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New year, new diet, new workout goals - but do the supplements work, too?

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Can consumers trust diet supplements to support their healthy lifestyle goals? What are the product integrity challenges facing the fast-growing supplements industry? And what role can proficiency testing play in ensuring that laboratories are providing accurate and reliable product data?


All across the globe, millions of people are currently making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, eat a better diet, or exercise more.


Many may consider doing so with the help of dietary supplements, meaning that the arrival of 2022 will give another sizeable boost to the worldwide supplements industry – worth an estimated $140 billion in 2020 and forecast to grow strongly throughout the current decade.


But are consumers really getting value for money when they buy their herbal blends, protein shakes, or slimming tablets?


The rapid growth of the diet supplements industry has thrown up a number of questions around product integrity: namely, do products contain exactly what they say they do?


Are they perhaps less potent than they claim? Has a synthetic substance been added instead of a claimed natural material? And have seemingly respectable products been bulked up with unlabelled extraneous ingredients, or adulterated with drugs or drug analogues?


These questions regarding integrity have led to new opportunities and challenges for analytical scientists – including Amazon’s demand that the dietary supplements sold on its site must have Certificates of Analysis from ISO 17025-accredited or other bona fide labs.


But, according to Stacey Murphy, Senior Manager of Quality Control at Nature’s Way, the sheer number of novel products coming onto the market to meet consumer demand is also a serious emerging issue for testing laboratories.


“The dietary supplement market continues to show significant growth, as consumers focus on taking control of their health and wellness,” Murphy argues.


“The large variety of ingredient types and product forms - including tablets, capsules, softgels, powders, liquids and gummies - can present unique challenges for accurately performing quality control testing in today’s laboratories.


“Ensuring that a test method is fit for its intended purpose has never been so critical for the industry.”


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Proficiency testing (PT) can play a crucial role in helping testing laboratories to meet new quality and regulatory requirements, while participating in a PT scheme is also essential to your lab achieving accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025.


As Murphy says, “A proficiency testing program gives a lab confidence that data they are producing is accurate and reliable”, and ensures that your customers across the world can have confidence in the measurement of your results.


For 40 years, LGC AXIO Proficiency Testing has been a trusted partner for laboratories working to keep consumer products safe for everyone. 


We move with the world’s changing demands, which is why we’ve launched five new samples to help you keep pace with new testing requirements for dietary supplements – including metals in pollen (PT-PH-17), potency of gingko biloba (PT-PH-18), phytochemical identity confirmation (PT-PH-19), and multivitamin potency (PT-PH-20). 


We’re also introducing a multielement potency sample (PT-PH-21), where participants will not only be able to quantify the different elements and minerals present, but also use their measurement uncertainty to assess the compliance with the labelling of this sample.


Drawing on decades of proficiency testing expertise and our truly global reach, AXIO is your perfect partner in proficiency testing. 


Head to lgcstandards.com/AXIO to find out more and place your order.


LGC. Science for a safer world.

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