What Are Proprietary Blends?

What are proprietary blends and why do so many supplement companies insist on using them? We reveal potentially why and three reasons why you should avoid them.

Key Takeaways

  • Proprietary blend labeling hides the individual ingredient amounts in a formula
  • The reasons why supplement companies “hide” their formula
  • Proprietary blends are bad for consumers

In an age where we are more conscious of what we put in our bodies than ever, accurate labeling is vital, especially regarding products containing common allergens like gluten and dairy.

It’s not just certain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions that people today are concerned with; it’s also artificial preservatives and other chemical additives that our bodies can do without, and these need to be avoided as well.

When it comes to supplements, the potencies of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other active ingredients in specific formulas are what consumers are most concerned with, particularly if they are addressing severe dietary deficiencies and using specific vitamins, minerals, and other active ingredients therapeutically.

A lack of detailed information can be the difference between managing a deficiency successfully or leaving it to get worse.

This is where the trend for proprietary blend labeling is not helpful to consumers. This makes such products questionable at best, especially if you are after thorough product information that can help you make the most suitable supplement purchase for your well-being.

What Is A Proprietary Blend?

Proprietary supplement labels

If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘proprietary blend’ when referring to supplements, this simply applies to a specially formulated mixture of ingredients in a certain product. This unique ‘blend’ is usually owned by supplement manufacturers and cannot be copied.

The problem comes down to listing information. Only the combined amount of all the blend’s ingredients are labeled, and the actual potency of each substance in the mix itself is not disclosed to consumers.

The argument for the inclusion of proprietary blends is that they do not give away too much information about the secret formulas the manufacturer creates to make their own individual stand-out supplements.

However, should consumers trust proprietary blends, or are they just an extra tool in marketing products that are nothing special and inferior to other supplements?

Why Should You Avoid Proprietary Blends?

1. Hides Real Dosages of Individual Ingredients

As already mentioned, potency information is vital to supplement consumers. In addition, it helps individuals with purchasing choices, especially if they need a higher dose of one key ingredient than others, to address a certain health issue.

The problem with proprietary blends is that consumers do not know whether they buy a product with therapeutic or non-therapeutic levels of certain critical ingredients. Therefore, purchasing a product that would not help someone is an ongoing risk with proprietary blends.

Only trace amounts of the active ingredients could be present in a proprietary blend, and the consumer would be none the wiser.

Unfortunately, these blends can also mask the fact that the mixture may contain cheap fillers and other ingredients consumers want to avoid. This is a major reason a proprietary formula should be avoided when choosing supplements because they may be a waste of money.

Deciphering proprietary blends, their claims, and their actual potential health benefits is made near impossible due to this style of labeling. Because of this, they are underdosing on key ingredients is highly likely, with all products containing proprietary blends.

2. Makes The Formula Sound Pseudo-Scientific

The bottom line is that proprietary blends exist thanks to a loophole in regulations that allows supplement manufacturers to lump ingredients together under the guise of a so-called ‘blend.’

This has also led to some companies using the term ‘proprietary blend’ as a marketing tool to hype up a mixture that may only contain 1% active ingredients.

Manufacturers also make these blends sound pseudo-scientific by claiming that all the ingredients synergize with each other because their scientists or labs have found the perfect ratio of each essential element. But, again, this is marketing BS that uses a buzzword such as ‘synergize’ to make the blend sound like it has been created by science.

This leaves the proprietary blend meaning meaningless when you cut through all the marketing techniques used purely to boost sales.

3. Prevents The Formula From Being Copied

Another popular reason for the existence of proprietary blend labeling given by manufacturers is that the lack of details helps keep their unique formulas safe from being copied by competitors.

The truth is that any competitor can send an individual to a health store to buy a rival product. They can then send it to a 3rd party lab and have the ingredients analyzed in minute detail.

Not including all the fine details of a product is more about maximizing profits while using cheap ingredients and marketing the end product as something special and unique.

How To Choose The Right Supplement For You

Dietary supplements can be a valuable way of boosting your health, especially if you have been diagnosed with a deficiency of an essential nutrient. A therapeutic higher dose of the nutrient in question would be needed for these individuals.

The best way to get such a dose is by buying the vitamin or mineral individually. This is because a multivitamin and mineral supplement will only have the recommended daily amount of each nutrient, which may not be enough. (Source)

When choosing a supplement, ask yourself what you need it for.

For example, if your diet isn’t always able to meet your daily nutritional needs, then a multivitamin and mineral formula would be ideal. Other people may find themselves more deficient in certain vitamins than they should, and in this case, getting an extra boost from a supplement may be beneficial.

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Final Thoughts

It is best to avoid supplement companies that make too many claims about their products yet have no scientific data to back any of them up. Furthermore, avoiding proprietary blends and choosing companies that display the exact measurement of each dosage is the best.

Proprietary blends use loopholes to not be transparent with consumers, and this leaves customers not knowing what they are getting for their money.

While all the key ingredients may be present, the amount included in the blend could be so minuscule that it renders the supplement nearly useless for the individuals taking them.

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