SoCal Dietary Supplements Chromatography Forum


By Allen Misa

Industry Marketing Manager, Food and Environmental Markets, Phenomenex

On July 28, the SoCal Dietary Supplements Chromatography Forum was held on the Phenomenex campus in Torrance, CA. Co-sponsored by Phenomenex, Alkemist Laboratories and US Pharmacopeia (USP), this all-day event attracted over 40 dietary supplement industry participants from California, Arizona and Texas. Also present were special guests from USP headquarters in Rockville, MD: Dr Gabriel Giancaspro, Vice President for Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines and Anton Bzhelyansky, Scientific Liaison-Dietary Supplements.

The Forum focused upon the need and approach to modernizing USP Dietary Supplement Monographs – particularly those based upon chromatography – with the goal to improve speed, accuracy and productivity in the testing of dietary supplement ingredients and products. The morning session featured lectures by industry experts and was followed by a moderated afternoon group discussion session involving all Forum attendees. The morning session lecture titles and presenters were:

  1. Advancements in Chromatography for Dietary Supplements [Zeshan Aqeel: Applications Scientist, Phenomenex]
  2. Allowable Adjustments to USP methods [Phil Koerner, PhD: Technical Manager, Phenomenex]
  3. A Modern Approach to Compendial Test Methods for Dietary Supplements [Holly Johnson, PhD: Laboratory Director, Alkemist Laboratories]
  4. C2C – Cuvette to Column – Updating Spectrophotometry to Chromatography in Compendial Monographs [Anton Bzhelyansky: Scientific Liaison, United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)]

The afternoon discussion participants examined three questions of critical importance to the industry. Forum participants sat together in small groups and discussed each question for 10 minutes prior to a 30 minute group discussion stimulating additions and responses. USP gave critical feedback to attendees on questions. The enthusiastic discussion of these questions confirmed the interest of the dietary supplement community for modernizing dietary supplement testing methods. There was lively discussion and many suggestions, far too many for this article, but some included:

What methods are in the greatest need of modernization and why?

Some of the suggestions included fatty acid profile, Total fiber soluble / insoluble, Converting Titration and Spectrographic methods to HPLC, MacroNutrients, Chondroitin: HPLC vs. titration, Carotenoids, Boswellia, Kava and multivitamins.

What challenges are there to modernize these methods under the USP allowable Criteria?

Topics discussed included availability of very well characterized standards, updating methods to incorporate additional analytes, sample complexity, validation constraints and many more.

How would the method modernization actually be accomplished or implemented?
What are some key requirements?

Business justification, regulatory and safety risks need to be justified, collaboration and Transparency, USP needs help: industry and suppliers need to pitch in and maintain momentum toward quality in the dietary supplements market, how USP and labs can work better together, need for communication and exposure to the day to day needs and challenges of the industry, pooling resources, and knowledge sharing- between academia, industry, vendors, and official organizations.

A major take-away from the Forum was that modernization must be a collaborative effort between the dietary supplement industry, industry technology providers and USP. Alkemist Laboratories and Phenomenex affirmed their commitment to work with the industry to further the goal of method modernization. We look forward to the potential of hosting a similar forum in the future.

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