Licensed Branded Ingredients

Licensed Branded Ingredients


How much if at all do y’all value branded ingredients with known suppliers and supply chains?

For basics i.e. Creatine, I don’t see too much value in a random reliable suppliers bulk creatine monohydrate vs. CreaPure for example.

But what about when it comes to more complicated ingredients/extracts where there are pretty demonstrable benefits to a well-standardized premium extract? (i.e. Sensoril vs. Bulk Ashwagandha).


As a (shilly) example, for SNS Joint Support XT.

We licensed and included three different premium joint support extracts (NEM ESM, ParActin, Super Boswellin) at their full human studied doses. And I think it really makes a difference in the effectiveness of the product vs. some other products that on the surface look more comprehensive, but are either under-dosed or using bulk extracts vs. standardized ingredients.

Is this something you think about and look for when purchasing products? If not, what better ways can we as companies market these ingredients to make sure that investing in higher quality ingredients pays off for everyone.


In the case of extracts advertising the quality of the extract should be enough. Maybe a comparison between that and how much of the normal plant you would need to get the actives, basically give information about the extract.
In the case of creapure or “patented creatine HCL” ect I don’t think there is a great way of marketing it to more informed/stingy consumers given that there should be very little difference between that and the non-trademarked version.


I don’t particularly care about branded/trademarked ingredients with known suppliers.
This can vary a ton from product to product, so I’ll just reply to your specific example. If I’m looking for an ashwagandha product, I’m definitely going to get one that shows the extraction type/ratio or standardization level. A lot of people have a preference for KSM-66 or Sensoril, but the problem is that the ashwagandha left over after that extraction is technically also an extract. Some company could be buying up the waste product with all the withanolides and shit extracted and sell it as an ashwagandha extract.

So I’d want to see that an extract is standardized for specific constituents, but I’d believe the label if it made any claims and was coming from a generally reputable company.

If just the extraction ratio is given (like 10:1 or 100:1), that’s garbage. I’d want to know if it was an aqueous extraction, alcohol extraction, supercritical CO2 extraction. Like decaf coffee, I would never buy coffee that had the caffeine extracted with dichloromethane because that stuff is potentially toxic and it’ll dissolve styrofoam. And isn’t there some ridiculous regulation that says that extracts need to say which part of the plant they’re extracted from? Like whether it’s from the leaves, roots, bark, or elsewhere?

Creatine mono is a cheap enough ingredient that I wouldn’t be worried about a company faking it on a label intentionally. If an educated consumer was looking for anything it would be the degree of micronization. If you say how many microns the particles are, that should satisfy those that have been scammed in the past by people selling clumpy large grain creatine mono as micronized.


Yeah, Like I said, I’m not sure ‘premium’ versions of the basic are worth it, and for that reason I don’t really push for them when formulations come up.

Providing better comparison materials for premium vs. generic ingredients is something I think us and other companies could do a better job of. For the actual premium extracts out there, most have absorption or efficacy data showing the positive benefits of the premium ingredient, but a lot of companies, and company reps just don’t have that data on hand or don’t think to present it.


Right, and a lot of what you talk about in your post is a big issue in the industry.

Consumers are always looking for the best deals (hence why priceplow is awesome). But in doing so, a lot of times they’ll buy cheaper brands that are using poor extracts.

So what happens is, people say ‘oh but I’ve tried Ashwagandha and it didn’t really do much, so why would I buy this more expensive Ashwagandha product’

Shitty products damage the mental perception of ingredients that have potential, and then you’re facing an even bigger uphill battle to sell something that has data demonstrating efficacy, that you know works, but that people have a negative perception of due to shitty versions of that ingredient being sold.

KSM-66 is expensive, Sensoril is expensive, and to be certain, companies can not just increase their MSRP/Wholesale price by the price difference between those and generic Ashwagandha, so they have to eat it in the margins to some extent.

I’m a data guy, I try to give people as much data to support ingredients and products or argue against ingredients/products as possible. To me paying $5 more for an Ashwagandha product using a full human studied dose of KSM-66 or Sensoril over a generic one is therefore a no-brainer. But it seems like that ends up being a hard sell when it comes down to actual retail dollars.

It’s especially hard for the non-engaged portion of consumers. That is, the people who aren’t talking on the forums. To joe consumer who goes to GNC or VS or BB or whichever retail storefront and looks for an ashwagandha product, they’re usually just looking for the better deal, so unless you can really catch them with an effective presentation of marketing data, it’s really hard to capture market share there. And that non-engaged portion of consumers represents the majority of supplement sales.


Yeah, in general, I prefer it in herbal extracts.

You couldn’t convince me that “regular” bacopa can stand up to Bacognize, for instance. Huge fan of that stuff, alongside KSM-66 like mentioned.

And when you have the branded ingredient, the brand can’t do a batch-to-batch bait-and-switch, moving from some nice extract to a cheaper one down the line. It’s just one more notch of trust - not bulletproof, but better.

On the joint supplement front, OptiMSM does seem to test far better than other MSM supplements. But for something that’s easily synthesized or heavily commoditized like creatine or beta alanine, I don’t see the allure.

But as you know, people like us aren’t the people who make your business blow up. We can make you a “hundred thousand dollar aire”, but you ain’t going to take a brand to the next level with forum geeks alone anymore. So there’s some mix you probably have to take.


It depends on the brand you’re buying as well. Some companies will throw any old suppliers powder into their product without testing. Then you have NutraBio and other companies that actually give a damn about quality and testing. I know from touring NutraBio that they have high standards for their raws and they test when new ingredients come into their plant. If that batch doesn’t meet their purity standards it gets sent back to the supplier.


Here’s what I would suggest a grid panel thing like how allot of heavy pre-workouts have when they are comparing themselves to C4 and do something like this.

Premium extract
20% bioactive
Whole plant
0.4% bioactive
Common extract
4% bio-active


Depends on the compound itself. If the actives are abundant with high bioavailability then licensed ingredients are unnecessary. Then of course you have to think purity but that’s more in relation to ingredients like beta alanine, Creatine etc.


If you notice, though, NutraBio doesn’t seem to use a lot of herbs or herbal ingredients. Maybe because they know the real truth behind the majority of them… and lab testing them is a pain?