Supplement Perspectives

Joint Health from a Lab Perspective

<p>Elan Sudberg on why your joint health supplement needs the analytical lab treatment.</p>

I called it The Vitamin Bush and it grew bigger and stronger than all the surrounding bushes in my backyard as a child. Its trunk was thick and gnarled; the leaves a rich, dark green. The flowers oozed sweet nectar and were always in bloom, making it a busy intersection for flying insects of all kinds.  

The Vitamin Bush was where I spit out the many vitamins given to me by my parents when I was a kid. It even got an occasional tablespoon of tcod liver oil. Fortunately, not all of them made it to those hungry roots, just the ones I managed to surreptitiously keep under my tongue long enough to return to playing in the backyard and generously supplement that exultant bush.

I dont know if all the vitamins and cod liver oil I supplied helped the bush grow bigger and stronger, nor do I know if they would have made me grow a few inches taller if I had taken them all instead. But the vitamins did seem to improve the overall health and strength of The Vitamin Bush as the others in the yard seasonally snapped under torsion from windy nights.

This little childhood memory illustrates why joint health is quickly gaining the attention of consumer markets and regulators. Unlike other categories, joint health carries a significant responsibility. If the chamomile in your tea isn't as potent as desired and your relaxation is poor, hips won't cease to work. With joint health, the products must be the best or your clientele might not be able to return to the store for repeat sales. Literally.

The National Institutes of Health has numerous articles on the topic implying its an active issue affecting Americans young and old. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout make up the majority of concerns in the creaky world of joint health. Such ailments are not limited to those long in the toothjoint pain can be caused by juvenile arthritis as well.

Fortunately, the dietary supplement industry is well equipped with products containing ingredients from glucosamine and chondroitin to new market contenders like eggshell membrane collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid and various combined versions. Studies are showing promising results, while new products enter the marketplace nearly every few months.

Heres where you need to pay attention to so your sapling of a business can turn into a strong bush, or even a tree.

Behind every good productand, in turn, every healthy jointis a good quality control process. Since many of the ingredients in these products are simple, published compendial methods are usually readily available. Unfortunately, not all testing methods are created equal, nor do the cGMPs specify which ones to use. This is a concern, especially for the more frequently adulterated ingredients in this category like chondroitin. Methods vary wildly and, of course, the best one is pricy and commonly overlooked because it fails many test samplesand rightfully so.

Once qualifying the ingredients is complete and those simple raw ingredients are mixed with others, the laboratory perspective gets painful fast. It's rare to have a method for a custom blend featuring many of these ingredients, which makes quality control a challenge. A reputable analytical lab should offer method development and verification services minimizing uncertainty of label claims and maximizing confidence.

Its either that, or growing your own vitamin bush. Good luck.
 

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