite smoothly but if it was fake, you will have a tough time dissolving it. Even after shaking for a while, there will still be a few clumps left to chew on in the end.

Also read: Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Review

Too eager to sell

If the person you are buying from is too eager to sell and is ready to dip the price to what you are quoting, dump him. The product is fake again. There is no way that he can keep reducing the price if he has imported a genuine supplement.

MRP Sticker

Another way to identify a fake supplement. Take a closer look and see if it looks like someone just glued it to the package.

Poor Quality Jar

The container will be of poor quality, made of cheap plastic.

Density

These fake protein powders are usually Soy powders because of which the supplement would feel really thick for a Whey protein.

Unknown things in the powder

Sounds stupid? It is not. I once looked at a fake ON Whey Protein and within the powder, I found pieces of plastic like substance, had no clue what it was. Hell, I even found small gravels in it. In a fake BSN supplement, I found this wooden piece as in the image below.

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

Lot No

This may not be applicable of all but several popular brands have a lot number printed on the package that you can go online and verify. Below is an example of a fake lot number that I found.

identify fake supplement

How To Identify Fake Supplement

Now the big question is, what is it that you will find in fake supplements? What are they made of? Well that is a tough one to answer. I have seen supplements that read “Whey” but actually contained highly sweetened Soya flour. Another one that promised a gain in strength was just glucose powder. A BSN True Mass was in fact a Vanilla Shake powder. Honestly, expect anything but yeah; this anything can actually be dangerous and give undesired results like sudden gain in fat or worse.

So how do you buy a genuine product? Sure shot way is to buy from a reputed and trusted store; that is ready to give you an official TAX PAID BILL in which the TIN# AND VAT# of the seller is clearly printed. If you want further assurance, go to the VAT department website; (it is different for each state so just Google it) and put in the TIN# in search field and you would instantly know whether the TIN# printed on the bill was a fake or genuine.

Click on the links below to read my reviews on some of they whey proteins I have used.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 100% Whey Protein Review

Davisco Whey Protein Concentrate Review

Saputo Whey Protein Concentrate Review

Biox Power Casein Complex Review

Review : Universal Ultra Whey Pro

I hope this information was useful. If anyone has any questions; or need suggestions when it comes to buying supplements please feel free to ask at our Community Forum; or in the comments section below; and I will be glad to answer.

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71 comments

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Benito Petrocelli July 27, 2020 - 10:31 pm

Buenos Días.-
¿Que opinión tiene sobre las Malteadas o Merengadas o Batidos tanto proteínas como gainers del Laboratorio Universal Nutrition?
A mis 51 años de edad, hago ejercicio y siempre he tomado estos dos: Real Gains y Ultra Whey Pro… ambos de Universal Nutrition.
Espero que puedas leer este comentario mio y luego me de su Opinión. Saludos.

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Vargis.Khan July 30, 2020 - 2:05 pm

La proteína de suero universal es una de mis favoritas. Principalmente, mi proteína es Optimum Nutrition o Universal. Es un gran producto con buen sabor y también ofrece buenas ganancias. Espero haber entendido bien el español.

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Sameer November 17, 2019 - 11:41 am

Bhai how to identify fake Muscletech performance series product .. i have bought online in dubai from sporter.com

the logo of muscletech is not slanting the M is straight is it fake how to identify the real product ?

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Ravish Thakur May 8, 2019 - 7:15 pm

Hi Sir,

One of my gym trainer gave me ISO Peptide supplement of the company Fusion Sciences based in US. However when I googled there is no such company exists. Even website does not available. I used this supplement for two weeks but no result. I tried to scan bar code but it didn’t scan. Whether it is fake? How to buy genuine supplement in future?

Ravish Thakur

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Vargis.Khan May 8, 2019 - 7:44 pm

Never buy a supplement from a gym trainer or coach. Buy it from a good reputed shop. In most of the cases, I have found the gym coaches selling fake product. I have been a victim to it myself.

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Edwin Archbold January 27, 2019 - 12:43 am

Hi Vargis,

I hope you are doing well.
Thank you for your article. It’s very helpful. I bought a bottle of Glucosamine and Chondroitin from a seller based in the state of Arizona here in The United States. I got a bottle around 14 days later after I paid for this. I got only 66 capsules and I was supposed to get 90 capsules inside my bottle. The Botte has also a phone number in California instead of Arizona. I tried to call the number but I’m getting an answer machine. Do you think the product could be fake?
Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
Edwin

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2019 - 1:53 pm

Hi Edwin – That is definitely one fake product brother. I woulnd’t use it if I were you.

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Edwin Archbold January 30, 2019 - 9:33 pm

Hi Vargis,
I hope you are doing well in India. Thank you so much for your help. I really apologize for the delay to get back to you. I was sick with a cold. I contacted the website to report this seller. Do you mind If I send you a picture of the bottle so you can take a look and tell me your opinion? My email address is [email protected]

Thanks a lot.
Edwin

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Jai Massie January 25, 2019 - 12:12 pm

Nice Blog!! The content you have shared is very elaborative and informative. Thanks a lot for sharing such a great piece of knowledge with us.

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Abhishek Tiwari January 14, 2019 - 7:13 pm

Does all Ultimate Nutrition Proteins in India are fake?

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Prem September 17, 2018 - 4:11 pm

I have spotted the lot number… Now where to check it ???

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Akash September 10, 2018 - 4:18 pm

I buy syntha 6 from unauthorised seller and t cap of the box doesn’t hv bsn logo on it is it fake or old packing format?

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Anil January 12, 2019 - 12:01 pm

I purchased muscle blaze 1 kg bottles pack
They cut open from bottom and sealed again. In this case difficult to identify the fake product since the SMS code verification will work as normal. Sharing all just to bring awareness

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Siddhesh Londhe July 11, 2018 - 5:52 pm

What’s hall mark? N where it is?

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Brad Fang June 26, 2018 - 7:41 am

-Quality check for protein powder boxes.
When Un-Opened :
Check for damages or cuts on the box,also includes torn labels.
Check for right spellings.
Download original label on the net and compare with the one youre about to buy.
Check for Brand Hologram sticker on neck seal and a plastic seal packed tightly around the cap.
Check for the brand’s name printed or embossed on top of the cap.
Scan qr code /hologram & bar code on the label.
Scan bar code/qr code on the importer’s/distributor’s label.
After Opened :
Should easily mix even with minimal stirring.
Primary pecan,bright commodities,neulife are the only 3 importers for ON in India.
Check for a branded scoop inside the box,scoop is golden in color for ON.
Check for seal cover.
Check for extra details such as manufacturer’s country mentioned under the cap.

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Vargis.Khan June 26, 2018 - 12:39 pm

Thanks Brad

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Aseem Sharma June 13, 2018 - 9:03 am

Is there any shop in Manali from where i can buy protein and BCAA?

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Vargis.Khan June 13, 2018 - 4:01 pm

I am not sure. I don’t live in Manali

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Deepak Singh May 9, 2018 - 6:40 am

How to identify QNT whey fake and genuine.

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abhishek kumar September 20, 2017 - 11:27 am

i got whey for 500rs kg is it original it tastes like it is and result are also good

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Vargis.Khan September 20, 2017 - 1:26 pm

Which brand?

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Makhan May 20, 2018 - 8:30 am

Champs standard whey clarify the brand is good or not

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Shravan Sharma August 21, 2017 - 7:24 pm

How to identify. Genuine RSP whey protein blend 4 lbs ????

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Deb June 22, 2017 - 4:05 pm

I bought a Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 2.39kg jar of flavour Chocolate Creme. In India Ultimate Nutrition official dealer is Kar Enterprise. But I order this from Aamzon.in. and importer sticker is different.
I mailed ultimate nutrition (www.ultimatenutrition.com) giving the details of Lot number and Mfg Date and EXP date. They replied me saying it is an authenticate product. But the taste which I ordered now is slightly different form what I am using for last past 1.5 months(this Jar importer was Kar Enterprise). I am little bit scared , which one is the original one and why there is taste difference. Please help me what to do in this scenario.

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Samson sundram February 10, 2018 - 12:52 pm

Kar enterprise is a fraud, i bought ultimate nutrition 2600 through Amazon which was from kar enterprise, two tubs 5 kg and 2.2 kg , both were duplicate, check the ultimate nutrition labor for trademark, u will find it all over the labor in genuine and not in duplicate(from kar enterprise)

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Rishabh Doshi May 12, 2017 - 4:30 pm

Sir can a neulife store sell fake suppliment..
Like his employee can remove powder from isopure and refill with crap and seal it again from top. Cause isopure and on does not have inner seal( its thr only in and above cap) and not on lid.
Also i want to confirm is it possible fr such a big importer. Also the protien mfg is 2015 and exp 10/2017 so should we buy product few months before expire date considering it will finish in a month.

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Raman dhillon May 6, 2017 - 5:39 pm

I always buy from importer in quantity for a year but once i buy pre workout from elante mall at chandigarh , its to sweet and it make heart beats to fast , and i cannt sleep . Can you tell me the lab adress or phone no .where should i tested it original or fake , or which test .

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James May 4, 2017 - 6:37 pm

printing errors can happen to even the biggest company, labels can peal off of any product due to various weather conditions and cold etc… while there may be some fake products marketed out there, I beleive they are very, very few and far between.

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PRIBCE May 2, 2017 - 4:46 pm

hey bro Can i buy Musclepharm combat from flipkart its price is 6000 but 18% off offer is going on

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Arun das April 27, 2017 - 8:12 am

Hai. Sir,,I brought muscle pharm combat from Dubai..is there any chance to get fake product from there..i brought it from Dubai Mall life style nutrition..is it original how can I trust to that product..reply plz

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User April 18, 2017 - 10:33 am

I purchased a few BSN products. The packaging seems close to genuine, but, there’s a couple spots that are questionable. The Cellmass 2.0 does not have the BSN Finish First logo/seal embossed on the top of the grey cap, Beta-Alaine has a white nutritional facts (if that makes since), Syntha-6 Isolate has no EXP date, Whey DNA EXP date can rub off and the powder smells funny, Evotest has no EXP date and the powder looks a bit gritty as if It’s old. Cellmass 2.0, Beta-Alaine, Amino X, Evotest, and Whey DNA don’t have the http://www.bsnonline.com website on the silver holographic ring around the lower part of the label. Although I do take in consideration, I’m not one to conclude easily. Because I understand that products can vary. Some stocks could be old or new and have slight changes. There are also other warehouses. And just because a genuine product is cheaper, doesn’t mean It’s counterfeit. I’ve seen cheap designer fragrances that were counterfeits, while, even though I found the same designer fragrances the same price as those counterfeits, they were actually genuine, and far cheaper than retail. I’m a little new to BSN products, though, so, I can’t easily compare.

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Mahi April 18, 2017 - 9:04 am

Sir i get ON serious maas gainer on healrhcart so sir mujhe ye btaaye kii healthcart pr authentic product.milte h ya fir kuch or hai plzzz sir btaaye

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shahrukh shahab March 29, 2017 - 5:06 pm

I havr buyed a Muscleblaze whey protein from the paytm and the seller is healthkart…..how can i assure that the protein is original ….please kindly give me suggestion

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sonu March 28, 2017 - 7:27 pm

Let me know is godupps is good website of dubai

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nitin March 22, 2017 - 9:29 am

I have scan the qr code but where should be check on MP Official website

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Randeep March 21, 2017 - 2:16 am

Are big muscles best whey protein powder good??

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Vargis.Khan March 21, 2017 - 2:19 am

Well you do need to intake 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body. It can either be a good quality whey protein powder or could be chicken, egg whites, soy protein etc as well

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ravi prajapat February 27, 2017 - 6:30 am

i want to buy on whey protein of 2 lb
amazon is showing price 3100 and healthkart is showing 3699 so pls tell me from where i should buy it

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Vargis.Khan February 28, 2017 - 12:50 am

3699 for 2 lbs? Which brand?

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Vishal Kundu February 3, 2017 - 2:17 am

Sir I want to know that where I can confirm the lot no online.

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Vargis.Khan February 3, 2017 - 7:21 pm

Not all companies provide that option Vishal. Best would be to check the official website of the company that you bought product of.

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Omkar Bhalekar January 26, 2017 - 5:39 pm

Hi sir I literally had a hard time finding a genuine whey supplement.Your blog was very helpful.Actually my gym trainer is insisting me to buy a whey isolate named Nutrabio whey isolate which is not manufactured in India.And he tells me that we get the product directly from the distributor so the price is less.Thr original price of the product is around $79 =₹5500approx when I searched it on the internet but he’s offering me the same product for ₹3000.What are the chances of it being fake based on the price difference.And what do you suggest shall I buy it?

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2017 - 5:12 am

Do not buy brother, definitely a fake. I have seen several instances where a Gym trainer or coach offered a fake supplement to unsuspecting newbies at the gym. I am sure he must be pushing you over and over again, insisting that you must buy supplement or else there is no use. Selling a supplement for half the price just means one thing, he is selling fake. Do not fall for it. Buy only a genuine product.

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Omkar Bhalekar January 27, 2017 - 1:35 pm

Ok thanks

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2017 - 3:47 pm

You are welcome

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Shivam January 25, 2017 - 5:51 pm

Sir can there be a duplicate preworout as i am buying from my trainer

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Vargis.Khan January 25, 2017 - 9:27 pm

Hi Shivan – Fake supplements come in all forms, it is not limited to Whey protein powder only

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nagar January 6, 2017 - 5:10 am

vargis isir, i just joined a gym n my PT ask me to pay for whey protein, i did the same and he brought a a brand PSN(rp-sports nutrition) matrix super whey pack, which is marketed in india by sara india pvt. ltd….
sir plz tell me is there anu brand as such PSN exists n is this product is genuine….

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Vargis.Khan January 6, 2017 - 3:16 pm

Performance Sports Nutrition (PSN) is an Australian based company bro so yes, the company is genuine but I have never used their products so cannot really tell you if they are any good. How much did you pay for their Whey Protein?

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Wx December 19, 2016 - 2:51 pm

Hello sir i bought optimum nutrition gold standard whey from neulife. I have chosen choclate flavour. But on official optimum Nutrition website there is no choclate flavour. I am really afraid.Please tell something about it. Why are they selling choclate flavour when there is no such flavour on official optimum nutrition site.

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Vargis.Khan December 20, 2016 - 1:37 am

Hi WX – ON does come in Chocolate flavors like Chocolate mint or Double rich Chocolate.

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Wx December 19, 2016 - 2:48 pm

Hello sir i bought on gold standard whey from neulife. I have chosen choclate flavour. But on official on website there is no choclate flavour. I am really afraid.Please tell something about it. Why they are selling choclate flavour when there is no such flavour on official choclate site.

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Sumit Gulia December 4, 2016 - 9:09 am

Jus Bought a MP BCaa ! Powered form ! Watermelon flavour ! How to check the originality?

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Vargis.Khan December 4, 2016 - 3:32 pm

Did you try checking all the things i mentioned in the post?

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Yoshida November 15, 2016 - 8:49 am

Hi, there is this new(not sure, just heard of it) type of protein called Whey Depot from Dave Pharmaceuticals, which is kind of cheap for 10lb bag… if you can help out and maybe figure out if this is a legit product/brand. Apparently manufactured in the USA.

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Vargis.Khan November 15, 2016 - 4:32 pm

Never heard of this brand bro but let me see If I can find out more …

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Manik November 2, 2016 - 7:02 pm

Hi I bought muscle pharm combat .need to know its originality. Flavour chocolate milk 25 g protien per serving.

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Vargis.Khan November 3, 2016 - 12:43 am

Did you check all the things I mentioned above in the post?

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Manik November 3, 2016 - 4:54 am

I think the packing looks good . But the box doesn’t have a hall mark on it and the (UFC)logo marked on it which makes me doubtful.

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:23 pm

Does it taste any wierd or a bit too sweet? Takes long to dissolve or some foam like thing at the top after you put and shake it in the shaker?

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:38 pm

Or any adverse effects on the body like bloating look, water retention etc? How long have you used it? Some of these fake supplements have chemicals in them that will create a lot of water retention giving a bloating look, trying to trick the user in thinking that they are gaining.

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arvind sah October 14, 2016 - 9:19 am

HI PPL……………..I bought Mr. Hyde Zero from Fitzone shop in Delhi…..its a piece of crap. Absolutely fake!!!! i feel nausea and super ill…have not been able to recover since then……it gives no effect was a pre workout does within 15/20 mins. its poor in taste n quality. Please avoid buying anything such stuff even protien powers from these shops in Delhi. They are all FAKE!!!!!!!

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Vargis.Khan October 14, 2016 - 12:32 pm

Hi Arvind – Would you mind sharing a few pics of the package and labels?

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devender sehrawat December 9, 2015 - 8:40 am

There’s no receipts and that’s what makes me worried . He didn’t give them and said they do this to avoid tax .

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:39 pm

How about mixing ability, taste etc?

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devender sehrawat December 9, 2015 - 8:38 am

I know it might sound fishy but I bought musclepharm creatine and glutamine + bcaa ( weider , in tablet form ) through Fitzone store. I was stupid to not ask for the receipt then and there, I might have avoided purchasing it ! But now that I have spent huge money I tried asking him a lot of times and he said he works with the grey market and I can get the supplements get checked in lab and he would take them back if proven to be fake . I have already opened the boxes :/ . Some people told me that generally it is proteins which have adulteration but I have no clue . I would completely avoid supplements in future . It’s overhyped crap.

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devender sehrawat December 9, 2015 - 8:39 am

By the way, how do I tell if my product is genuine ? The packing and holograms look legit .

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:40 pm

How about mixing ability, taste etc?

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Amtoj Singh October 8, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Brother supplements are not overhyped.. just buy from an authorised importer and ALWAYS ask for a bill.

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:41 pm

I agree

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Vargis.Khan November 4, 2016 - 2:39 pm

I wouldnt really say that Supplements are hyped for no reason Bro

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