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Let me ask you a question, have you ever looked at the ingredients of some of your supplements and noticed under the “medicinal ingredients”, a section that says “Proprietary Blend”?
Well, I have and it really got me wondering. What the heck does “Proprietary Blend” mean?
Well, I decided to do a bit of research and have found out two things about the proprietary blends.
First of all, certain supplement companies do this to protect the ingredient combinations in their formulas. Fair enough.
Secondly, there are supplement companies out there who do this to scam you, plain and simple.
I can understand the need to protect the ingredient combinations in order to protect their business. Today, it’s actually pretty easy to take the listed ingredient combinations of a certain supplement, buy the ingredients in bulk, stick a label on it, give it a name and sell it. Any Joe off the street can do this and I understand the need for privacy.
If formula secret is good enough for Kentucky Fried Chicken it must be good enough for supplement companies, right? I’m not so sure. You see, unlike Kentucky Fried Chicken, I don’t need to know exactly how much cumin is used or how many teaspoons of paprika is used in each batch. I really don’t care. Why? Well, I’m not eating KFC to get the health benefits of cumin or paprika. I’m eating it because the chicken tastes good (sometimes).
Now, take a look at supplements. Right now, I’m looking at Six Star Muscle’s “Professional Strength Creatine”. According to the front of the label, it says:
“Scientific Engineered Anabolic Creatine Formula”
• Scientically superior to super advanced creatine powders
• Engineered for rapid, dramatic muscle growth
• Explosive gains in muscle size and strength in just days
• Peaks insulin levels for accelerated creatine uptake
On the back of the label, it lists the ingredients, which says:
Amount Per Serving
Energy 170 calories
Total carbohydrates 42 grams
Creatine Proprietary Blend 9335 mg
HyperPure Creatine Complex
Nitric Oxide Activator
Accelerated Insulin Drive
Alpha lipoic acid
Alright, what does this label tell me? I tells me that there are roughly 12 ingredients in this “proprietary creatine” blend and of these ingredients, it is divided up to equal 9335 mg or roughly 9 grams. Let me tell you this, I didn’t buy this supplement for it’s taste. I bought it because I want to get stronger and bigger.
The only ingredients in this formula that have been proven to work are creatine, sugar and protein. Now, this is the question I have to ask myself. How much creatine and protein am I getting? We know that we are getting 42 grams of sugar but how much of the other active ingredients am I paying for? Is it 1 gram of creatine, 3 grams, 5 grams? How much?
Why do I want to know? 1 gram of creatine isn’t going to do jack shit. Personally, this doesn’t do anything for me and it’s why I hate proprietary blend supplements. Now, let’s take a look at another creatine product, Dymatize Xtreme Xpand.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Carbohydrates: 0g
• Creatine Ester Fusion™: 4g - Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate, Tricreatine Malate
• Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (A-AKG): 3g
• Betaine-Anhydrous: 2g
• Taurine (Micronized): 2g
• Glutamine Fusion™: 1g
This is a little better. I like this listing for two reasons. Firstly, it tells me how much of each ingredient I’m getting for the money I've spent. Secondly, it holds the company accountable for the listed ingredients. Personally, it gives me confidence knowing that the company is secure enough to list their ingredients and will be held responsible for any inaccuracies.
This is the chance that supplement companies have to accept. List your active ingredients. If the product is good, people will always go for that supplement.
Proprietary Blend companies hide behind this loop hole and it simply doesn’t give me the confidence in the product. I strongly suggest you take a second look at the label the next time you’re in your local supplement store looking at the ingredients. If you see “Proprietary Blends” think twice before buying it.
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P.S That tub of Six Star was given to me...
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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