Pre-Workout Supplement: Making Sense Of Proprietary Blends


If you haven’t come across a proprietary blend then let me explain. On some nutrition supplements you will notice that rather than listing all of the ingredients in the product along with the amounts for each, some only list the total amount of ingredients in grams, and then list the individual ingredients in a list below.

This is what’s known as a proprietary blend e.g. the ingredients list might read Brand X proprietary blend 8g, and underneath lists Creatine monohydrate, L-Arginine, Beta- alanine, Citrulline Malate, but does not state how much of each ingredient is in there!

A simple way of roughly working out how much of an each ingredient is in the product (and therefore testing the products quality) is to do the following:

Take the total quantity of the proprietary blend, in this case it is 8g or 8,000mg. We know there are 4 ingredients in the product so simply divide 8,000mg by 4 = 2,000mg. However it is worth noting that the order an ingredient is listed in the blend is representative of the quantity in the product, consequently the chances of there being 2,000mg of each ingredient is highly unlikely.

It is more likely that the first ingredient on the list i.e. Creatine monohydrate is actually considerably higher than the rest, in fact it could be that the blend is comprised of 7,900mg of creatine and the rest is just made up of trace amounts. Again, this is highly unlikely, so to get a rough idea divide 8,000 by 4 = 2,000. Then estimate the possible high end totals for each ingredient by dividing the total quantity in the blend by its position in the proprietary blends list:

The lowest possible for each ingredient would be 2000mg for creatine and trace amounts for the rest. The highest possible quantities would be as follows (using the above calculation):


Creatine Monohydrate >>> 8,000mg divided by 1 = 8,000

L-Arginine >>> 8,000mg divided by 2 = 4,000

Beta- alanine >>> 8,000mg divided by 3 = 2,667

Citruline Mallate >>> 8,000mg divided by 4 = 2000


We must now find the average by taking the highest and lowest possible quantities, adding them together and dividing that by how many there are.

This would mean the Brand X proprietary blend 8g would deliver approximately:


4,950mg Creatine Monohydrate

2,500mg L- Arginine

1,666mg Beta- alanine

1,250mg Citruline Mallate


Compare these figures to the ideal clinical dose of each ingredient and you can see if you’re getting enough of each.



About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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