Several dietary supplements have been granted patents. As we all know, the patent protects the inventor from unscrupulous people or businesses practices. In most cases, the patent holder is the researcher who discovered the product or the use for the product. Patents have been issued for the following products ingredients- chromium, CLA, HMB, and pyruvate.
The inventor of a specific product has shown in published and/or unpublished studies that the product produces an effect. In the case of the products, the effect is an alteration in body composition, either an increase in muscle mass or a decrease in fat mass.
Once a chemical, product, or ingredient has been shown to alter body composition, other scientists conduct research to verify the reported claims. However, in the case of chromium, the majority of the research finds that chromium supplementation is ineffective as an agent to alter body composition. Of the few studies that have shown a positive effect, the majority are from the inventor’s laboratory.
The authors and editors are not suggesting that the researchers/ inventors are biased in reporting their findings. Many of the inventors are well-respected scientists. However, to remove the potential for biased reporting, financially independent scientists are encouraged to validate their findings.
Another item of concern is the purity and bio-availability of the active agent. A number of the products and others are herbs. During the manufacturing process, the active ingredient is standardized to a certain percentage. Because ingredients are not monitored by a regulatory agency; manufacturers can deviate from the effective percentage. Furthermore, when manufacturers do not control the manufacturing process, a number of impurities can contaminate the product, leading to an ineffective and potentially dangerous ingredient.