By: Matt Weik

There is an endless amount of supplement ingredients thrown into formulas that both you and I use daily – most of the time without really even thinking about it.  We are told that a product is good, we buy it, and the rest is history.  But when you turn the bottle around and look at the label, do you pay attention to whether or not there are patented supplement ingredients present, or do you not care?  Because you should absolutely care. 

What are some examples of patented supplement ingredients you may find in some commonly used supplements?  You can think of ingredients like Carnosyn®, Carnipure®, BetaPower®, AgmaPure®, Nitrosigine®, KSM-66®, Serin-Aid®, Con-Cret®, AlphaSize®, and HydroMax® to name a few.


What’s Wrong with Generic Supplement Ingredients?

In most cases, nothing.  So why should we care about patented supplement ingredients if generic will do?  Well, you can think of a comparison like gasoline.  If you put 87 octane (regular) fuel in a sports car, sure, it may run but it won’t get the most benefit from the fuel and the performance of the car may suffer.  

The 87 octane is going to be your cheapest option and while it may get the job done, there are better options available.  Moving up to 93 octane (premium) fuel, pump that into the tank of your sports car and experience a tremendous boost in performance over a lower quality gasoline.  Well, the same can be said about comparing generic supplement ingredients to patented supplement ingredients.

Yet, going with the “high octane” patented supplement ingredients doesn’t always mean it’s going to be better.  Just because someone drops the money on research and the filing of paperwork and then slaps a patent on an ingredient once approved doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “better” than the generic version.  You can take creatine for example.  You have creatine monohydrate and then you have Con-Cret® which is a patented creatine HCl.  

Is the patented creatine HCl a better-quality version of creatine?  Sure, on paper it absolutely is.  Does that mean it’s more effective than the generic and traditional old school version of creatine monohydrate?  No.  In fact, various pieces of research have shown the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate and that it is just as (if not maybe more) effective than the patented version of creatine HCl in the long-term.  

The downside is that it will take longer for the creatine monohydrate to fully saturate the muscle, whereas the patented creatine HCl can more easily hypersaturate the muscle and uses a much smaller dose than the standard 5g of creatine monohydrate that needs to be used daily for maintenance.  And as you would imagine, the patented creatine HCl is MUCH more expensive than creatine monohydrate.

Then Where Do Patented Supplement Ingredients Truly Shine?

When it comes to patented supplement ingredients, there are some key points of differentiation from the generic ingredients.  Below are some things to consider (in no particular order) that may entice you to look more closely into patented supplement ingredients and formulas that contain them.

  1. Highest Manufacturing Quality Available

I’m not saying that all supplements and ingredients used in products that aren’t patented are poor quality, made in a bathtub, or come from a disgusting old laboratory.  But in general, patented supplement ingredients are held to the highest of standards when it comes to manufacturing processes and needs to meet certain guidelines and criteria.

When the control and environment aren’t as tight as when working with patented supplement ingredients, it can lead to a less pure and lower overall quality that can drastically alter the effectiveness of the ingredient.

Buying a product that includes patented supplement ingredients provides you with some reassurance that what you are consuming is of the highest quality possible.  Along with reassurance, the ingredient must be dosed according to the published research.  A supplement manufacturer cannot use patented supplement ingredients where they underdose the ingredient and do not follow what the research has shown as being an effective and efficacious dose.

  1. Backed by Science and Research

Supplements and ingredients can be backed by research regardless of if they are patented or not.  Again, going back to the creatine monohydrate example, that raw material (ingredient) is not patented, yet is one of the most researched supplements available on the market today.  

With that being said, the research used to back patented supplement ingredients tend to hold a little more weight when compared to their generic counterpart.  While research can be used as a selling point for generic ingredients, many brands cite the research but hide the fairy-dusted ingredient(s) behind a proprietary blend so the consumer doesn’t know that rather than getting the recommended 5g of creatine monohydrate, they are only getting 1g (using that measure to show an example, not saying all supplement brands do this with creatine monohydrate).

In order for patented supplement ingredients to be sold, they must adhere to the level and dose at which the research has found them effective.  This ensures the consumer (you) is getting the correct amount needed to see the greatest results and benefits.  Additionally, it can cost thousands and thousands of dollars to get an ingredient patented, not to mention several years until it’s finally approved and legally protected.

PharmGrade EAA Image

Where Does This Leave Us?

I’m not here to tell you to ONLY buy products and use formulas that have patented supplement ingredients in them.  However, I will say that if you want the highest quality ingredient and that the ingredient is basically “guaranteed to work,” then you have to give the nod to patented supplement ingredients over a generic version.  

If you’re looking for a product that is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), then going to route of patented supplement ingredients is a great way to put your mind at ease and know that the FDA has done their own due diligence in overseeing this ingredient and ensuring it is safe for you to use.

So, the next time you're shopping for a new supplement to try, take a peek at the label and see what's in it.  Does it contain patented supplement ingredients?  Or is the formula very standard and vanilla?  Again, generic formulas aren't necessarily bad or should be avoided.  There are plenty of supplements out on the market with a generic list of extremely effective ingredients.  However, when patented supplement ingredients are involved, it takes the quality and assurance to a whole new level and provides you with peace of mind.

If you’re looking for products that contain many of the various patented ingredients mentioned above, MPA utilizes the most advanced profiles using these powerful ingredients.  Check out our list of products to see everything we have to offer and how they can help take your results in the gym to the next level.