Most people don’t understand the regulations of the supplement industry. Many uninformed people think there are no regulations of the supplement industry at all. This is far from the truth, in fact Title 21 CFR Part 111 is the list of regulations for the supplement industry. These regulations state that your product must meet label claim. If a company claims there is two grams of beta-alanine in a product, there needs to be two grams of beta-alanine in each serving. There is a caveat to these rules, or a gray area that many companies exploit, and that is the loophole of proprietary blends.
A proprietary blend is a group of ingredients listed on the supplement facts panel; however, the individual ingredients within the blend don’t need to have their dosages listed. In fact, the regulations state that the ingredients must only be listed in order from highest to lowest in quantity. As the consumer or athlete, not only do you not know the actual dosage of the ingredients in the blend, but you don’t know if you are getting a therapeutic dose of each ingredient. Without a therapeutic dose there isn’t a point in consuming the product, and typically the cheaper ingredients make up the bulk of the blend, while the expensive ingredients are “fairy dusted” into the product. The supplement company makes a profit, doesn’t deliver a product that is actually beneficial to the athlete, and the athlete isn’t sure how much of what ingredient they are consuming. There are some companies doing it right, who have completely label transparency of every product, but they are few and far between.
For more on propriety blends check out this video of Mark Glazier CEO of NutraBio discussing label transparency and deceitful, but not illegal, tactics that many supplement companies use maximize profit and under deliver to the consumer.
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