The demand for dietary supplements is rapidly increasing. However, there are many challenges that manufacturers face, such as with regard to scientific research and regulatory guidelines to ensure the quality, efficacy, and safety of dietary or food supplements.
In this article, you’ll learn the important benefits of testing dietary supplements and how they are being conducted so that you can make more informed choices when buying such products.
Importance Of Testing Dietary Supplements
The supplements industry is skyrocketing in the global market, that’s why regulators and manufacturers must collaborate because of possible international implications. Global quality standards must be set in place based on proven results through research and testing of dietary supplements sold in the market today.
Here are the important benefits of testing dietary supplements:
- Ensures quality
- Ensures safety
- Ensures efficacy
How Testing Of Dietary Supplements Are Conducted
Testing For Quality
When testing the quality of a food supplement, the first step is identifying the ingredients used, which involves plant identification. Most dietary supplements are derived from plants, such as hemp plants for manufacturing CBD oil. But, even if the plant source is identified, it’s hard to rule out the quality of blends and extracts found in botanical dietary supplements. So, how does testing ascertain the quality of food supplements through plant identification?
Analytical methods help determine the bioactive components in food supplements. Nutrients are identified in supplements using specific analytical chemistry. The doses, forms, and combinations are studied in laboratories. Also, how supplements are best consumed and in under what circumstances are also checked.
Biopharma stability testing laboratory tests the quality of dietary supplements using different service specialties, including the following:
- Packaging Testing
- Impurities Characterization
- Clinical Trial Material Manufacturing
- Formulation And Process Development
- Protein Therapeutics And Proteomics
- Solid-State Characterization
- Release Testing
- Compendial Testing
Testing For Safety
Before manufacturers can market their dietary supplements, testing must be performed to ensure that they don’t contain unsafe ingredients that can be detrimental to both adults and children. The manufacturer should be able to ascertain the safe upper levels, maximum dosages, and nutrients that a specific supplement provides. There should be no toxic contaminants, harmful substances, or any ingredients that are unsafe for human consumption.
Here’s how testing for safety is usually carried out for dietary supplements:
- Dietary supplements are tested for nutrient measurements to ascertain the accuracy and efficiency of nutrients.
- Biomarker compound testing is performed on other ingredients to help determine any presence of pesticides, natural toxins, and other toxic elements.
- Finished products undergo testing as a basis for regulatory agencies to provide safety seal or certification.
Testing For Efficacy
Different research approaches are used to demonstrate the efficacy of dietary supplements.
Here are the different research approaches used in identifying the efficacy of food supplements:
- In-Vitro Testing: It involves in-vitro, test tube, or laboratory research on a supplement’s mechanisms of action to either animal or human studies. With in-vitro testing, the mechanism of action of herbal supplement products is made clear and conclusive, providing bioactivity evidence to funders and publishers when marketing these products.
- Animal Studies: Once the mechanism of action of a dietary supplement product has been established, animal studies are performed to determine efficacy, which includes phase 1 and phase 2.
- Clinical Studies: If the dietary supplement is found safe in animal studies, clinical studies are performed to test the efficacy and safety of the product in human health. Health outcomes are determined using different validated markers, such as functions, performance, and effects on morbidity and mortality rates.
Dietary Supplement Product Monitoring
Regulatory agencies perform their own testing of dietary supplements to validate results so they can provide appropriate recommendations, policies, and regulations to ensure public health and safety. Even if these products have been certified and launched in the market, regulatory bodies continuously monitor them. They do it by collaborating with consumer-protecting agencies.
Here are the importance of continuous product monitoring:
- Ensures that consumers are following the right dosage based on accepted standards and manufacturer’s instructions
- Provides consumer or public health education about the safe use of dietary supplements
- Finds out if there are any complaints reported using a particular brand of dietary supplement
- Notifies concerned manufacturers about existing problems
- Revokes certifications due to non-compliance
Testing dietary supplements are crucial to ensure public health and safety. There are different stages and methods used in testing, including in-vitro, animal, and clinical or human studies. These tests are performed to determine the quality, safety, and efficacy of dietary supplements before they are launched in the market for sale. Also, careful and continuous product monitoring is performed.