Agency issues new guidelines for testing supplement products

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National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a new reference material to improve the testing process of multivitamin pillsIn a move that may boost the quality assurance of dietary supplements, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a new reference material to improve the testing process.

The new Standard Reference Material (SRM) 3280 for multivitamin/multimineral tablets sets out guidelines to measure the amounts of vitamins, carotenoids, and trace elements in dietary supplements.

"We are not saying what a product should contain, but what it does contain," says Katherine Sharpless, a NIST chemist. "Our SRMs are intended for analytical chemists to use to make sure their methods are working properly, not a benchmark for what a good product should be."

The institute also plans to develop reference materials for fatty acids, caffeine, and other dietary supplements including ginkgo, saw palmetto, and bitter orange.

The SRM will also be used as a benchmark for researchers in their quantitative and qualitative analysis of vitamins and minerals content of samples.

Together with the Office of Dietary Supplements and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NIST is developing the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database.

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