If you’ve tried a variety of sports supplements, e.g. protein powders and pre workout supplements, it’s likely you’ve come across the innocent sounding term “proprietary blend” on the ingredients list before. But, have you ever stopped to think about what this term actually means?
In reality, it means that the company isn't telling us how much of each ingredient they put in their product.
A proprietary blend is a mix of nutrients which are not revealed by either total weight and/or individual measure amounts. This means companies are hiding the true amount of ingredients, perhaps to make it sound like the product has a lot of great nutrients in it, but in reality the dosage may be so small that it doesn’t actually do anything for your body.
What are proprietary blends?
A proprietary blend is a group of ingredients that are mixed into a single powder blend, but the amount of each ingredient is not disclosed. They often make their appearance on supplement nutritional labels with trademarked names like “Detox Blend” or “Greens Blend."
The total weight of the blend per serving is indicated but never indicated how much each ingredient makes up in proportion to one another. To complicate things even more some blends are made from other blends. It can often look like a long list of great ingredients, with an interesting name, however you can't tell if they're under-dosed or not.
Why don’t companies disclose the amount of each ingredient?
As we’ve established, essentially there isn’t really a way for you to find out the amount of each ingredient in a proprietary blend. In other words they make it impossible for you to track exactly what you are ingesting.
This is a tactic often used by companies to make it look like their supplements are great and contain lots of ingredients. However, it is usually just a list of under-dosed ingredients that offer you a sub-par performance. Underwhelming to say the least!
On the flip-side, this tends to result in larger profit margins for the company because in reality they only include small amounts of each ingredient, much less than the dosage required by your body to actually provide a benefit on your performance.
We highly advise to avoid buying products with proprietary blends and look to purchase products from companies like Flow State. We develop supplements like our pre workout with a specialist sports nutritionist and dietitian to ensure they contain adequate clinical doses of each ingredient in order to help you not only reach your fitness goal but to SMASH your goal with peak performance. The nutritional label is also fully transparent, so you can see each ingredient and dosage clearly, allowing you to know EXACTLY what you’re putting into your body.
Impossible to track progress
Companies that use proprietary blends make it impossible for you to see what kind of progress their supplements are giving you and this means that the only way to know how your body is reacting will be by trial-and-error. Different ingredients make your body react in a different way, but without knowing the true amount of each ingredient, you will never truly know what works for your body and what doesn’t.
When you think about the above, you start to question why would a company want to hide the amount of ingredients it’s putting into, for example, a pre workout supplement? We would highly advise avoiding these types of products and instead look out for an honest and transparent ingredient list, which also has clinically dosed ingredients.
So, should I avoid proprietary blends completely?
Simple answer is absolutely, yes! There are many other products that you will find which show the true list of ingredients and their amounts. A small proportion of them also focus on having clinical doses of only proven ingredients too.
For example, Flow State offers a vegan pre workout, which not only has a full disclosure of each ingredient, but contains only proven ingredients and clinical doses of each ingredient. Furthermore, this pre workout doesn’t contain ingredients that give you an uncomfortable experience during your workout, like the tingling sensation which comes from Beta-Alanine (BA).
Key takeaway - keep an eye on the ingredients list when buying any supplement and avoid any that contain proprietary blends, unless you don’t care what you put into your body of course!