Food supplement companies are always on the lookout for new and exotic ingredients to add to their products. The advantage of this for the companies is that, with more ingredients listed on the labels, a higher price for the product can be justified. This would be fine if consumers knew precisely how much of those mysterious ingredients were actually contained in the product, but this is rarely the case. With most such multi-ingredient products, the contents on the label are often listed as a proprietary formula. What this means is rather than list precise amounts of each ingredient, the total amount of several ingredients is listed without listing the amount of each component ingredient. The usual excuse for such an obvious subterfuge is to protect product confidentiality or to prevent copycat versions of the supplement from being introduced by competitors. While this is great for the companies selling such products, it's not so great for consumers. You could spend a lot of money for what amounts to pennies worth of active ingredients. But a more salient question is: Do such fancy multi-ingredient products work better than more simple formulas that are a lot less expensive?
One new study looked at this precise issue. The study analyzed the effects of a popular bodybuilding supplement called SizeOn that is sold by Gaspari Nutrition. Gaspari Nutrition is owned by former champion bodybuilder, Rich Gaspari. When he started the company, Gaspari sagely hired a knowledgeable product developer, who developed a series of products that proved highly profitable for Gaspari. Most of these products were either products touted to boost testosterone levels or reduce estrogen. Probably the most popular product was Nolvadex XT, which was said to boost testosterone levels. In fact, one study published from Baylor University in Texas showed that using the product resulted in an average 600% increase in testosterone. The results of that study sent sales of Nolvadex XT into the stratosphere, making former bodybuilder Rich Gaspari a multi-millionaire. But as they say, the party can't go on forever. It turned out that the primary ingredient of Nolvadex XT, a substance called ADT, (3,17-keto-etiocholetriene), also was an anti-androgen that interfered with testosterone release. The other active ingredient in Nolvadex XT was e-6,17-di3-Hydroxy-4-Androstene-6,17-dione (3-OHAT), a mild anti-aromatase inhibitor, which meant that it prevents the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. In addition, it turned out that the finding that Nolvadex XT boosted testosterone by 600% was based on faulty calculations, due to the presence of certain ATD metabolites that skewed the test, which should have been evident by the fact that the supplement had no effect on estrogen levels, an unlikely effect with a testosterone increase that high. Later, it turned out that Nolvadex XT produced a metabolite that showed up as the anabolic steroid Boldenone on drug tests . . .