Vital help with vitamins

Vitamins can arguably be considered as the original nutraceuticals. Their importance to human health is well-established and without dispute. So too their importance as an ingredient that can be added to foods, or as the primary ingredient in supplements and pills. Yet despite their history of use, there are still challenges to be faced by any manufacturer looking to incorporate vitamins in their products.

A key issue is that of stability, and this must be addressed as soon as possible during the product development process. Many factors will affect whether vitamins (and any other active ingredients) can survive in the product up to its proposed ‘use by’ date. Hence an understanding of stability, or instability, will influence many aspects of the product such as the design of packaging, storage conditions, labelling claims, and of course, the product formulation.

Stability studies

Stability studies are a fundamental part of the development process with nutraceuticals. Whilst the regulatory requirement for food products and health food supplements is a little less strict than it is for pharmaceuticals, the essential point remains that if the product label claims that a certain ingredient/active is present, then it must be present at the levels claimed, not only when the product leaves the factory but up to the ‘use by’ date published on the label.

The only way to properly substantiate such a claim is to carry out stability tests on the product at the end of its proposed shelf life. That said, testing during the product development stage can do much to clear the way for launch of the finished product.

This article is available in full in the Winter 2016 issue of Nutraceuticals Now