We are often asked why we have “branded ingredients” as our sponsors (e.g. Suntheanine L-theanine, and Sunphenon organic green tea). Before we answer that question, it’s important to explain exactly what a branded ingredient is. While there is no formal definition, these ingredients have a branded trademark name that represents a specific manufacturing process for that one ingredient. Branded ingredients are typically supported by clinical studies and safety data. These ingredients are recognized to be of higher quality with documented effectiveness – which cannot be claimed by “generic” ingredients.
Perhaps the most well-known example of a branded component is the Intel computer processor. When consumers see “Intel Inside” on the packaging, they know which processor they are getting and it gives them some confidence in the computer they just purchased. The same can be true of certain branded ingredients in dietary supplements.
We have chosen our ingredient sponsors based on these significant criteria:
• There are human clinical trials published in peer-reviewed scientific journals using these exact ingredients.
• We are familiar with the manufacturing process used and are assured of the quality of the specific ingredient.
• Quality manufacturing also means consistency, which is critical when it comes to dietary supplements.
• These ingredients have proven to be safe for human consumption.
• These ingredients are often part of more unique and innovative formulations.
Let’s use Suntheanine L-theanine as an example. There have been numerous studies that specifically use that form of L-theanine. If the label of your product does not identify Suntheanine as the form of L-theanine, then you are not getting the form that was used in many of the studies.
Using proven branded ingredients also helps lesson the dangers of “borrowed science.” We talked about borrowed science in the first edition of our Definitive Guide to Cancer and haven’t written about it much since so it’s time for a refresher. Some manufacturers “borrow” science (which sounds benign but it isn’t!) to help make their product look valid. They will cite studies featuring what they claim is their ingredient, and yet upon closer evaluation, the study used an entirely different form of the ingredient or a branded ingredient that is not in their product at all.
So now let’s use the ingredient Sunphenon green tea as our example. When Sunphenon appears on the label, you know you are getting an organic green tea that has been standardized to contain greater than 80 percent polyphenols and catechins (active compounds in green tea), which is the same amount of these active compounds used in many of the studies. If that information is not on the label, there is a good chance that the exact standardized amount of green tea in the product was not the same as the amount used in the clinical studies. There’s also a very high likelihood that the green tea is not organic (unless it specifies that on the label), which is really critical when it comes to green tea.
This is tricky business because some ingredients are marketed as special branded ingredients but they actually don’t have any scientific data to substantiate their claims of efficacy. While branded ingredients are definitely a mark of quality, we also recognize that not every dietary supplement ingredient can, or even should, be a branded ingredient. Many vitamins, minerals and amino acids are generic; and some herbal extracts are available as concentrates but are not branded ingredients. However, whenever possible, we favor branded ingredients as way to assure efficacy and safety.
That is why we are proud to have branded ingredients as sponsors of Five to Thrive.
If you have questions about any of the ingredients in your dietary supplements, consult with your integrative practitioner, call the manufacturer or look online to see if the manufacturer provides references of published studies from reputable scientific journals. If you are still uncomfortable, it’s probably best to find a different supplement.
We appreciate our Five to Thrive sponsors very much and we are proud to help get the word out about their quality branded ingredients. Please note that both Suntheanine and Sunphenon are available through Tomorrow’s Nutrition. When you type in Five to Thrive at check out, you’ll receive a 20% discount!