It might sound fancy but it’s important you know what goes into a patent and how it could improve your exercise gains. World-renowned trainer and life-long drug-free bodybuilder and fitness athlete Kris Gethin, CEO of Kaged Supplements, is here to talk you through them
What is a patented ingredient in a supplement?
When scanning the ingredients of your supplement bottles you’ll quite often see a branded one among the usual macros, micronutrients and common names like beta-alanine, creatine HCL, L-carnitine and citrulline. But is the fact an ingredient is patented important, and how could it affect your fitness goals?
Well, patented ingredients are usually trademarked and registered so they’re included in a supplement at the correct dosage to maintain the efficacy they’ve been clinically-proven to provide.
Quite legally, many supplement firms will use generic ingredients while regularly referring to studies that have been conducted only on the patented material. This is what’s commonly known as ‘borrowed science’.
The trust factor of patented supplements
Thankfully, the food industry has noted that consumers are demanding more functional, natural and organic produce. Although much more expensive than their generic counterparts, sales of these foods have increased by roughly 7% per year. As a result, a lot more brands are now clearly marked with stickers like ‘Organic Food Federation’ and ‘Organic Trust Limited’, making them much more trustworthy.
To go through the process of creating a patented ingredient isn’t easy or cheap. Patents can cost around £5,000, and it can take up to five years for a particular ingredient to be protected under a brand name. This is, of course, a general costing and time frame because each ingredient has a unique scenario.
Branded ingredients usually go through a much higher quality standard of manufacturing than their generic counterparts, but it’s up to the supplement company to regulate and inspect this procedure to ensure its standards are being met.
To increase consumer confidence even further, they also need to carry regulatory status by being certified GRAS-approved (generally recognised as safe) or with an NDI (intellectual property protection).
Of course it is up to the ingredient manufacturer, supplement company, distributor and retailer to communicate the key benefits of health and performance to the consumer, but rarely is this the case.
You should always do your own research You should always do your own research before supplementing because knowledge is power and it’s up to you to educate yourself, especially since you’re the one responsible for what you put into your body.
When reading the ingredients labels, and using some of the ingredients mentioned above as examples, always look for names like Carnosyn (the branded version of beta-alanine), BetaPower (betaine anhydrous) or Carnipure (L-carnitine).
However, not all ingredients will carry a branded name. Some will clearly display the patented title next to the ingredient name. Or you can look for the patent number, which should be clearly displayed on the supplement container. If it isn’t, there’s a possibility it will be displayed on the company’s website, or they should be able to give you it when you contact them.
In addition, you can also ask the company if they’re using the efficacious dosages clinically-backed in trials to ensure effectiveness and the safety of the ingredient.
The Science and quality behind patented ingredients in supplements
Understanding the science behind the product will allow you to make the most of all your hard work in the gym. When you add up all the components that attribute to a patented ingredient, like the costs, the number of studies that reference the ingredient, the time taken for clinical trials, regulatory status, formulation expertise, efficacious dosing and marketing dollars, you can feel a little more confident you are going to receive quality when using a patented ingredient in your supplement.
Branded ingredients are there to increase your trust in a supplement because you know they’ve been backed by tests. And that’s got to be peace of mind worth having.
Always check the ingredients labels of your supplements for peace of mind
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