What Is A Proprietary Blend In Supplements? Should You Avoid It?


In an ever-growing world of supplements, we’ve probably all come across proprietary blends, possible without even knowing it.

Proprietary blend supplements are commonly listed as blends, matrixes, complexes, or formulas.

This article will provide details on proprietary blend supplements and will examine their use and potential issues.

What Is A Proprietary Blend?

A proprietary blend refers to a combination of ingredients used by a manufacturer. While the weight per serving and the name of each ingredient may be disclosed, the amounts of each individual ingredient are not (1).

One of the main reasons that manufacturers utilize proprietary blends is to protect their products from competitors. It allows them to hide their unique formula.

Being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may give the impression that these products are effective.

However, to comply with the FDA, manufacturers must list all ingredients. However, for supplements, quantities of each substance do not need to be listed (2).

As a result, some products may contain small amounts of effective ingredients and high amounts of fillers and additives.

This gives the manufacturers opportunities for financial gain by allowing them to reduce manufacturing costs while maximizing profit substantially.

Using a proprietary blend makes it impossible to know precisely the supplement’s contents and the effects it may have.

Why Would A Supplement Company Use A Proprietary Blend?

There are a number of reasons to explain why manufacturers use proprietary blends.

1. Marketing Purposes

By including on-trend ingredients or catchwords on their products, customers are more likely to purchase.

2. Perceived Value

Naming a number of these ingredients on the product will improve the attractiveness and perceived value. As a result, manufacturers may be able to sell for a greater price.

3. Protecting Product Formula

In order to hide their specific formula, proprietary blends are used. This prevents competitors from using their formula in their products.

4. Hiding Ineffective Formulas

Blends allow manufacturers to add as much or as little of each ingredient as they like. Often manufacturers add large amounts of cheap and ineffective ingredients to maximize revenue.

Why Should They Be Avoided?

While there may be some effective proprietary blend products, many of them should be avoided. In this section, we will cover five reasons why.

1. Unproven Ingredients

Effective supplements will contain high proportions of scientifically-backed ingredients.

However, some manufacturers have been known to incorporate a number of ineffective ingredients into their products. Effective ingredients may be added but in small amounts.

Manufacturers do this to limit expenditure and maximize sales.

Therefore, while some may contain beneficial ingredients, the total amount of these ingredients is not specified. Consequently, it is difficult to ascertain whether the product is effective or not.

Furthermore, some manufacturers add a large number of certain substances, which may cause us to exceed the recommended daily values.

This may lead to a number of side effects and may even detrimentally impact the health of the user (3).

2. Not Clinically Dosed

As touched on, overconsumption of specific substances can harm the health of the body.

Even consuming excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals can contribute to health issues.

Conversely, failing to consume ample quantities of essential substances can also impact our health.

Unfortunately, many proprietary blends do not use the quantities that are recommended in scientific studies. This can lead to over or underdosing.

As a result of this, supplements may not only be ineffective but may pose a risk to our health.

All supplement formulas must be studied carefully before usage to ensure that they are safe and effective.

With proprietary blends, considering that the quantities of each ingredient are hidden, this is not possible.

3. Unknown Mechanism Of Action

Understanding the effects that certain substances have on the body is essential when selecting a supplement.

Several common supplement ingredients cause a specific action or reaction within the body.

For example, consuming a high-caffeine supplement will lead to the stimulation of the nervous system.

However, without knowing the quantities of each substance, it is not possible to know the impact the product will have.

Furthermore, a number of blend ingredients are synthetic. Therefore, these ingredients may not expectedly interact with the body.

Ultimately, it is not possible to fully understand the effects that taking proprietary blends will have on the body.

4. Untrustworthy Companies

A handful of manufacturers may genuinely produce proprietary blends in order to protect their product. However, others see it as an opportunity to increase revenue.

Many manufacturers use smart marketing to lure in potential customers.

Although some products contain minute amounts of effective ingredients, they can still market their products as having these key ingredients.

Therefore, many consumers purchase blends assuming that the product contains healthy doses of key ingredients. There is also no way of verifying the quantities of each substance.

In addition, manufacturers use appealing names and phases to lure in consumers. It is not uncommon to find the phrases “scientifically proven” and “clinically formulated” on blends.

Ultimately, these companies need to generate revenue and do so by creating these highly marketable and profitable products.

5. Difficult To Track Progress

Using proprietary blends makes it challenging to understand the progress that is being made. Once again, this is primarily due to the fact that the formula of the blend is a mystery.

Everyone is unique. For some individuals, specific substances may be highly effective, while for others, it has little impact.

Because the formula is hidden, we are unable to determine the impact that certain substances have on the body.

This may be a cause for concern, especially for those with medical issues. Without knowing the formula, a doctor or dietician will be unable to determine its suitability.

Furthermore, if the supplement causes side effects, it will not be possible to determine which ingredient is responsible.

How Should You Choose Your Supplement Company Instead?

Proprietary Blends in Supplements

There is such a vast number of supplements to choose from. Therefore, how can we distinguish which supplement is best?

1. Transparency

It’s important to know exactly what it is we are consuming. With proprietary blends, this is not possible.

Therefore, look for supplements that provide a comprehensive breakdown of the ingredients – that includes ingredient names and the quantities.

Understanding the formula used in the supplement will allow us to grasp the product’s uses and effects. As a result, we will be able to make a more informed choice.

In addition, we can present the product’s nutritional information to a doctor or dietician to ensure suitability and safety.

2. Scientifically Proven

Marketing is a powerful tool. We can quickly be drawn in by the design or keywords found on particular supplements.

Furthermore, the rise of the social media influencer has given company opportunities to market their products to thousands more.

We mustn’t fall for clever marketing or be influenced by what we see on social media.

Unfortunately, many products that are pushed our way lack scientific evidence and are likely to be ineffective.

When selecting a supplement, we should carefully study the product and ensure that it is effective and safe to consume.

Look for supplements containing ingredients that have been thoroughly studied and found to impact health or performance positively.

3. Clinically Dosed

As well as including powerful ingredients, the correct doses must be used in the product to maximize results.

Unfortunately, many multi-ingredient supplements do not use clinical doses (4).

Supplements containing small quantities will likely be ineffective, whereas high doses may lead to side effects.

Proprietary blends tend to use a large amount of fillers and additives to keep manufacturing costs down. The result is a product that will not deliver the expected results.

Well-made supplements will use high-quality ingredients and adhere to the dosages used in clinical studies. As a result, these supplements are far superior to proprietary blends.

4. Little To No Proprietary Blends

As this article has highlighted, there are a number of issues with proprietary blend supplements. Therefore, most proprietary blends should be avoided as far as possible.

Although they may look the part,  more often than not, they will not be of great benefit to your health and fitness.

Due to the fact that the formula is hidden, there is no way of understanding the effects of the supplement. There are also questions surrounding the safety of some proprietary blends.

Before purchasing any supplement, it is imperative to carefully study the product to ensure that the ingredients and quantities are disclosed.


Manufacturers use proprietary blends in order to protect their supplements formula from competitors.

Unfortunately, proprietary blends also give the manufacturer to maximize profit. This is done by minimizing production costs while selling them for a premium price.

To reduce costs, many proprietary blends contain high amounts of fillers and low quantities of scientifically-backed ingredients. Therefore, many blend supplements are ineffective.

Furthermore, with proprietary blends, there is no way of determining what exactly we are consuming.

When purchasing a supplement, proprietary blend supplements are not recommended.

There are a number of other high-quality supplements that are transparent with the contents of their product. In addition, these products tend to be much safer and more effective.


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