What are Food Supplements?
Food supplements, also called dietary supplements, are concentrated sources of nutrients that are meant to supplement the normal diet, which may be deficient in these nutrients. These nutrients could be vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, amino acids, enzymes and many other ingredients. Food supplements can help to obtain the nutrients that may be lacking in a regular diet. However, they are not intended to replace healthy meals.
These supplements can be available as tablets, capsules, powders or health drinks. Popular supplements can include a combination of any of the following components:
- Vitamins: A, D, K, B-complex, biotin (vitamin B7)
- Antioxidant Vitamins: Vitamins C, E
- Minerals: Iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, magnesium, zinc
- Trace Elements: Boron, selenium, vanadium, nickel, chromium, iodine
- Herbs and Botanicals: Ginseng, Ginkgo biloba
- Folic Acid
- Amino Acids: Twenty amino acids that act as the building blocks of a vast number of proteins
- Probiotics: Lactobacillus
- Fish Oil Derivatives: Omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Why is the Amino Acid Profile in Food Supplements Important?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that constitute the muscle mass of the body. There are 20 major amino acids in the body, which have different properties based on differences in their chemical structure. Therefore, information about the amino acid profile is very important for the consumer to make an informed choice about which product to buy. Some of the major amino acids are briefly described below:
- Tryptophan: This amino acid can produce a chemical substance called serotonin, which is a natural pain-killer in the body. Therefore, tryptophan supplementation can help to reduce pain during strenuous exercise.
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA): Research has shown that BCAA supplementation may delay the onset of fatigue in the central nervous system (CNS), thereby delaying mental fatigue as well, which is important for endurance sports like marathon running.
- Aspartic acid: Dietary supplementation of potassium and magnesium salts of the amino acid aspartic acid can enhance aerobic performance and endurance.
- Arginine: Research indicates that arginine supplementation could improve symptoms of heart disease including pain in the shoulder and arms (angina pain).
Package Labelling for Amino Acids: The United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) as per its directive [21 CFR 101.36(b)(2)(i)] stipulates that a dietary supplement containing amino acids must be labelled as such and the amino acid profile should be clearly displayed on the display panel of the package. Moreover, it should not be labeled as a protein if only amino acids are present.
How is the Amino Acid Profile Determined?
Determination of the amino acid profile of proteins and peptides present in many types of samples, including food samples like dietary supplements, is a fundamental biochemical technique. The number of free amino acids, as well as amino acids released from proteins and peptides, can be quantitated by the procedure of amino acid analysis. Generally, UV spectrophotometry and high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) are used for determination of the amino acid profile of samples. This is done following good laboratory practices (GLP) in specialized laboratories with strict norms and standards
How Can We Help?
Arbro Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. has NABL accredited and FSSAI approved laboratories with state-of-the-art instruments such as HPLC, UV spectrometer, as well as a mass spectrometer for detection and quantitation of the amino acid profile in food samples, including dietary supplements, following strict GLP guidelines. The instrumentation is supported by well-trained and competent professionals for carrying out amino acid profiling with utmost precision.
If you would like to use our testing services, please feel free to contact us through the contact form or call us now on +91-11-45754575. We will be happy to provide you a proposal for amino acid profiling in various types of food samples, including dietary supplements.