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Article Title:
The "Proprietary Blend" Nutritional Supplement

Article Description:
In a nut shell, I went onto cover each of these common marketing 
terms that are used to sell supplements to unwitting consumers 
and explained each in detail as to what I view as their common 
misuse within the market place. 

Additional Article Information:
1088 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Fri Feb 10 04:37:43 EST 2006

Written By:     Will Brink
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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The "Proprietary Blend" Nutritional Supplement
Copyright © 2006 Will Brink
Diet Supplements Revealed

- The Shell Game that is the "Proprietary Blend" Nutritional 

Recently I wrote an article entitled "Terms, Terms, Terms, An 
Inside look to buying supplements" which can be found on the 
Gurus and Guests section of my private forum. The article covered 
many of the misleading marketing terms buyers have to deal with 
in an attempt to make informed decisions on the supplements they 
spend their hard earned money on. Some of the more potentially 
misleading commonly used marketing terms I covered were: 

"Clinically proven" 
"Doctor recommended" 
"All natural" 
"Scientifically formulated" 
"Research proven" 
"Used for thousands of years"

Readers interested in understanding why the above terms can be so 
misleading, can read my write-up on each of those terms. 

In a nut shell, I went onto cover each of these common marketing 
terms that are used to sell supplements to unwitting consumers 
and explained each in detail as to what I view as their common 
misuse within the market place. 

However, one term I didn't cover, was "proprietary blend" which 
in many cases is the most potentially misleading term of them 
all, though not a term always seen in ads per se, but the side of 
the bottle. 

Thus, why I felt it was a separate topic to be covered at a later 
date as it does not fit under the classic definition of a 
commonly used marketing term found in ads. I also decided to 
cover this term in a separate article as it requires much more 
space dedicated to it then the other terms needed for reasons 
that will be apparent shortly.

Proprietary blends are not inherently a negative for the 
consumer, though they are inherently confusing for the buyer in 
most cases. 

A supplement that lists a "proprietary blend" on the bottle can 
be there for one of two reasons: 

(a) to prevent the competition from knowing exactly what ratios 
and amounts of each ingredient present in the formula to prevent 
the competition from copying their formula exactly (commonly 
referred to as a "knock off") or 

(b) to hide the fact the formula contains very little of the 
active ingredients listed on the bottle in an attempt to fool 

Sadly, the latter use is far more common then the former. They 
see a long list of seemingly impressive ingredients listed in the 
"proprietary blend" none of which are there is amounts that will 
have any effects. This is commonly referred to as "label 
decoration" by industry insiders. The former use of the term is a 
legitimate way for a company of a quality formula from having the 
competition copy or "knock off" their formula and the latter use 
of the term is to scam people.

So how does the consumer tell the difference? 

They can't, or at least they can't without some research and 
knowledge, which the scam artists know few people have the time 
and energy to dedicate to finding the answers. Although there are 
a few tips the consumer can use to decide if a product with a 
"proprietary blend" is worth trying, no one, not even me, can 
figure out exactly how much of each ingredient is in the blend or 
in what ratio of each is contained within the formula, hence why 
the honest and not-so-honest companies employ "proprietary 
blends" so often. 

Thus, we have something of a conundrum here and conflict between 
a company making a quality formula attempting to protect that 
formula from other companies vs. the company simply looking to 
baffle buyers with BS. 

There are at least some basic tips or food for thought here 
regarding this problem. A formula that contains say 10 
ingredients in a "proprietary blend" is by no means defacto 
superior then one with three ingredients in it. It's the dose 
that matters. Clearly, it's better to have higher amounts of 
ingredients that will have some effects vs. a long list of 
ingredients in doses too low to have any effects. 

Some times it helps to look at both what's in the blend and how 
much of the blend actually exists. As an example, if say the 
blend is 300mg total and contains ten ingredients, that's only 
30mg per ingredient, assuming (and you know what they say about 
assuming!) that each is found in equal amounts. Clearly, for most 
compounds out there, 30mg wont do jack sh*&. 

On the other hand, if say the blend is 3000mg (3 grams) and 
contains three or four ingredients, there is at least a better 
chance that the formula contains enough of each (and remember, we 
can't tell how much of each is in there as that information is 
"proprietary") to have some effects you are looking for such as 
an increase in strength, or a decrease in bodyfat, etc. 

Unfortunately, the above examples are so vague as to be close to 
worthless as it's easy enough to formulate a 3000mg blend where 
all the ingredients are worthless to begin with or a 300mg blend 
that contains compounds that only require small doses to have an 
effect and or can be toxic at higher doses. 

For example, the mineral zinc tends to be no more then 30mg in 
most formulas and no more is needed or recommended. Much of this 
comes down to the consumer knowing what the various ingredients 
are and how they work (to decide if they are even worth using in 
the first place) then deciding if said blend appears to at least 
contain a dose that would have the desired effects, which just 
brings us back to my prior comment: most people have neither the 
time or inclination to research all that info just to decide if 
they want to use a product and thus the many "proprietary blends" 
on the market that are no more then a long list of under-dosed 

Wish I could be of more help giving specific advice to readers of 
this here article as to what makes a good blend and what 
constitutes a poorly made blend, but the above advice is the best 
I can do under the circumstances. Although a "proprietary blend" 
is not by default a negative to the consumer, it is by all means 
the poster child for the well-known Latin term Caveat emptor 
which translates into English as "let the buyer beware".

See Will's ebooks online here: 

Muscle Building Nutrition 
A complete guide bodybuilding supplements and eating to gain 
lean muscle

Diet Supplements Revealed 
A review of diet supplements and guide to eating for maximum 
fat loss

Will Brink writes for numerous health, fitness, medical, and 
bodybuilding publications. His articles can be found in Life 
Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise 
For Men Only, Oxygen, Women's World, The Townsend Letter For 
Doctors and many more. His website is



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